Skip To Content

    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...

    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.

    And in true Viking tradition, the main Up Helly Aa event in Lerwick burns a galley in a playpark, right near the big slide

    Jeff J Mitchell / Getty

    No pillaging here, no siree.

    2. There's probably Britain's best road sign

    craig.neogeo.org.uk

    Countless people get their photo taken next to the Twatt sign. Shetland's Eiffel Tower, perhaps, with a smidgen less class.

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

    Uriel Sinai / Getty

    Or for all you posh buggers, the Aurora Borealis.

    4. There's the ponies too, but contrary to popular belief, they're not absolutely everywhere

    Targn Pleiades/Shutterstock

    And they don't moonwalk either.

    5. Shetland's Fair Isle knitwear has influenced fashion

    REX USA/Rob McDougall / Rex

    'You talkin' to me?...You talkin' to me?'

    But the boiler suit and yellow boots combo has yet to kick off down south

    6. We pretty much have Britain's 'most northerly' everything - the most northerly brewery

    emmalouise.info

    Viking is man! Viking like beer.

    …the most northerly golf course

    Flickr: Cathy Simpson / Via Flickr: 11318452@N00

    Contact Norway for any balls lost in the sea.

    …and of course, Britain's most northerly 'dancing' pony, Socks

    7. We always have good nights

    Andrew Milligan/PA Archive/Press Association Images

    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

    Denis Paquin / AP/Press Association Images

    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.

    11. Because there's no fast food chains to feed the masses with insipid fare, Shetland manages to get by pretty well food-wise

    elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk / Via elizabethskitchendiary.co.uk

    Tattie soup* and bannocks will do just nicely, thanks. *Potato soup.

    12. Going for one pint might start something like this

    ...but it'll probably end up like this

    regmedia.co.uk

    Buzz Lightyear outfit optional.

    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

    View this video on YouTube

    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

    cla78/Shutterstock

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

    16. Our wildlife inspires the awe

    REX USA/Jim Hutchison / Associated Newspapers / Rex

    Holy scoot, that seal is cute.

    17. ...but unfortunately our birds aren't quite toilet trained yet

    Pim Leijen/Shutterstock

    Week-old tattie soup is a dangerous idea for both humans and animals, apparently.

    18. Our remote landscapes are pretty noteworthy

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

    visitscotland.com

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

    20. The lilting dialect meanwhile is so catchy that even our sheepy friends speak it

    21. And Shetland's other native language, music, keeps on buzzing

    shetlandfolkfestival.com

    What is that man's head doing at the bottom of the picture? Answers on a postcard, please.

    22. Sometimes we have slow news days

    Local commercial radio station SIBC regularly keeps the Shetland public abreast of the hottest breaking news.

    23. Shetlanders always stop and speak to each other on 'Da Street' even if there's nothing much to say

    static.panoramio.com

    And if there is something to say, they will be there for hours.

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

    canmore.rcahms.gov.uk

    Everyone knows each other, or their parents, or parents' parents, or parents' sheep.

    25. And that's one of the many reasons why I'm happy to call it home

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form