We discovered the single track road to North Sandwick in December 2020 when we completed Brynn’s virtual 1679miles of Shetland Coastline fundraiser and so it will always be a special place to us. We have been told that in the spring and summer it is home to so many wildflowers and wildlife and this is the route we are looking forward to the most, where we can explore more of what is around us when spring arrives.
The linear 5k route is a perfect way for us to take in some amazing scenery and wildlife whilst waiting for the ferry to take you over to Unst or Fetlar at the Gutcher ferry terminal. The route follows a single track road, taking us over the Hill of Gutcher and the Hill of Troliva. Where we get to take in the views of Unst, Fetlar and the smaller island of Linga.
The things we enjoy most when going on walks around Shetland is taking time to take in all the scenery and all the views, you never know what you might find over that next hill. A place to listen too and somewhere to watch out for all the local wildlife and if possible a place to stop and enjoy a sunset. North Sandwick ticks all these boxes.
Shetland is beaming with wildlife and wildflowers wherever you go. This quiet single track road leading to North Sandwick is great for birdwatchers and you can often see Golden Plovers, Snipe, Twice, Hooded Crows, Skylark, Great Skuas, various Gulls and our personal favourite, Gannets! If birds are not your thing then keep a look out along the path for field mice, hedgehogs and even otters. We will be keeping an eye out towards the sea on our walks, as we may be lucky enough to see a pod of Orcas or even a Humpback Whale.
We have also been told that North Sandwick is good for botany lovers as around this area you can find (depending on the season) Bog asphodel, Gentian, Tormentil, Heather, Bird’s foot trefoil, Hawkweed, Butterwort, Puffballs, Ladies smock, Iris, Milkwort, Selfheal, Curly dodies, Pignut and many more! We are still new to botany and are always learning so we like to use a plant identifier app to discover all the names as we go along. This is a favourite game for Faith, she gets so excited when she discovers a new plant. We are looking forward to walking this route again in spring and summer so we can play detectives. Many thanks to our friend Debra Mallett for letting us share some of her photos of the different wildflowers she has captured around this area, which you can see below.
So where is this place?
This route is on the island of Yell and you want to head to the Gutcher Ferry terminal. Parking up at the ferry terminal you start the walk by following the A968 road back up the hill to the crossroads, here you take a left onto a single track road. Follow this single track road to the end and then just retrace your steps back to the ferry terminal. Just for you we have plotted the route over on OS Maps here.
A short clip of the route can be seen in the video below. Although we started at North Sandwick and walked to Gutcher and back. We wouldn’t recommend starting at North Sandwick due to lack of car parking space (We parked up our car in our friends drive)