Scotland - Shetland Isles

top 10 places

Top 100 places to visit in Scotland

6. Fair Isle

Top 10 ten places to visit in Scotland - The Shetland Isles

Fair Isle

Fair Isle 
Famous for its birds, knitwear and historic shipwrecks, Fair Isle is a tiny jewel of an island, half-way between Orkney and Shetland, owned by the National Trust for Scotland. Just 5km long and 3km wide, the isle's impressive cliffs rise to almost 200 metres on the west coast.

The 70 or so islanders mostly live at the more fertile southern end. The hilly northern part is largely moorland. Fair Isle's 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 thick fog next morning.

Fair Isle Knitwear
The term 'Fair Isle Knitting' is now used worldwide but this unique style developed on Fair Isle long ago, when local knitters discovered that fine yarns stranded into a double layer produce durable, warm, and lightweight garments.

For hundreds of years the demand for hand-knits kept Fair Isle women busy. Islanders traded with passing ships, bartering home-made textiles and fresh produce for goods they couldn't make themselves.

Today the only source of the genuine article in the world is still Fair Isle, where a small co-operative - Fair Isle Crafts - produces traditional and contemporary sweaters on hand-frame machines, quality-controlled and labelled with Fair Isle's own trade mark.

W  Fair Isle

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