An exclusive and unique departure led by Hugh Harrop and wildlife enthusiast, TV star, Bushnell UK Ambassador and friend of Shetland Wildlife, Kate MacRae - aka 'WildlifeKate'. This 'Ultimate Shetland' trip also coincides with the longest day of the year where one can enjoy almost 24 hours of daylight in the land of the 'Simmer Dim' amidst spectacular scenery and magnificent wildlife! Kate's enthusiasm for Shetland is infectious and she will also be sharing her knowledge and expertise of Bushnell 'trail cams' on the trip. We will therefore have the opportunity to set cams in lots of exciting locations, capturing unique footage!

Storm Petrel

Killer Whale


Red-necked Phalarope

Great Skua


Edmonston's Chickweed


Grey Seal

Golden Plover


DAY 1  Saturday - Welcome Dinner & Mousa Broch Storm Petrels

Late afternoon / early evening rendezvous at Sumburgh Hotel. After our welcome dinner and orientation we take a boat to the island of Mousa. Mousa Broch dates back to the Iron Age and is the largest example of its kind in Scotland, standing at a staggering 43 ft high! The broch is the summer home to hundreds of European Storm Petrels, which return ashore to their nests as darkness falls - their bat-like displays as they fly in from the ocean are a truly awesome sight. We depart Mousa just after midnight and return to Sumburgh. Overnight at Sumburgh.

DAY 2  Sunday - South Mainland Seabirds

During the morning, we visit Sumburgh Head to view multitudes of seabirds, including our first Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots, Kittiwakes and Shags. We'll also be seeking out Shetland's commoner passerines - Wheatears, Rock and Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Twite and the Shetland Wren. If seas are calm enough we'll spend time looking offshore for Minke Whales, White-beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoise. In recent years we've also recorded both Killer and Humpback Whales. Then on to the peninsula of Scatness for breeding Arctic Terns - and both Common and Grey Seals - and to the Loch of Hillwell and Loch of Spiggie for an excellent assortment of breeding wildfowl and waders. We end the day at Dalsetter, observing typical moorland-breeding species like Curlew, Whimbrel and Arctic Skua. Overnight at Sumburgh.

DAY 3  Monday - Noss National Nature Reserve & Tingwall Valley

This morning we board our chartered boat for an unforgettable cruise to Noss National Nature Reserve for spectacular views of the famous seabird colonies. The huge cliffs will be alive with the hustle and bustle of one of the largest seabird colonies in Shetland and the sight of nearly 20,000 Gannets wheeling around our boat along with rafts of Guillemots, Razorbills and Puffins swimming at arms length will be truly awesome! Viewing this seabird colony from sea-level will certainly compliment our cliff-top vista from Hermaness later in the week . We'll also be on the lookout for Harbour Porpoise and should see plenty of Grey and Common Seals. We spend the afternoon in the crystalline limestone valley of Tingwall, where we hope to observe our first Red-throated Divers, Red-breasted Mergansers and nesting Whooper Swans! Mountain Hare is also a Tingwall speciality and we would hope to encounter several individuals in the upper reaches of the valley. Overnight at Sumburgh.

DAY 4  Tuesday - Fetlar Phalaropes

We travel north, across the island of Yell, to connect with the morning ferry to the island of Fetlar. The prize here will be the handsome Red-necked Phalarope, famous for its breeding role reversal. Fetlar holds over 90% of the British breeding population, although the birds' stay on the island is brief - they generally arrive during the third week of May and are gone by the end of July! We should also see a wide variety of other breeding birds including Red-throated Diver, Whimbrel, Golden Plover, Dunlin and, if we're lucky, a summering Great Northern Diver. We'll also search the north shore of the island for Otters. Fetlar's fertile land produces a dazzling display of wild flowers and we should find several species of Orchid with ease. We cross Bluemull Sound late in the afternoon and arrive on Unst, Britain's most northerly island. Overnight at the Baltasound Hotel.

DAY 5  Wednesday - Hermaness National Nature Reserve & Keen of Hamar Arctic Alpines

We spend the morning walking on Hermaness National Nature Reserve. A walk on this reserve is essential to appreciate just why Hermaness is one of Europe's most important wildlife sites. The moorland is home to 800 pairs of Great Skuas - the second largest 'Bonxie' colony in the world - and the cliffs house 50,000 Puffins, 40,000 Guillemots, 28,000 Fulmars and over 20,000 Gannets! The cacophony of bird cries and the smell of guano make this an overwhelming wildlife experience! Amidst the tapestry of Heather, Crowberry, Bog Bilberry and Bog Cotton we'll search for the carnivorous Round-leaved Sundew and Butterwort. In the afternoon we visit the Keen of Hamar National Nature Reserve. Hiking on this barren serpentine fell-field has been likened to walking on the Moon but, as we explore this unique habitat, a diverse eco-system appears. The reserve is home to an array of rare wild flowers, including Arctic Sandwort, Northern Rock Cress, Frog Orchid and Shetland Mouse-Ear Chickweed - found here but nowhere else in the world! Overnight at the Baltasound Hotel.

DAY 6  Thursday - Unst back to south Mainland

We'll continue to explore more of our favourite sites on Unst. Britain's most northerly settlement at Skaw may hold a few late migrants (or even a few early returning ones!) and we search the lush flower-rich meadows of Norwick for breeding Redshank, Snipe and Curlew. In the afternoon we explore the sheltered bays and wetlands of southern Unst. Otters and seals will be our prime targets along with handsome brick-red Black-tailed Godwits. Only a handful of Black-tailed Godwits breed in Shetland and they belong to the race islandica, which is more widely distributed in the Faeroes and Iceland. We should also encounter Dunlins on breeding territory giving their trilling display song. We will leave Unst in the afternoon stopping off on the island of Yell on our way south to see an impressive gathering of tiny Round-leaved Sundew. Continuing south we head across Yell Sound by ferry and arrive back at in the south Mainland, home for the next two nights. Overnight at Sumburgh.

DAY 7  Friday - Northmavine and Eshaness

We spend the day in the north Mainland - a beautiful region composed mainly of red granite and diorite. We will spend the morning at one of our favourite patches of coastal moorland, looking for Otters, Mountain Hares, Red Grouse and an array of breeding waders such as Dunlin, Snipe and Curlew. Continuing north towards the picturesque village of Hillswick, we make a stop to find the rare and declining Oysterplant - now found at just a handful of sites in Shetland. We lunch at the awe-inspiring Eshaness Cliffs, where caves, crags and rocky 'geos' form some of Shetland's most dramatic and iconic scenery. We visit the Grind o' da Navir - an incredible amphitheatre formed by the huge seas of violent winter storms and on our return, we will stop to admire the Holes of Scraada - a 132-yard collapsed cave with Fulmars as residents! On our return to the lighthouse we will keep an eye offshore for plunge-diving Gannets and terns, and with luck we may sight whales and dolphins. After another exhilarating day we'll head back south for our farewell dinner. Overnight at Sumburgh.

DAY 8  Saturday

After breakfast we'll transfer you to Sumburgh airport, or make arrangements for you to travel to your onward destination in Shetland.

Holiday Information 2019 Operating Dates

Sat 15th June


Sat 22nd June





Single Supplement





Group Size - maximum 12 travellers
with Kate MacRae and Hugh Harrop as guides.


Kate MacRaeAs previously mentioned, Kate is the UK Ambassador for Bushnell trail cams. Kate uses trail cams extensively in her work (click here for her web site) and has captured incredible footage of a wide range of Shetland's wildlife. Trail cams are a relatively new and innovative way to record, understand and enjoy wildlife behaviour that is impossible to witness under normal wildlife viewing conditions. Trail cams are increasingly becoming an essential part of any wildlife enthusiast's kit. These small, battery-powered units have a sensor, which detects body warmth & movement, triggering the unit to take a photo or a video clip. In daylight many units will even capture video in full HD! At night, the unit bathes the area in infra-red light, allowing captures even when it is pitch black. The footage is recorded onto an SD card which can simply be removed and placed into a PC or laptop.

Whilst the trail cam concept will in no way detract from the amazing physically visible aspect of this holiday (and why would it - we've been running it for over 20 years!), the use of trail cams on this trip will complement your understanding and enjoyment of Shetland's wildlife. How often does that Otter walk along a certain stretch of coastline? How many Puffins are using that single burrow entrance? Is that scrape on a patch of heather being used by a Mountain Hare? What is nibbling at the leaves of a tiny Frog Orchid? Is that tiny crevice really used by a Storm Petrel? All can be answered with a trail cam and in addition to the itinerary published above, we will be exploring unique and highly innovative possibilities during the week, which will include placing cams and then reviewing and uploading footage that all participants will be able to take home with them as a memento of the trip.

Need more info? Click here for our Travellers Fact File.

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Puffins – tens of thousands!
Storm Petrels
Red-throated Divers
Red-necked Phalaropes
Great Northern Divers
Common Eiders
Whooper Swans
Black-tailed Godwits
Golden Plovers
Arctic Skuas
Black Guillemot
Rock Dove (real ones!)
Red Grouse
Shetland Wren
Thrush Nightingale
Subalpine Warbler
Red-backed Shrikes
Golden Oriole

Otters - lots!
Killer Whales
Minke Whales
White-beaked Dolphins
White-sided Dolphins
Risso's Dolphins
Harbour Porpoise
Grey Seals
Harbour Seals
Arctic Hare - lots!

Frog Orchid
Northern Marsh Orchid
Early Purple Orchid
Fragrant Orchid
Shetland Mouse-ear
Arctic Sandwort
Northern Rockcress
Hoary Whitlow-grass


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