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“Puffin Poo and Gannet Hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Noss National Nature Reserve

Noss National Nature Reserve
Noss, ZE1 0LL, Scotland
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Durham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
“Puffin Poo and Gannet Hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

We never fail to return to Noss Nature Reserve on our regular visits to Shetland. Mid August and there were still several puffins and the usual amount of bonxies but no seals basking on the rocks this year. Very friendly wardens with familiar advise ... but always some little nuggets of special information to take heed of. As usual a lovely quiet 5 mile coastal walk until you get in earshot of the Noup.

Visited August 2013
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15 reviews from our community

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English first
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Our best day in the Shetlands”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013

An amazing place with stunning bird life and the two most enthusiastic and engaging wardens you could find.

Visited August 2013
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Ohio
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
“Take an inflatable to a beautiful walk”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2013

Janeywoo's review was spot on. I can add only a few things.

The rangers have a sense of humor. Don't miss the advertisements posted in the nature center. By the way, the rangers said that the lambs are taken from Noss across to Bressey in the fall in the small inflatable. That would be a sight to see!

Watch for incoming banks of fog. They can be so thick that visibility drops to five or six feet. If you encounter a fog bank, keep the stone wall that guards the cliff edge in sight.

As you circumambulate the island, keep an eye out for natural arches. Not all are marked on ordnance maps.

The last ferry back to Bressay leaves at 5 pm. Overnight visitors are not permitted.

Visited June 2013
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Birmingham
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Gannet planet!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2011

Noss is a small island, off the island of Bressay, off the Shetland mainland.To get there, you'll need to take a ferry to Bressay, and follw signs for Noss (about a three mile drive). From the car park, you walk down the track to the small jetty. You're spotted by the warden who comes to collect you in a small inflatable boat. The boat runs from May to the end of Aug, except Mondays and Thursdays. In Jule 2011, an adult return on the boat was £3, otherwise the reserve is free. There is a small visitor centre with reserve leaflets and other information. Water is sold, and there are toilets. Once there, you can see the remains of a medieval chapel, and the pony pund built for the Marquis of Londonderry who bred Shetland ponies to work in his mines. But the real reason to visit Noss is for the wildlife.

A circular walk around the island (you're asked to keep to the marked trail to protect sensitive areas) will take about 2 and a half hours at a steady pace - but far longer than that if you want to sit and watch the seals watching you in the Voe of the Mels, and the amazing gannet colonies (about 8,600 pairs). There are also guillemots, razorbills, fulmars, puffins, herring gulls, shags and black guillemots to see, as well as great and arctic skuas.

Noss is often refered to as the place to go if you can't be bothered to go up to Hermaness on Unst. However, I'd say a visit to Noss is no way second fiddle to its northerm sibling. There may be fewer birds here, but you're closer to them. I'd say this is the best place on Shetland to see gannets.

If you enjoy walking, and love wildlife, this is an essential part of a Shetland itinerary. Bring your binoculars!

Visited July 2011
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