You could be forgiven for thinking the Shetland islands lived in a little box just off the coast of Aberdeen, as depicted on many maps of the United Kingdom. But turns out they're actually a looooong way from the mainland. 600 miles north of London and just 400 miles south of the Arctic circle, to be precise!
Cliffs at Eshaness
If The Mothership ever went to Shetland I can imagine her gushing to all and sundry, "Oh, you gotta go. You GOTTA GO. And the history. THE HISTORY!" Yep, Shetland is not all ponies and woolly sweaters. It's an ancient place with a rich turbulent history full o' vikings and battles and salted fish. It became part of Scotland in 1468 when a Danish king pawned the islands to pay his daughter's dowry to the King of Scotland. I hope the wench was worth it!
Viking Bus Station, Lerwick
In some ways Shetland felt like another planet. The landscape was beautifully barren and treeless, somewhere between Iceland and Caithness. There were beautiful bays and empty beaches then crazy, rugged cliffs that have been battered by the sea for millions of years. The main street of Lerwick, the capital, had the usual banks and shops like on the mainland, but then a few miles down the road is an ancient broch or a cliff dripping with puffins. Suddenly you get that wonderful wild sense of isolation, feeling every mile between you and home.
Gareth on a cold, windy beach on the island of Yell