Thursday, 7 February 2013

Lerwick, Shetland Islands
(part I )

Lerwick is the capital and main port of the Shetland Islands, located 160 km north of Scotland, on the east coast of the Shetland Mainland.

Lerwick is only 370 km south east of Tórshavn in the Faröe Islands, so both these are natural candidates to Pytheas's Ultima Thule. At least he must have been near around, in his exploration of the North Atlantic. On the other hand, Lerwick followed Scalloway as Viking capital of the Shetlands.

Replica of Viking ship outside Hay's dock

Coordinates: 60.15° N, 1.14° W
Population: ~ 7500

Lerwick is the most northerly town in Scotland.

Towns with similar names exist in southwestern Norway (Leirvik) and on the Faröe Islands (Leirvík), a name with roots in Old Norse meaning "bay of clay".

 The Esplanade at the town center

The most amazing about Lerwick is that such a remote town displays a rich heritage and offers cultural life as well as shopping opportunities one would not expect to find here.

The Market Cross (or Da Cross) is the gathering place in town, where the Christmas tree is placed and hundreds join to celebrate New Year:

Anderson &Co, knitwear, and the start of Commercial Street from Market Cross.

The main historic streets are Commercial street, St. Marcus and Market streets, King Harald and St. Olaf streets, and the Esplanade that runs by the bay. A maze of lanes runs inland from the waterfront.

The vibrant shopping life of Lerwick predominantly takes place along Commercial Street, ex - Da Street, with a varied range of architectural styles.

Commercial street and one of its famous shops, Clives Record Shop.

The oldest café bar in Lerwick, Da Noost.

The Esplanade forms the main Lerwick waterfront. In good weather, it's the place for a walk and a coffee.

The Peerie, shop and café.

In summer, the outside terrace can feel mediterranean !

The maze of streets in the old center can surprise at any corner:

Breiwick road has some terraced houses in a garden scenery, and a view over the sea:

Lerwick is also a lively fishing harbour, one of the most important in the UK.

Lerwick's Port Authority is in Albert building

Shetland Seafood Centre, in Alexandra wharf's Stewart building on the Esplanade

The architecturally stunning and energy efficient Solarhus (blue house, right)

The roofs and chimneys of Lerwick are a photographer's delight.

Some great rooftops:

Next post:
Cultural Lerwick - the most significant buildings and the Shetland Museum

Christmas lights in Lerwick

to be continued