On the 5th of May 2019 I disembarked of the ferry which took me from Orkney to Shetland Island and met Martha Smith, my tour leader of this amazing Shetland Mainland – Sight Seeing & Safari Tour.
Established in 2006, Shetland Nature provides since then exceptional and authentic tours, focusing only on the island and its natural heritage. Doing this they are the only one. Each of their tour leaders are completely skilled to showcase the island wildlife and their commitment to share with us their passion while being environmentally responsible.
Indeed, Martha for example, studied zoology and behavioral ecology in Edinburgh before starting to explore the highlands and Scottish islands.
I chose to contact Shetland Nature for their sensitivity and authenticity. I didn’t felt like this company was based on touristic or economic values but more on respecting the cultural and natural heritage of the island. Thanks to their generosity and support, I got able to hop in Martha’s car and to let her show me how proud she was to live there now and every wonders Shetland has to offer.
We started by driving to the Southern spot of Shetland’s mainland: Sumburgh Head and Stevenson’s lighthouse. Martha was constantly searching for bird species, spotting them even the furthest away and lending me her binocular so I could appreciate them better. She is passionate and it was an honor to share that with her.
The view from there was stunning and so much more was to see on this sunny day. From there we headed North towards RSPB’s Loch of Spiggie reserve surrounded by “some of the most fertile agricultural land in Shetland”.
North from there was St Ninians Isle where we spotted seals sun bathing together. It was amazing to observe Nature being Nature, simply existing and us simply looking.
While leaving the South Mainland and making our way to the West side, Martha decided to take a scenic detour through Tingwall valley, giving me the opportunity to admire Scalloway, Shetland’s former capital.
While ascending the hills I discovered how many more breathtaking panoramas Shetlands was made of, overlooking Weisdale or Foula further away.
After entering the heart of the west side traversing Kergord Valley, we passed Voe and Brae, Mavis Grind where we spotted an otter playing in the water.
Martha was also equipped with a telescope to see even further. Rain or wind didn’t stop us from searching for wildlife and feeding our desires to experience more.
After a quick lunch break on the beach, we headed towards Eshaness lighthouse and hardly walked against the wind to find puffins nesting on the cliff. I have honestly never experience such a strong breeze, it was almost impossible to stand or walk sometimes.
Finally, Martha took me to Ronas Hill, the highest point in Shetland. The panorama made me speechless. This day has been for me an amazing experience. I couldn’t recommend Shetland Nature enough. It gave me the will to come back and stay longer, to hike and camp and explore even more.