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St Ninian's Isle, Bigton

(35+ reviews on the web)
Island
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
  • When we lived in Shetland 35 years ago the island was in better shape than it is now. An absolute disgrace. The sand tombolo joining the island to the mainland is of major geographical significance, a...  more »
  • I spent a sleepless night wild camping here in gale force winds. There isn't a great deal on this island. You can probably walk the entire coastal circumference in less than an hour. There are no acce...  more »
  • Early morning visited this island (or Peninsula) is connected by a strip of sand that emerges at low tide to the Mainland and offers breathtaking landscapes and meetings with groups of seals which emerge from the water to the island in addition to the traditional sheep are the remains of a small chapel. Thanks to gray and windy weather has been an awesome experience, one of the most beautiful places we've seen in the beautiful shetland
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