Phone code: +44 (0)1957 Fetlar is the smallest of the North Isles but the most fertile, and known as 'the garden of Shetland'.
Indeed, the name derives from Norse meaning 'fat land', as there is good grazing and croftland and a rich variety of plant and bird life.
Local Sights & Activities for FetlarSightseeing
The whole island is good for birdwatching, but the prime place is the 1,700 acres of North Fetlar RSPB Reserve around Vord Hill (522 ft) in the north of the island. This area has restricted access during the summer months, and visitors should contact the warden at Bealance, Tel. 733246. The warden will also let you know if and when you can see the one or two female Snowy Owls which sometime visit.
The north cliffs of the reserve are home to large colonies of breeding seabirds, including auks, gulls and shags, and you can also see common and grey seals on the beaches in late autumn. Fetlar is home to one of Britain's rarest birds, the red-necked phalarope, which breeds in the loch near Funzie (pronounced 'finnie') in the east of the island. You can watch them from the RSPB hide in the nearby marshes. Red-throated divers and whimbrel also breed here. The island is also good for walking, and a leaflet describing some of the walks is available from the tourist office in Lerwick.
The main settlement on the island is Houbie; on the south coast. Here you'll see a house called Leagarth, which was built by the island's most famous son, Sir William Watson Cheyne, who with Lord Lister pioneered antiseptic surgery. Nearby is the excellent Fetlar Interpretive Centre which presents the island's history and gives information on its bounteous birdlife. Info - May-Sep Tue-Sun 1200-1700. Free.
Fetlar Hotels & Accommodation
There's B&B at The Gord, Tel. 733227, in Houbie, and at The Glebe, Tel. 733242, a lovely old house overlooking Papil Water. You can also camp at Gerth's Campsite, Tel. 733227, which overlooks the beach at Tresta and has good facilities.
There is a camping bod at Aith Bank past Houblie beach on the main road. It lies right on the beach facing south. Sleeps 7 in 2 common rooms
Travel Directions to Fetlar
To get to Fetlar Island from Mainland Shetland requires two ferry crossings. The first is from Toft, Mainland to Ulsta, Yell. Then a 25 minute drive north to Gutcher, Yell for the ferry to Hamarsness, Fetlar. There are no petrol stations on Fetlar so fill up the car before you go.
For ferry times and bookings Tel: 01957 722259. Booking office opening hours: 8.30am-4.45 pm.
There is also an "Overland bus" service that runs from the Viking bus station in Lerwick on the Mainland to Yell, Unst and Fetlar which picks up the above ferries to reach the islands. There is no public transport in Fetlar itself and no petrol or diesel fuel for sale. However there is a stop and hail service and the friendly islanders will certainly pick you up and drop you.