Shetland is an open paradise. A pattern of land and sea, of moors and lochs, of slopes and tarns, of green and blue, where you can see as far as you can see.
It can be a landscape painted in sweeping strokes, or a jagged vista of chiselled rock and crashing waves.
It’s a place to watch and listen. Looking at a remote bay, you may discover seals watching you, their heads bobbing with the waves. Or hiking over heathland, a lapwing’s call will let you know you’re approaching her nest.
The wildlife is exotic. Huge colonies of clamouring sea birds, fierce Great Skuas (known locally as bonxies) soaring above, wave- shooting Storm Petrels, friendly seals watching, secretive otters, and even the occasional whale, out to sea.
The air is clearer in Shetland, that’s why the views are so far-reaching; you can breathe the horizon. Fresh space. Distant misty islands. Cottages dotted across slopes. The famous ponies graze nearby.
There’s ancient history here too, as part of the landscape. Iron Age settlements and brochs (circular towers) are evocative of their 4000-year-old inhabitants.
And Shetland stays with you. When back at home, see a crow and hear a bonxie, sit on a crowded train and feel the space, find a park lake without looking for a seal.
So Shetland is inspiring yet so peaceful, gentle yet so spectacular, dynamic yet so relaxing.
And there are puffins.