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Cliff Scenery North of Eshaness Lighthouse
Cliff Scenery North of Eshaness Lighthouse

You can think of Eshaness as the wild west of Shetland. This western tip of Northmavine has some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in Shetland. And if you catch it with when a gale is smashing the Atlantic into the black cliffs that guard much of this coast, then "spectacular" becomes simply awe inspiring.

Rocks and Stacks
Rocks and Stacks
Eshaness Lighthouse
Eshaness Lighthouse
Stenness
Stenness

Getting to Eshaness takes a little commitment. First you need to find your way to Hillswick. You then take the single track B9078 as it meanders generally west, showing you some remarkable sea stacks, arches and rock formations en route.

The road finishes at Stenness, a tiny settlement overlooking the rocky Isle of Stenness and the Skerry of Eshaness just offshore. But for the real highlight make your way to the Eshaness Lighthouse via a minor road that turns off about half a mile short of Stenness.

Hoohevd Studio Gallery
Hoohevd Studio Gallery
Johnnie Notions' Böd
Johnnie Notions' Böd
Interior of the Böd
Interior of the Böd

This road leads you across country to a parking area next to the lighthouse itself. This is quite a recent addition to the landscape, being built in 1929 by David and Charles Stevenson. The tower was built with a square rather than circular plan to make it cheaper to furnish. The light was automated in 1974, and the accommodation now serves as a private house: with one of the most spectacular views anywhere.

North of the lighthouse the ground descends to the top of cliffs which repay (extremely careful) exploration with the best views of the coastline to the north. If you walk along the coast a hundred yards north west you come to Calder's Geo. This is a black, rocky cleft cut deeply back into the shoreline: as if some Viking God took his axe to the cliff face.

Back along the north coast of Eshaness is Hamna Voe, a deep inlet around which the cliffs relent to give access to the shore, and protected from the worst of the Atlantic storms by intruding headlands. A pier has been carved out of the shoreline here for the local fishing boats.

Another road off to the north of the B9078 leads to the settlement of Hamnavoe, on the east headland of Hamna Voe. Here you will find Johnnie Notions' Böd. Now a camping böd this was once the home of John Williamson, an uneducated self-taught local man who became known as "Johnnie Notions" after inventing a means of inoculating local people against smallpox in the 1700s.

On the south side of Eshaness is the linear settlement of Tangwick, which culminates in the Tangwick Haa. Once the main house in the area and built in the late 1600s, it was converted in 1987 to a museum dedicated to life in Northmavine.

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