Walk: Deep Dale - Shetland's wild west

Shetland Mainland | Dale of Walls | Full day walk | ★★★

[View north from near Coppa Wick]

Way out west where nobody goes, there's a deep, deep dale and spectacular geos. The relentless ups and downs of the coastline north from Mu Ness make for tough going, but the reward is a magnificent series of stacks, arches and huge cliffs plunging into the Atlantic Ocean. Even by Shetland's high standards coastlines don't get much more spectacular than this, but the effort required to reach it ensures peace and quiet. A very steep descent to and re-ascent out of Deep Dale is unavoidable if you opt for the moorland return via Ramna Vord, Sandness Hill and Dale Hill, but here sea stacks are replaced by skuas and mountain hare amongst the peat bogs. Surprisingly, this makes for easier going than the outward route.

[The remote Bay of Deepdale isn't quite visited on this route - it's a treacherous descent on unreliable sheep tracks]

Location & info

📌 Walk: Deep Dale - Shetland's wild west ★★★
Start / finish at minor road junction, Dale of Walls, Shetland Mainland, G.R.: HU 181525 ///incoming.home.baths
❌ No public transport within 1 mi | 🚗 Space for a few cars at junction - park responsibly

▶ 11 km / 7 mi | ▲ 630 m | ⌚ Full day
Features: Mu Ness to Deep Dale coastline; △ Sandness Hill (249 m, sub-2000'); △ Dale Hill (184 m)
Tough | Track to Voe of Dale, then intermittent coastal paths to Banks Head, steep and wet in places. Moorland return is pathless on grass and peat bog.

Route: Start - Mu Ness - Coppa Wick - Sel Ayre - Deep Dale (burn, not bay) - Banks Head - Ramna Vord - Sandness Hill - Dale Hill - Blouk Field - bridge across Burn of Dale at G.R.: HU 183527 - start

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On our visit

Wildlife: Numerous great skua and mountain hare on the hills; sheep along coast and on descent to finish.
Weather: Heavy rain shower at the start, then dry with sunshine increasingly coming through; moderate winds, temperature in low teens.

[Peat bogs on the moorland return are home to mountain hare and skua - still plenty of interest here]


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