The northern islands of Yell, Unst and Fetlar are reached via the roll-on-roll-off ferries that operate between Toft, near Mossbank on the Mainland, and Ulsta at the south-west corner of Yell. For current timetable and fare information, and for bookings, visit the ferry area of Shetland Islands Council's website.
In 2004 two new purpose built ships, each 65m long, took over the service to Yell. Daggri and Dagalien are each capable of carrying up to 95 passengers and 31 cars or 4 trucks. They were built in Gdansk and are now the pride of Shetland Islands Council's ferry fleet.
It would be fair to say that until they arrived, the capacity of the ferries they replaced was stretched. Booking was essential at busy times, and there was a real danger of the ferries constraining the economy of Yell and the economies of Unst and Fetlar beyond.
With the arrival of Daggri and Dagalien, the capacity available on the route seems to have leapfrogged demand, for some time at least. The result is that travelling to the northern isles of Shetland has become a much easier proposition requiring a little less advanced planning than was the case before.
And the new ships really do feel so much bigger than their predecessors. They are actually twice as long, 50% wider, and with a gross registered tonnage more than six times as much as the ships they replaced on the route. And the quality of the accommodation has likewise taken a step change for the better.
The crossing from Toft to Ulsta takes around 20 minutes and the services are at approximately half-hourly intervals from fairly early in the morning until late at night. From Toft the ferries head roughly north-east, passing the village of Mossbank on the headland to the south. They then sail between the island of Samphrey to the east and Bigga to the north.