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Subarctic Waters

Being so far north might make for a very chilly climate yet due to the ocean's influence the weather on Shetland Islands is rather mild, as far as temperatures go anyway, spring and summer are cool at from 40 degrees F to 57 degrees F with the highest summer temperatures being at about 70 degrees F. Even though summers are cool, the winters remain mild at lows of around 34 degrees F to 37 degrees F December through February and any snowfall, typically, quickly disappears before the day is over. It is basically cloudy on the islands and the rain is around three to four inches every month.

This area of the earth qualifies for long summer days, with the sun shining practically twenty-four hours in the summer. Likewise, on Shetland Islands, in the winter, you can often catch a glimpse of the "northern lights" also known as the "aurora borealis." An auroral zone is found between 10 degrees and 20 degrees from a planet's magnetic pole, the north pole is at 90 degrees latitude and central Shetland is at 60 degrees latitude which is close enough, especially on the northernmost islands here such as Unst or Yell.

There is nowhere in Shetland that is more than three miles from the ocean and four of the outer islands are joined to the Mainland Shetland Island by bridge. The joined islands are East and West Burra, Muckle Roe and Tronda.

Wildlife and Farming

Shetland, or, Zetland to some people, is the habitat for sea otters, seals, porpoises and more, it is never to hot for the animals. Sheep are a common farm animal to tend and families in Shetland usually have their own small piece of land called a 'croft' for the purpose of raising the sheep, which are in turn useful for producing the famous 'Shetland' wool and for being spun and knit into Fair Isle or Shetland patterned sweaters by the natives.

Customs

There was prehistoric settlement on these islands as is evidenced by the circular stone towers, called brochs and stone circles that are believed to have been created by a people known as the Picts, a Celtic group of people from Scotland. You can see much Old Norse and Scottish heritage across the islands as in the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival which honors the end of the Yule season and occurs in the middle of the winter season and in the local love for a certain traditional fiddle style.

Ferry Boats

Getting to or from the Shetland Islands is relatively easy as there are three major ferry services from the neighboring islands or countries. Orkney Islands offers a ferry as do Aberdeen, Scotland and Bergen, Norway. The islands are only about 62 miles from mainland Scotland and ferry services are roughly an equal distance as well. From Aberdeen, Scotland ferry service is available seven nights a week, all year both ways to and from Aberdeen, Scotland and Lerwich, Shetland. The ferries cross overnight and the trip takes between twelve and thirteen hours, also the ferries allow for cars and pets.

Ferries from Bergen, Norway are provided for travelers on Mondays from March through October and the travel time is approximately eleven hours for those travelling to Lerwick.

The Capital City

Lerwick is home to the Shetland Museum and Archives with artifacts and more that explain and showcase the islands roots so you won't go away left in the dark about how civilization came to be on the islands when you leave if you visit this museum.

Lerwick also hosts a UK seaside weather station. Notable buildings in Lerwick besides the museum would be the Böd of Gremista, one family's fishing and curing structure dating back to the seventeen hundreds, and the Broch of Clckimin that is enhanced by a stone causeway and which contains a later wheelhouse. There is a stone wall around this broch and an unusual blockhouse within it in addition to the broch.

The Lerwick hotel has all the modern conveniences you could fathom a hotel to have, a fine restaurant with private dining possible, a bar and services for weddings or business events. Another favorite hotel is the Kveldsro Hotel featuring residential type accommodations. There are also the Shetland Hotel which is found immediately across the way from the ferry terminal and this hotel is modestly priced at only 59 Euros per night as well as the Craighaar Hotel with fine suites, traditional rooms and a Club Lounge with fireplace.