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Monday, September 15, 2014

Hermaness National Nature Reserve

As Scotland goes to the polls this week to decide whether it remains part of the UK, it is interesting to focus on The Shetland Islands, that only became part of Scotland in 1468.

Fulmar, Hermaness National Nature Reserve
One of the most beautiful parts of The Shetland Islands is Hermaness, the most northerly headland of Unst, the northernmost inhabited island of The Shetland Islands.

Great Skuas (Bonxie), The Shetland Islands, Scotland
Great Skua
Designated in 1955 as a National Nature Reserve, Hermaness remains privately owned by the Edmondston family, and is world famous for its birds.

Lots of birds, including breeding colonies of Fulmars, Gannets, Great Skuas (Bonxie), Guillemots, Kittiwakes, Puffins and Shags.

Gannet, Scotland
The numbers of birds is amazing. Over 25,000 pairs of Puffins breed in the Hermaness area every year, part of the total of 100,000 breeding sea birds in the summer months. The Gannets in Hermaness represent 5% of the entire European population of the birds.

Puffin, Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland
Allow 3-4 hours for walking in the area. Access is unrestricted but please follow the marked paths to preserve this unique environment. The cliff-top setting is amazingly beautiful but also hazardous, especially in bad weather. Please take care near any drops and of damaging the delicate bog areas, though part of the path is covered with a boardwalk.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland

The summer months in Hermaness National Nature Reserve are noted for their beautiful flowers and plants including bog bilberry, crowberry, heather and mosses. Seals can often be spotted on the rocks below the cliffs.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland

Muckle Flugga Lighthouse is a local landmark and is Britain's most northerly lighthouse and dates from 1854, constructed to protect shipping during the Crimean War.

Hermaness National Nature Reserve, Scotland

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