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25 Things Only Shetlanders Know

Shetland is marooned in the middle of nowhere off the top of Scotland, with the isles considerably closer to Bergen than Edinburgh, so naturally, it's a bit of a mystery to some. But yes, we do have the internet and no, there aren't any polar bears. I think. But despite the remoteness, there's lots to offer...

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1. Amid the 23,000 people, there's some hairy Vikings

Chris Furlong / Getty

They come out to play across the isles in January, February and March for Up Helly Aa to celebrate Shetland's Norse heritage and man's innate love of setting fire to things.

3. And there's every photographer's dream, the Northern Lights - or as they're called in Shetland, the Mirrie Dancers

8. And even the bad days, when the wind slaps your face with the anger of Hulk Hogan after he discovers the milk's run out, are pretty great

9. Growing up in Shetland meant beaches, sledging for miles, safety, building dams, sitting in front of the fire, grubby hands, and above all, a clean soul

LOCOG via Getty

Defying that well-known saying, the grass is actually just as green on this side as it is on the other side. Where do I complain?

10. And this, sadly now a Specsavers, is where many teens spent their Saturday afternoons

Mike Pennington/Creative Commons / Via geograph.org.uk

Warning - some members of the grammar police may find this image distressing.

13. The bouncy twelve-hour boat journey to and from Aberdeen usually results in this

Lisa F. Young/Shutterstock

But it's okay, you'll meet someone you know in the bar and drink away your travel sickness blues. Then throw up again.

14. ...and the plane trip back south might start off like this

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Our pilots aren't drunkards, promise. It's just wind. Just wind...

15. If the boat is cancelled a few times in bad weather, the supermarket shelves get wiped out in fear of starvation


Panic buying: A time when human life on the isles suddenly can't survive without ten loaves of bread a week.

19. Even when you're not in Shetland, you somehow manage to bump into Shetlanders everywhere


Vikings rolling about the mean streets of New York in those outfits? They're ax-ing for trouble…

24. Even though there are tens of thousands of folk spread across numerous islands, Shetland still seems like one big community

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