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St Ninian's Isle, Bigton
(4.7/5 based on 35 reviews on the web)
St Ninian's Isle is a small tied island connected by the largest active tombolo in the UK to the south-western coast of the Mainland, Shetland, in Scotland. The tombolo, known locally as an ayre from the Old Norse for "gravel bank", is 500 metres long. During the summer the tombolo is above sea level and accessible to walkers. During winter, stronger wave action removes sand from the beach so that it is usually covered at high tide, and occasionally throughout the tidal cycle, until the sand is returned the following spring. Depending on the definition used, St. Ninian's is thus either an island, or a peninsula; it has an area of about 72 hectares. The nearest settlement is Bigton on South Mainland. The important early medieval St Ninian's Isle Treasure of metalwork, mostly in silver, was discovered under the church floor in 1958. Many seabirds, including puffins, visit the island, with several species nesting there.HistoryAs its name suggests, the island has ecclesiastical connections, which may like others in the Northern Isles, Hebrides and Faroes have connections to the Culdees or papar. However, the island's history is far older than Christianity, and Neolithic graves have been found within the walls of the chapel (formerly beneath the floor).
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • St. Ninian is connected to Mainland by a narrow strip of sand that emerges at low tide, but is completely submerged at high tide. This phenomenon, called tombolo, makes it even more spectacular scenery already perceived as beautiful: the island is uninhabited and is home to various animal species, starting from the ubiquitous sheep, the walk on the sand is absolutely safe and very pleasant, relaxing view. Is one of the places I most beloved Shetland pony.
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  • Don't go here if you want amenities and artificial attractions. In the village of Bigton, just next to the Isle, there's a shop where you can get basic food for a picnic, and a public loo. That's it -...  more »
  • We were lucky to visit on abeautiful day with the sun shining and no one else around. Would definitely recommend a visit and a walk along the sands. Wish we had more time to walk around St Ninians Isl...  more »