Sumburgh is at the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland, and is the point of entry for visitors arriving by air. Prior to adopting its role as Shetland's main airport, it acted as an RAF fighter base. Sumburgh Head is topped by a lighthouse designed by Robert Stevenson and inaugurated in 1821. The RSPB reserve there offers the opportunity to view everybody's favourite, the puffin. But even if you can't get there in person you can view the puffins going about their nesting business on the reserve's webcams. To the west of the headland is the Bay of Quendale and the towering Fitful Head which is topped by a radar dome. Those fit enough to manage the strenuous walk up to the top are rewarded with fabulous views over the Shetland Mainland.
The archaeological site of Jarlshof may be up against some stiff competition in this neck of the woods, but what sets it apart from the many other sites of archaeological interest in the Orkneys and Shetlands is that it covers multiple time periods from the Stone Age to the 1600s and all points in between. What remains of the 3,000 years of settlement which have left their mark here includes grassy mounds, passageways, walls, doors and brochs. There is a visitor centre on hand to assist in making sense of it all.
Map of the area.
© 2004 Bob Embleton, via Wikimedia Commons