St Ninian's Isle, Bigton

4.5
#4 of 6 in Parks in Shetland Islands
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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53 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 17, 2017
    Visit the Isle of St Ninian is a must on Shetland, if the weather cooperates. We were lucky. In Lerwick, it was still raining, but ever further south it cleared more and more. The hike around the island there is ingenious ads for photos, which are very nice. In addition to sheep (like everywhere in Scotland) also many sea birds can be seen. With luck, you can see also rabbits and seals. Who's still looking for another hike after the visit, can visit the nearby the island of Mousa, and again Gets a chance to enjoy the solitude.
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  • August 9, 2017
    A relatively easy walk, stunning scenery and beautiful beach. No swimming, as it was windy and cold but imagine that on s warmer day it would be possible. Water is crystal clear and so inviting.  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    I think this is the most beautiful beach in Shetland! So clean and the walk is beautiful with all the scenic views! Fhe walk onto the isle to see the church ruins is a nice walk! Must see beach when y...  more »

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