Sailing In Shetland
Sailing Holiday Type
Coastal Day Sailing and Exploring Ashore
Trinovante’s Shetland Sailing Holidays offer a unique opportunity to explore the most northerly archipelago in the UK. Whether you’re an experienced sailor or a novice looking to set sail for the first time, this voyage will take you to the islands that ordinary travellers and most sailors will never see.
Join a welcoming and friendly ship as part of the crew and learn some new skills, tips and tricks with gaff rig. In addition to the sailing you’ll have a couple of days free to explore ashore, meet people and watch the seabirds and other wildlife that Shetland is famous for.
In Balta Sound we can visit the most northerly UK bus stop, cafe, shop, museum, bird reserve… you get the idea.
We had a brilliant time, and would go again if we get the chance..
I liked everything about it – the places we visited, the sailing, the views through the portholes, the anchorages and the food. I think I was lucky to be with such a great bunch of people.
Lerwick is the main town in Shetland and where your Shetland sailing holiday will start. Lately the islands have become famous for the Up Helly AA (don’t miss the Up Helly AA exhibition if you are in Lerwick) fire festival in January and various other folk music, knitting, and film festivals througout the year.
This amazing when you consider that the population of Lerwick is only around 7000 people.
If you can afford more time in Lerwick a day trip to Jarlshof and Sumburgh Head Lighthouse is well worth doing although is an hour and a half on the bus or you need to hire a car. A walk along the coast south from Lerwick to Clickimin Broch is also worth doing.
Shetland’s Wild Places
The Shetlands are the most remote of the inhabited outposts of the British Isles, with a human history going back thousands of years. In more recent times the Vikings settled there giving a Scandinavian culture which can be felt to this day, both in the outlook of the people and the local dialect. This is not surprising as Lerwick is closer to Bergen than Aberdeen.
There are remote beaches you will likely have all to yourself. Clifftop walks with foam-flecked water sparkling below where sea birds deftly weave in and out of the crags. Cairns and brochs, rolling hills, and wide horizons in remote anchorages.
The Shetland Bus
Lerwick is on the same latitude as Bergen in Norway and during WW2 the Shetlands were a refuge for Norwegians fleeing Nazi occupation in their fishing boats.
The Shetland Bus was in fact many different fishing boats crewed by Norwegians who ferried supplies, arms, and agents to Norway and returned with refugees.
Having spent quite a bit of time in the north of Norway we know what a legend the Shetland Bus is over there. The forward to the book says ‘During the German occupation of Norway every Norwegian knew that small boats were constantly sailing from the Shetland Isles to Norway’.
The book ‘The Shetland Bus’ by David Howarth is an absolutely gripping read and chronicles the setting up of the British Naval base to run these missions, first in Lunna Voe and later in Scalloway. The book is available to read onboard.
Lunna Voe is an anchorage we’d like to visit if we can.
Where Might We Sail To On This Voyage?
Below are just three possibilities
Out Skerries has a population of around 50. For the crew, there are two shops! We visited here a while back, bought all the Out Skerries mugs on the island, and had a great time walking ashore and exploring.
Unst has a population of around 700 and is Britain’s northernmost inhabited island. If you want to send a postcard this island also has the northernmost post office. We will probably head for Balta Sound where there are rumored to be otters. From here we can walk to the Viking longhouse, ship, and heritage centre.
Yell has a population of around 1000. It has 12 known Broch sites and is the second largest of the Shetland Islands. Ashore you can expect a big variety of scenery with beautiful beaches, wild moorland, birds, seals, and wildflowers.
The skies were mesmeric when the sun shone, azure blue backed by ranks of serried clouds.
As for the good ship Trinovante, she thrust on through the seas;
comfortable, solid, robust and of pleasing lines; she is a pleasure to sail on.
All voyage notes refer only to possible itineraries – where we sail, passage lengths and the places we call into will be entirely dependent on the wind and weather at the time.
What to Expect From Sailing Onboard the Schooner Trinovante
A Shetland Sailing Holiday
We hope to spend plenty of time exploring ashore on this leg and the plan would be to have at least two full day stop overs on a couple of the islands where you can walk ashore, hire bikes and get the feel of living in a remote island community. Probably three nights at anchor and four and four nights alongside. Bring good walking footware.
You can book on any of our UK Sailing Voyages as a complete beginner or an experienced sailor. All the training you need to fully participate onboard is included. You’ll be hoisting sails, steering, and generally participating in all the things that sailors do. That includes watching the sunset in a quiet anchorage at the end of the day. If you have never sailed before, more information about what to expect from our sailing holidays is here –
Learn To Sail
About Life Onboard
What’s included in the price?
- All meals onboard
We provide breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Obviously, if you choose to eat ashore, this is at your own expense. We can cater for most diets, but you must let us know about special diets at the time of booking. We cannot cater for special diets at short notice.
- Non-alcoholic drinks
Ships rules are no drinking alcohol at sea or if we are about to sail. This does NOT mean Trinovante is a dry boat – it’s fine to have a drink in the evening when we are at anchor or alongside. We don’t sell alcohol on board so bring your own.
- Use of life-jackets and wet weather gear
What is not included in the price?
- Your travel to and from the ship.
Every voyage has travel information pages and info about finding the ship in harbour.
- Travel insurance
This is compulsory for all voyages.
We have a page on Buying Travel Insurance For Sailing Holidays