Fair Isle (from Old Norse Frjóey, Gaelic Fara) is one of Shetland islands, lying around halfway between mainland Shetland and the Orkney islands.
Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom; the nearest town is Lerwick, 72 km away, almost 4 hours by sea.
The island is only 4.8 km in length and 2.4 km wide.
The majority of the seventy islanders live in the crofts on the southern half of the island, with the northern half consisting of rocky moorland. The western coast consists of cliffs of up to 200 metres in height.
The sagas tell how Kari the Viking wintered here on his voyage to the Hebrides.The ancient map above is roughly the right shape and there are still whales and porpoises in the waters around the isle today.
Over the centuries the island changed hands many times. Trading links with northern Europe are reflected in Fair Isle Haa, a traditional Hanseatic trading booth located not far from South Harbour, traditionally used by residents of the southern part of the island.
The principal activity for the male islanders is crofting, women work mainly on the island's traditional style of knitting. Fair Isle is also known for its bird observatory.
The North Haven
Now a guest house - doors aren’t locked!
For hundreds of years the main export was dried salt fish. At the South Harbour you can see ancient nausts ("noosts") where halibut fishermen hauled up their distinctive Fair Isle boats, or yoles. The boat-shaped noosts remain in use today and traditional boats are still built in the isle.
The George Waterston Memorial Centre & Museum is installed at the old school.
and of course lots of Puffins !
Over the years there have been a long list of shipwrecks on or near Fair Isle. The most famous being El Gran Grifón, the flagship of the Spanish Armada.
Auld Haa in the dimming evening light
Fair Isle Map: