Ukraine fundraiser - 18 June 2024
Friday 14 June 2024
 9.7°C   E Fresh Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Business / Feasibility study underway into isles-wide walking route

South Mainland from Mossy Hill. Photo: VisitScotland

THE IDEA of a ‘Shetland Way’ – a walking route between Unst and Sumburgh – has taken a step further forward.

Consultancy company Stantec has been appointed to carry out a feasibility study into the idea.

The proposal, aimed at attracting tourists to Shetland as well as providing more walking opportunities for locals, has been simmering away for a number of years.

The proposed route from Sumburgh Head in the south to Hermaness in the north could include ‘visitor hubs’ along its length, to divide it into daily walkable sections and give access to attractions, accommodation, facilities and shops.

The 96-mile West Highland Way from Milngavie north of Glasgow to Fort William for instance is hugely popular with walkers, bringing a boost to the local economy as a result, and some believe that Shetland’s landscape could work for a similar scheme.

The project is being developed by VisitScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Shetland Islands Council, NatureScot and Shetland Tourism Association.

VisitScotland Shetland development manager Steve Mathieson said: “The idea of creating a long-distance walking route for Shetland seems to make perfect sense, especially with the growth in interest in responsible tourism and eco-friendly outdoor activities plus the drive to help communities engage more with active travel initiatives.

“There are a number of iconic walking routes throughout Scotland which are highly popular with both visitors and locals and this study will help determine the possibility of creating the most northerly one in the UK.

“The last Shetland Visitor Survey in 2019 showed that walking is by far the most popular activity amongst leisure visitors at 92 per cent, while landscape and scenery is the top motivation for visiting the islands, coming in at 69 per cent.

“The study will also consider the suitability of the route for cyclists and horse riders, as interest in both activities has been growing in recent years.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“The aim of developing a long-distance walking route is to attract more visitors to Shetland, encourage them to stay longer, see more of Shetland and provide them and locals with the opportunity to enjoy a world-class, active, environmentally-friendly experience.”

VisitScotland said interested parties and the public will be offered the opportunity to input into the study through the consultation process.

Stantec project director Stephen Canning said: “We are delighted to be working with VisitScotland and the project steering group on this exciting feasibility study, which provides an opportunity to make the case for a high quality cross-Shetland active travel route for visitors and residents alike.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.