Shetland Islands

Over the last few years I've probably had more questions about getting to Shetland, than any other destination.

You can get to Shetland both by boat and by plane.

Arriving Sumburgh
There is only one airline flying scheduled flights into Shetland. Loganair, part of Flybe, operate a fleet of Saab 340s (shortly due to be replaced by new, larger Saab 2000s) that fly from Sumburgh, the main airport in the Shetland Islands. Loganair/Flybe fly into Sumburgh from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Kirkwall and occasionally Bergen in Norway. For folks coming from southern England, this means changing planes at Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh.

The airport at Sumburgh is at the southern tip of the Shetland mainland, about 25 miles from Lerwick.  There are also frequent charter flights linked to the oil and gas industry, mostly operated by Eastern Airways, these operate out of Sumburgh  and out of the smaller airfield at Scatsta near the Sullom Voe plant.

Northlink's Hrossey leaving Bressay Sound
The other way of getting to Shetland is by ferry.  A regular ferry service, run by Northlink, operates between Aberdeen and Shetland 7 days a week. The ferry crossing takes 12 or 14 hours (the short crossings are direct, and the longer ones via Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands).

Once you get to the Shetland Islands, you then have options for getting to the other islands in the group.  There are air links from a little airfield at Tingwall near Lerwick, provided by DirectFlight on behalf of Shetland Islands Council, to the more remote islands (Fair Isle, Foula, Out Skerries and Papa Stour) using Britten Norman Islanders.

Good Shepherd IV arriving Fair Isle
In addition there are ferry services to all the populated islands. The services to Bressay, Whalsay, Yell and Unst and Fetlar run very regularly throughout the day, and to the other smaller island rather more infrequently. All the ferries can carry both car and foot passengers, but if you want to take a car to some of the more remote (smaller) islands you'll find that it needs to be winched onto the boat.

There are lots of Shetland related posts on the blog, try this one for starters.

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