We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

A lone female traveller

Israel
9 posts
1 review
Save Topic
A lone female traveller

I have been reading and researching a trip to Northern Scotland, possibly the Shetlands and now I am more confused than when starting out. I have a dream to see the Aurora and am fully aware that it is matter of luck. I would like to travel during the last week of March 2013, for about a week.. I do not enjoys cities at all and am interested in scenery and where possible wildlife. I am a middle aged woman traveling alone. Is there anyone living way up there who has a spot of time to point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Eva

Stanley, Falkland...
Level Contributor
32,591 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: A lone female traveller

Hi Eva,

I'm not living up there, but I am quite close to the South Shetland Islands!

You say 'point you in the right direction', but you seem to be already pointed there! What is it you need help with? There are several good tourism sites.

You can fly to Shetland via Aberdeen, or take the ferry. Once there, there are lots of good B&Bs, and the main town, Lerwick, is not a city.

Shetland is famous for its otters and sea life, so you could try to see some of that, although its probably too early for loads of seabirds like puffins.

I agree the Aurora will be down to luck. You really need to get above the Arctic circle.

Edinburgh...
Level Contributor
5,099 posts
87 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: A lone female traveller

I'm Edinburgh-based and an occasional visitor. Hoping a resident will give you some home truths soon, if you see what I mean. I hope you've already spotted the visitshetland website?

If theres anything specific you're unhappy about why not ask? You're more likely to get answers to specific questions.

Lerwick isn't a big town; it doesn't really feel like a town. There are hotels and B&Bs, and there are tours which will take you up and down the Island chain. A tour might be a good idea to get your bearings.

March is maybe a bit early, but you might get birds migrating North. Loads of geese etc head for Iceland/Greenland as the weather improves as do many other breeds.

And there's a lot of history; buildings and ruins, museums ... you need to visit a Broch; you need to see 5000 years of history at Jarlshof, and ruins of buildings from early church. This is very different from any orthodox tradition you may have seen near home. Or you can see what the oil industry has done at places like Sullem Voe ...

There are loads of country B&Bs and by March some of them will be open after their winter close-down. Sites like TA may not reflect that, so contacting the local tourist office right now - do they close for the winter too? - would be a good way of getting further information. All tourist offices keep lists of registered B&Bs - they probably know of a lot that don't appear on agency websites. See below.

In March public transport might be more patchy than mid-summer - I'm not sure about schedules and again it might make sense to contact the company by email. If you want to use public transport, you obviously need to find accommodation near a bus route or a ferry! There are buses but they're designed to help locals most of the year, not tourists. Some places there might be a bus morning and afternoon to help school pupils and not much more ...

There are a number of places doing car hire. I can't imagine they'll be over-busy in March. If you want flexibility in where you can go and when, a car might be a good idea.

Tourist Office,

Market Cross,

Lerwick,

Shetland ZE1 0LU,

UK

Tel: +44 (0) 8701 999 440

Fax: +44 (0) 1595 695 807

Email: info@visitshetland.com

Web: www.visitshetland.com

http://www.shetland.gov.uk/transport/

Israel
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: A lone female traveller

Thank you both for the reply. Ask specific questions you both say - so here are my dilemmas about choosing a route. I realize that March is early and cannot make up my mind whether to do the west coast or the east or the Shetlands. Where would I most likely be able to amble along and see wildlife? I did think of renting a car and travelling along stopping where the fancy takes me. As I said the Aurora is there at the back of my mind and places like Lerwick and Aberdeen are frequently mentioned as places where they are spotted. 2013 is supposedly a good year with great possibilities of seeing the Lights. But why Aberdeenshire and not along the west coast?

To be perfectly honest I don't have the questions and was hoping (when first I wrote) that someone would simply say "do this area"! I want to see funny looking sheep and ponies, Cashmere production, heather and walk quietly in secluded spots and simply enjoy being.

I added the "middle aged", solitary female for the need to feel that it is safe and that I need not concern myself with that.

I thank you both for your suggestions to date and have spent time looking over what you have suggested. Is March to early to consider a trip to Fair Isle? Is it likely to be snowing? - am not any good at driving in snowy conditions.

Eva

Lerwick, United...
Level Contributor
117 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: A lone female traveller

Hello from Shetland Elkeva

Good to know you are planning to visit Shetland (never ‘the Shetlands’ !!) next year. March is quite early, but there will still be lots to see and do. In fact, I like March because the days are getting longer, and the birds which leave us for the winter are starting to return. It’s also the spring migration for birds, so lots of exciting things can turn up! However, the weather can be variable, and it’s not unusual to have snow in March, though usually it doesn’t stay for too long. As you have rightly guessed, the Aurora (Northern Lights, or ‘Merrie Dancers’ in Shetland) is certainly a possibility but it depends on weather conditions. (we had a fine show of the Aurora last night).

