Yell is the largest of the Northern Isles comprising of 83 square miles of uninhabited moorland (known as 'da Wilds o' Yell'). It has a long and varied coastline and always offers something to interest and delight birdwatchers, wildlife enthusiasts and sightseers alike. The 'Auld Haa' is ideally located for exploring Yell and is a perfect base for 'island hopping'. There are some useful links below for you to explore.
Wildlife and more
Shetland offers a stunning backdrop to seek out the abundance of flora, fauna and geology, all part of these fascinating islands. Yell is home to a variety of birds, many of which fly close to the view room, giving a unique perspective. Birdlife is further appreciated on walks near the house and particularly on the 'Longa Tonga' Peninsula. From the peninsula the views are superb and on a clear day the Out Skerries can be seen. You can enjoy a picnic on your own little beach and who knows what you will see! Seals are a reasonably common sight and you may well spot an Otter or two on your walks. As noted on the website where to watch birds and other wildlife in the world "Yell has the highest density of Otters in Shetland". According to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee "The otter Lutra lutra population in Shetland is one of the most intensively-studied in Europe. Not only are the Shetland animals morphologically distinct from their mainland counterparts, they are also believed to be genetically distinct. In addition, specialists consider that the populations are possibly the densest in Europe. Therefore, the Shetland population is in many ways unique, and is considered of special importance in a UK context. Within Shetland, the Yell Sound area has the highest density of otter. Indeed the site is believed to support more than 2% of the entire GB otter population. The site consists of a complex of islands and coastline, selected to include the areas of highest otter density. The areas are characterised by low-lying peaty coastlines with large numbers of otter holts and easy access to fresh water. The adjacent marine areas have extensive algal beds which are used for foraging".
On shore near house taken with owner's old Pentax WG-1 camera
Otter passing near the view room
Otters having a fresh water wash at the foreshore near house
(taken with Sony Cyber-shot DSC HX50 camera)
Puffins! (Photograph taken by owner at Sumburgh Head)
Famous Shetland naturalist Bobby Tulloch had his home on Yell and a collection of his beautiful wildlife photographs are housed at the 'Old Haa' centre at nearby Burravoe.
The topography of Yell and in particular its beaches are of interest to lovers of geology. Flakes of mica glitter in the sand at Westsandwick and the beach at Breckon is constantly evolving and uncovering interesting bedrock deposits.
More interest is being shown in diving around the Shetland Isles. For more information follow the link below;
Shetland is an ideal location for fishing with some of the richest fishing grounds in Europe. Why not try a bit of local shore fishing, within easy walking distance of the house. Alternatively;
For Sea Angling, why not charter a local fishing boat and try your hand at catching mackerel, whiting or haddock? There are local boats on Yell for hire. The Shetland Association of Sea Anglers' has a useful website;
Shetland has hundreds of freshwater lochs that are home to wild brown trout. For a spot of fly fishing contact the Shetland Anglers Association who have been managing freshwater fishing for over 80 years.
Yell has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Norse rule lasted from the 9th-14th Centuries and Yell Sound, overlooked by the house, is mentioned in the Viking 'Orkneyinga Saga'. Nearby Burravoe was one of the most important Hanseatic centres in the archipelago.
From the house, 'Lunna' is visible on the East Mainland, across the Yell Sound. It was here where the operational base for the 'Shetland Bus' (a courageous covert operation to support the Norwegian Resistance and evacuate refugees) was established in 1941.
Culture and Folklore
There are approximately 960 inhabitants on the island who make their living mainly through fishing and tourism. The art gallery and craft centre at Sellafirth is the most Northerly in the British Isles. Cullivoe in North Yell hosts Yell's annual 'Up-Helly-A' celebrations.
Music is important in Shetland and has a good youth following. For live music make enquiries by following the link below or contact the Tourist Information Office in Lerwick;