My little ponies

Lerwick, Shetland Islands

The Shetland Islands are in-the-middle-of-nowhere North Atlantic, placing them directly along the ol’ viking trail. These days the Shetland Islands belong to a different set of barbarians — the Scottish. Even though the islands lie several hundred kilometers north of mainland Scotland, they felt distinctly Scottish. Rugged hills topped with long windswept grasses dropping off into a rocky, often sheer, and intricate coastline, hammered by relentless angry seas. Tiny stone houses dotting the hills, standing stubbornly against the forces of nature. Friendly people wrapped in layers of warm woolen knits. Cozy pubs with scotch and ale. We were immediately reminded of why we loved Scotland so much the first time ’round.

Gymnasts, Murray

Lerwick is both the capital city and the largest city in the Shetland Islands, with a population of ~15,000 people. Our ship was too large to dock in Lerwick harbour so we anchored in the bay just outside and were tendered to shore. We hardly saw a sole walking around the sleepy little town in the morning. Ordinarily it’s a bustling fishing town, the herring capital of the North, but fishing season must have been over. We hopped on a local bus and headed out of town, to the South of the Island, which is where I fell in love.


I fell madly in love with Shetland ponies. I never knew I could love an ungulate so much. I’ve never been horse-inclined, but these things are just the sweetest, cutest things I’ve ever seen. They beat out baby pandas. I’m not so sure they’d beat out baby cheetahs, however. But Shetland ponies are perpetually cute, which you can’t say about many other animals. Oh my little ponies! Aren’t they funny? They’re so small and hearty. We met two of them where we got off the bus. The bus drove across an airport runway, which gives you an idea on how busy the airport actually was, and let us off on the other side.

I love ponies!

After losing my mind over the ponies we walked around for a bit. We saw some viking ruins from a distance and ate a yummy pub lunch at a castle hotel. Then we headed back to Lerwick on the bus through the wonderful countryside. We got off the bus early and walked into town along the coast while we were entertained by giant albatross dive-bomb for fish. The town of Lerwick seemed to wake up a little bit by the afternoon. Before boarding our cruiseship again we went into a small café to spend our leftover British Pounds from London. We had unbelievable cappucinno’s and the friendly barrista gave us a free scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Yum. Scones and ponies: all the more reason to love Scotland.

Lighthouse in Lerwick


  1. Bruce the Moose

  2. A bit of history in Shetland. I believe they were the last part of Scotland yielded by the Norse to Scotland and spoke Norn, a form of old Norse until quite recently. Also I have heard that the Shetland ponies were prized and/or bred by the Vikings as they were best for transporting in their ships, ie they did not take up much space and were hardy.

  3. Debbie Rosen

  4. I feel a little guilty. Here’s Bruce commenting with truly interesting facts about the Shetlands, and all I can think is “one stop closer….one stop closer….”

    Right, Kate? LOL

  5. Mama Kate

  6. Debbie – Bruce is a walking encylopedia – not to worry he is easy to shut-up. I’m thinking the same as you. M&M are now back in Canada. Hopefully we will see them tomorrow.

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