SOPHIE RADCLIFFE: Shetland Report
In March, Sophie and friend Alex took their favourite Montane kit and spent five days exploring everything Shetland has to offer:
” Shetland left me with a deep appreciation for saying yes to new experiences and all the wonder and joy that can come flooding into your life when you do.”
Originally a Norse settlement, now only 16 of the 100 islands comprising Shetland are inhabited. This allows for its treasures to be hidden, yet accessible; its wildness enhanced by relative proximity, whilst isolated from the greater worlds’ broadest reach.
It is a hard place to get to, but once there travel becomes a tactile experience. Motorised travel is slow; its few roads dissect the landscape with delicate purpose, their coarse surface gently transferred to the hands of your steering wheel or handlebars. Trails and shallows intricately dissect and envelope the islands barely-tamed underbelly like capillaries, each step taken rewarded by beauty and its signature ferocious tranquillity that far outweighs any amount of effort.
Shetland is also a place of contradiction. Although assimilated into Scotland for over 500 years, its retains much of its Scandinavian identity, with place names arching from Gaelic to Norsk, and local customs lending unashamedly from both. Its landscape is barren and wild yet at peace with its sense of place; teetering at the edge of the world, poised between wind and sea. It is said ‘Shetland watches don’t show hours and minutes, only years!’ (Avalina Kreska,
However, if you weather the storms – or if you are just plain lucky – you can share in a bounty of both eye-wateringly beautiful and wilfully given tranquility and beauty.
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For a full report of her Shetland Adventure, click here.