Walk: Seals on show at Muckle Roe

Shetland | Muckle Roe | Full day walk | ★★★

[View north over the Hams from the abandoned buildings at Burg - most of the coastal part of the walk is visible here]

Muckle Roe (Big Red Island) is a nearly uninhabited island connected to the Shetland mainland near Brae by a short bridge over Roe Sound. A minor road follows the east coast but the most interesting scenery is on the quiet western side around the Hams of Muckle Roe - rusty-colour cliffs and sea stacks alternating with small beaches make this area a delight, frequented by numerous seals and the odd breeding seabird in summer. Look out for the ruined buildings and mill above Town Loch (and later at Burg); the former are all that remain of an abandoned crofting settlement overlooking the water here. Getting there over the moorland interior of the island is tough and pathless, but well worth the effort.

[Shags and cormorants nesting on one of North Ham's cliffs]

📌 Walk: Seals on show at Muckle Roe ★★★
Start / finish at car park (accessed by half a mile of gravel track) at Scarfataing Cemerery, Muckle Roe, G.R.: HU 333642 ///knees.fast.ferrets

▶ 12 km / 7 mi | ▲ 570 m | ⌚ Full day | Tough
Features: △ South Ward (169 m); △ Mid Ward (172 m, sub-2000'); Mill Loch; Hams of Muckle Roe; Burki Waters
Terrain: Mostly pathless, occasionally boggy moorland, although with faint paths near coast and track between coast and Burki Waters.

Route & map

Car park - South Ward - Mid Ward - North Ward - Mill Loch - Town Loch - Swabi Stack - Big Geo of Stromness via Muckle Roe coastline - Burn of Cooses at G.R.: HU 305654 - Burki Waters - South Ward - return to start by outward route (or similar)


Route credit: Shetland.org

On our visit

Wildlife: Eider ducks and lots of seals at South Ham; cormorants and shags nesting at North Ham; sheep, geese and other seabirds.
Weather: Mostly cloudy with low cloud on South Ward, but dry with occasional brighter spells later on. Fairly light winds, cool.

[The coastline around North Ham boasts spectacular rock stacks and natural arches]

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