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The ‘Bonnie Isle’ - prosperous Whalsay has long been the centre of Shetland’s fishing industry. The beach of the busy harbour of Symbister was once used to dry cod. In the 17th century German merchants came over to Whalsay each year to buy the dried fish and ship it back to Bremen, Hamburg and Lubeck. Pier House, their booth or warehouse, has been restored and tells the story of this trade. Today vast pelagic trawlers are based at Symbister.

The island’s most famous resident was the Scots poet Christopher Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid), he lived on Whalsay in the 1930s and early 1940s. It was here he wrote some his most inspired poems.

Ro-ro ferry from Laxo, flights fromTingwall.


Accommodation in Shetland Islands: