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I have a habit of wanting to go to the end of the road, to the tip of the peninsular, the top of the hill – just to see what’s there.
So when we were staying in a great little B&B, itself at the end of the road in Muckle Roe, 5 miles outside Brae in Shetland Mainland, of course I wanted to go the very north of Shetland. And that meant first taking the ferry to Yell and then taking another ferry to Unst.

Our drive to the first ferry terminal at Toft was a bit of a fast and furious affair as we were worried we would not get on the ferry, and so we did more overtaking than we did looking at the views. And we were right to do that, as in the end we were the last car squeezed on the boat. Trips like this tend to be a bit focussed in order to achieve the target, so once the ferry had docked at Ulsta on Yell we didn’t stop to check out the island, we just rolled straight on until we got to the next ferry terminal at Gutcher.

Location
Ferry info
Crossing time 20 and distance 5.
About every 30-60 from 6 to midnight.
The boats

Operator
When I used the ferry
August 2012

This was more relaxed, with a shorter queue, and things to do while we waited (for what seemed a long time.) First there was The Wind Dog Cafe with decent food and a fun attitude right next to the ferry waiting room. It’s changed owners and names a couple of times since then, but reviews are still good. And secondly, all the time we were there gannets were circling and diving for fish just offshore. This kept me busy trying to take the ultimate photos of the birds as they pierced the surface of the sea.
With the challenge of making the ferries behind us we took our time to explore Unst. Bobby’s Bus Shelter is in all the tourist guides and you can’t miss it as you drive north. Our first real stop was the Unst Boat Haven in Haroldswick. A great little museum, chock full of boats of the region and the related artifacts and stories. A reminder of how tough, and often short, life was for people of Shetland when fishing was vital to their survival. A real gem that we only knew about because friends of ours had visited it.
The high point of the day was the Hermaness National Nature Reserve. You can’t miss it! Just keep following the B9086 to the bitter end. It's the most northerly numbered road in the country. From the car park we then walked about 3 km over the peninsular to the west coast where I spent a long time lying on my belly photographing puffins up close, and watching a myriad of other seabirds on the cliffs and the sea. And looking north we could see the lighthouse on Muckle Flugga, the most northerly in the UK, and just a few hundred yards from the rock that is the most northerly point of the country.

Location
Ferry info
Crossing time 10 and distance 2.2.
About every 30-60 from 6 to midnight.
The boats

Operator
When I used the ferry
August 2012

Returning to Brae and our B&B was easier as the ferries then were more empty, and it did not matter that we arrived back after dark. Planning a day trip that requires two significant ferries each way is a bit risky. Next time we should plan to stay on Yell or Unst and enjoy the area in a more relaxed way.
But give or take a few yards, my destination was reached. It was a memorable day, and I was thrilled by how close I was able to get to the puffins to photograph them.