"Fair Isle - More than a Knit Pattern" Fair Isle by kathymof

Fair Isle Travel Guide: 59 reviews and 85 photos

Fair Isle is about half-way between Orkney and the Shetland Islands. It is known as Britain's most isolated inhabited island. There are about 70 full-time residents and a few thousand sheep, along with a few dogs, cats and cattle who call the island home. It is best known for its famous Fair Isle Knit Pattern but birders know the real secret to Fair Isle is the large breeding population of seabirds and the large migratory populations that pass this way.

Getting there is half the fun

There are two ways to Fair Isle - water and air. Logan Air flys regularly scheduled flights, weather permitting. The Good Shepherd IV, a ferry, makes trips twice a week from Fair Isle to Sumburgh at the southern tip of Shetland (mainland island). Some people fly back after enduring sea sickness on the way over. The Good Shepherd is actually the mail boat that can take 12 passengers and two small vehicles. It is the first time I have ever seen a ferry's passenger compartment come with seat belts. It is best to stand on deck unless you are told to go in. The fresh air helps prevent sea sickness. The 4-person crew is very gentle with those who get sea sick. I enjoyed the ferry but make sure you are dressed warmly and in windproof garmets, have gloves and a hat. Don't do anything bad on Fair Isle because you can't sneak off this island!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:An isolated location with wonderful people
  • Cons:If you can't enjoy the outdoors and nature, you're in trouble
  • Last visit to Fair Isle: Jun 2003
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (23)

Comments (14)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Mar 5, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    great tips Kathy!

  • daarth's Profile Photo
    Mar 2, 2010 at 4:14 AM

    Thanks, and great to see your pictures! I've been there four times now and just keep coming back ;-)

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2009 at 10:44 PM

    Wow... amazing place for bird watching. Enjoyed viewing your pages of Scotland - rustic windswept highlander landscape. Hope to visit one day. SL

  • nickandchris's Profile Photo
    Apr 27, 2009 at 4:17 AM

    Ah, enjoyed this. I wonder whether the phone box is still there?

  • AlbuqRay's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2008 at 7:10 PM

    I had never heard of Fair Isle but it certainly seems like a relaxing, friendly place unless one decides to take the "work hard" option. The anti-avian stick is interesting. Wonder why it works.

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Jul 15, 2008 at 3:36 PM

    Hi nice to see yr pg thx - i flew in a few yrs back which landing on the tiny strip on what looked like a big rock was an experience in itself - but a special one!and did get to see some old Fair Isle woolly jumpers too!

  • MikeStarr5's Profile Photo
    Dec 9, 2007 at 6:12 PM

    Excellent 5 star tips - Have added Fair Isle to my wish list - Certainly different from where I live in the forgotten but very historic part of London called Barking Town.

  • Trekki's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2007 at 4:12 AM

    Ah so lovely :-)) Working with one of the volunteer groups sounds pretty good ! I'll consider this :-) Haha, are you aware that the Bonxie in your photo looks like a flying sea lion ? And puffins and other animals - just perfect :-)

  • adelaidean's Profile Photo
    Mar 22, 2006 at 7:18 PM

    sounds like a great place to visit..Family life would high on priorites in a place like this..Could teach many a thing or two!!

  • tini58de's Profile Photo
    Mar 19, 2006 at 9:16 AM

    Great update!! I was startled to see "my" telephone booth picture - ha ha - you might have thought the same looking at my page!


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