The Beauties Of Scotland: Exploring The Shetland Islands

Make a trip far north to a place of splendid isolation, dramatic views and startlingly friendly birds

Puffins are very common in the Shetland Islands Photo: Getty Images

With a profile like that who wouldn't want to visit Unst, the last outpost of Scotland's Shetland Islands? It was certainly inducement enough for us. And one spring morning in May, my husband and I landed in Lerwick, the capital of the Shetlands located on its largest island, Mainland.

Legend has it that the Hermaness Nature Reserve is named after a giant called Herman. Apparently he and another giant, Saxa, fell in love with the same mermaid who promised to marry whichever one followed her to the North Pole. They both followed her and drowned, since neither could swim. The rock outcrops of Muckle Flugga (from Old Norse, Mikla Flugey, meaning large steep-sided island) and Out Stack are some of the stones thrown at each other during their fight for the mermaid.