A Jewel in the Ocean
Famous for birds, knitwear and
historic shipwrecks, Fair Isle is a tiny jewel of an island lying half-way between Orkney
Well-known as one of the sea-areas on
the BBC Shipping Forecast "...... Fair Isle, southerly gale force eight
increasing severe gale force nine soon ....." the island offers a warm and
friendly welcome to visitors.
Owned by the
National Trust for
Scotland, its one of Britain's most successful small communities, pioneering
projects in wildlife tourism, windpower and sustainable management of the environment.
Fair Isle lies about
40 km south-west
of Sumburgh Head. Just 5km long and 3 km wide, its mostly surrounded by impressive
cliffs, rising to over 100 metres at the spectacular Sheep Rock and almost 200 metres
along the heavily indented west coast.
The 70 or so islanders mostly live in
traditional crofts on the more fertile and low-lying southern third of the island. The
northern part is largely rough grazing and rocky moorland, rising to the 217 metre Ward
Fair Isles oceanic climate
brings stormy but fairly mild winters, while summer visitors can expect rapid changes in
the weather: A day of sparkling sunshine and incredible visibility can easily be followed
by one off thick mist and low cloud.