Unst, the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles

Saturday, 6 January 2024 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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Viking ship, Skibladner © Unstphoto/cc-by-sa-4.0

Viking ship, Skibladner © Unstphoto/cc-by-sa-4.0

Unst (Scots: Unst; Norn: Ønst) is one of the North Isles of the Shetland Islands, Scotland. It is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles and is the third-largest island in Shetland after Mainland and Yell. It has an area of 46 sq mi (120 km²).

Unst is largely grassland, with coastal cliffs. Its main village is Baltasound, formerly the second-largest herring fishing port after Lerwick and now the location of a leisure centre and the island’s airport. Other settlements include Uyeasound, home to Greenwell’s Booth (a Hanseatic warehouse) and Muness Castle (built in 1598 and sacked by pirates in 1627); and Haroldswick, location of a boat museum and a heritage centre.

The island lays claim to many “most northerly” UK titles: the tiny settlement of Skaw in the north-east of the island is the northernmost settlement in the UK; Haroldswick is the site of Britain’s most northerly church; the Muckle Flugga lighthouse, just off the far north of Unst, was opened in 1858 and is the most northerly lighthouse in the UK, situated close to Out Stack, the most northerly rock in the UK. Western Norway is 200 miles (300 km) away.

Houses at Baliasta © geograph.org.uk - Mike Pennington/cc-by-sa-2.0 Norwick, from the Skaw road © geograph.org.uk - Mike Pennington/cc-by-sa-2.0 Lambs in the road at Ordale, Baltasound © geograph.org.uk - Mike Pennington/cc-by-sa-2.0 Muness Castle © ThoWi Unst Bus Shelter © Unstphoto/cc-by-sa-4.0 Viking ship, Skibladner © Unstphoto/cc-by-sa-4.0
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Lambs in the road at Ordale, Baltasound © geograph.org.uk - Mike Pennington/cc-by-sa-2.0
Ferries link Belmont on the island to Gutcher on Yell and Oddsta on Fetlar. The Unst Bus Shelter, also known as Bobby’s Bus Shelter after a child who saved it from removal, is a bus shelter and bus stop near the village of Baltasound which is equipped with home comforts such as a television set, and is maintained by local residents. Unst is also home to the Promoting Unst Renewable Energy (PURE) Wind Hydrogen project, a community-owned clean energy system based on hydrogen production. This project is part of the Unst Partnership, the community’s development trust. The Pure Energy Centre was formed using the skills and knowledge gained during the PURE Project and has installed hydrogen systems in diverse locations. At the southern end of Unst, above the island’s ferry terminal, stands Belmont House. Dating from 1775, Belmont has been described as “possibly the most ambitious, least-altered classical mansion in the Northern Isles“. It was restored between 1996 and 2010 by a charitable trust, who now operate the building as a venue for hire. The island has an airstrip, the Unst Airport, which has been decommissioned as an airport, has no regular flights and is only used for emergency flights.

In 2017, Frank Strang established the Shetland Space Centre Ltd and proposed that Lamba Ness would make a suitable launch site for rockets taking satellites into polar orbits. In October 2020, the proposal was given more substance by the announcement that the UK Space Agency had given its approval and that Lockheed Martin was intending to use the site as a UK base for its rocket launches. In January 2021, plans were submitted for three rocket launch pads and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced on 17 December 2023 that SaxaVord had been granted a spaceport licence “to host up to 30 launches a year”, making it “the first fully licensed vertical spaceport in Western Europe.”

Read more on Wikivoyage Unst and Wikipedia Unst (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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