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Lerwick Cruises

Lerwich town centre under blue sky, Scotland
Lerwich town centre under blue sky, Scotland

Sturdy Lerwick is the friendly capital of the 100 islands and islets of the Shetland Islands. The bustling, cosmopolitan seaport is the islands’ only town, and its wonderful natural harbour is a joy to explore.

Until the 1600s, Leir Vik – Norse for a muddy bay – was little more than a few huts. However, conflict between the British and Dutch (whose fishing fleet fished for herrings off the islands) led to the building of a permanent settlement. This included Fort Charlotte, which once overlooked the harbour but has now been enclosed by the town following land reclamation.

Despite the wealth created by North Sea oil, modern Lerwick retains many fascinating small shops and historic buildings. Wandering along atmospheric Commercial St. is a delight, and the Böd of Gremista – a “fishing booth” built in 1780, is now a fascinating museum. The ground floor has the salt store and the kitchen, where herrings were hung to dry. Outside the town are the well preserved remains of the Broch of Clickimin, a small Bronze-Age settlement excavated in the last century.

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