If you have not already done so, then I strongly advise you go to www.shetland.org for lots of information about Shetland, how to get here, where to stay and what to do when you are here. Accommodation should not be a problem in March, but do please book ahead. There may not be many holiday visitors in March, but there are always lots of people here on business, so accommodation gets booked up, especially in Lerwick. Why not consider staying outside Lerwick, especially if you are going to hire a car?

Transport. We have a network of bus services, but these will not be much help if you want to visit the more remote areas of Shetland. Do hire a car if you can. Driving is very easy, the roads are very good. Organised tours are possible – see the links on the website link above – but may be a bit more limited in March. You mentioned visiting east or west Shetland? I’m not sure what you mean by that. If you have a car, you can explore the east mainland and the west mainland (the ‘Westside’ as its known here). You could also take the inter-island ferries and visit the North Isles of Shetland – Yell, Unst, and Fetlar. The south mainland (the ‘Ness’) has lovely beaches & lots of archaeological sites – though visitor facilities are unlikely to be open in March. The north mainland has some wonderful, dramatic scenery. So with a car, you can go almost where you want. Fair Isle is certainly possible, but as March is the spring bird migration, it can be busy. You would need to book your accommodation and flights in advance.

Now to animals and wildlife. You’ll see lots of sheep, and maybe even a few early lambs in March. Ponies – yes, there are lots around. Cashmere – no. Lots of wool from sheep, but not cashmere goats. Heather – not in flower in March of course, but most of Shetland is heather moorland and blanket bog, so you’ll see heather! Secluded spots? Everywhere. Again, look at the website, and you’ll see what I mean. If you want particular suggestions, come back and ask and I’ll suggest some. Shetland is a wildlife paradise, and there are a great many knowledgeable wildlife enthusiasts here. March is early for some of our wildlife – the breeding seabirds for example, but the best website to look at – and it’s regularly updated by locals – is Nature in Shetland. You’ll find it at nature-shetland.co.uk/naturelatest/latestnew… and its also on Facebook – though you DO NOT have to be a member of FB to view the pages. Here it is http://www.facebook.com/natureinshetland Do check it out. The information on it is right up to date (last post was 20 minutes ago) – and there’s a lovely image of last nights Aurora over Fair Isle!

Finally, I hope I do not need to say that you should have no concerns about being a lone female traveller. You will receive a very friendly welcome, and Shetland is a safe place to be. Come back with more questions if we can help.

Israel
9 posts
1 review
Save Reply
5. Re: A lone female traveller

Thank you Shellseeker. The pictures are gorgeous and shall not even look for a word to describe the lights. When you mention staying outside of Lerwick could you give me some suggestions please. This is so exciting.

Stanley, Falkland...
Level Contributor
32,591 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: A lone female traveller

Hi,

I'm sure the shetland.org site will have a list of ALL the accommodation on Shetland. There isn't a lot, hence the previous advice to book early, as Shetland always has business travellers.

I stayed at the Spiggie Hotel a few years ago, and it was very hospitable and scenic. All places will be reviewed on here and on other sites. Driving is easy, and Shetland is a very safe place.

Try and see Mavis Grind - not a person, but where the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea are only a few yards apart! Shetland has lots of quirky places.

Lerwick, United...
Level Contributor
117 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: A lone female traveller

Hi again Elveka

Have a look at the website and see what sort of accommodation you want. There are relatively few hotels in Shetland and the ones in Lerwick cater very much for the business trade and because that business is often oil-industry related, the hotels are expensive for what they are. There are some nice hotels outside Lerwick - Peterscot mentions the Spiggie Hotel in the south mainland, which is very nice and friendly. Busta House Hotel up near Brae is very good too and I've heard good reports of the Scalloway Hotel. However, there are also many very good Guest Houses and you may want to look at these, as the cost will be less. In recent years, Self-catering accommodation has improved hugely and there are some great places, often in more secluded locations - but I'm guessing you might not want to self-cater when you are travelling on your own. It may be best to book a small hotel, or a Guest House, where you'll be sure of personal attention.

Let me know if I can help more.

Lerwick, United...
Level Contributor
117 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: A lone female traveller

Hi again Elveka

Have a look at the website and see what sort of accommodation you want. There are relatively few hotels in Shetland and the ones in Lerwick cater very much for the business trade and because that business is often oil-industry related, the hotels are expensive for what they are. There are some nice hotels outside Lerwick - Peterscot mentions the Spiggie Hotel in the south mainland, which is very nice and friendly. Busta House Hotel up near Brae is very good too and I've heard good reports of the Scalloway Hotel. However, there are also many very good Guest Houses and you may want to look at these, as the cost will be less. In recent years, Self-catering accommodation has improved hugely and there are some great places, often in more secluded locations - but I'm guessing you might not want to self-cater when you are travelling on your own. It may be best to book a small hotel, or a Guest House, where you'll be sure of personal attention.

Let me know if I can help more.

9. Re: A lone female traveller

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:19 am, December 14, 2013
Get answers to your questions about Shetland Islands