Shetland 2015 – Day 6 Hermaness Headland

We awoke to a bright, but breezy day and decided to head up to Hermaness Nature Reserve. This reserve is in the North of Unst and is home to over 100,000 breeding sea birds.   Not only are the sea cliffs a superb breeding ground, but the  areas leading up to the cliffs are a stronghold for the Great Skua, or Bonxie.

Conservation began in 1831 when the Laird, Dr L Edmonson, began to protect the few Bonxies that were breeding there. A keeper was employed to watch the site to protect the three pairs from egg collectors and taxidermists. In 1907, this role was taken over by the RSPB up until 1960. The area was declared a National Nature reserve in 1955 and is now managed by Scottish Natural Heritage under an agreement with the Edmondston family and the Northern Lighthouse Board who own Mukkle Flugga… the lighthouse further along the coastline.

After our ferries and drive up to the reserve, we loaded ourselves up with all our gear and started the walk up to the cliffs.


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A lot of work has been undertaken building a walkway up the hillside, ensuring stable platform for visitors and prevention of erosion and disturbance. It is quite a trek, but most definitely well worth it as , when you reach the top, the most spectacular views await!