Shetland, insular co. of Scotland, 50 miles NE. of Orkney, 352,876 ac., pop. 29,705; Mainland, pop. 20,821; it consists of about 100 islands, 29 of which are inhabited - Mainland Shetland which is the largest, Yell, Unst, Fetlar, Whalsay, and Bressay . Mainland Shetland comprises of more than half the area of the whole group, extends N. and S. for 54 miles, and has an extreme, breadth of 21 miles, but the coast-line is so irregular and deeply indented that no spot is 4 miles from the sea. The surface of Shetland is generally bleak and moorish, and rises to a maximum alt. of 1475 ft., but only in a few places higher than 500 ft. The rock scenery around the coasts is exceedingly grand and interesting. The climate is humid and comparatively mild, but severe storms are frequent."
from John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles 1887.
The Shetland Isles are the most northerly of Britain's islands. The capital, Lerwick, is nearer to Norway than Edinburgh and the Scandinavian influence permeates the Shetland heritage. The annual Up Helly Aa fire festival, involving the ritual burning of a Viking longship, is just part of that heritage.
Scalloway (Old Norse:Skálavágr - "bay with the large house(s)") is the largest settlement on the North Atlantic coast of Mainland, Shetland with a population of approximately 812, at the 2001 census. Until 1708 it was the capital of the Shetland Islands, now Lerwick, on the east coast of the Shetland Mainland.
LERWICK is the main town and capital of Shetland and dates from the 17th century. Its name comes from the Norse ‘Leirvik’ meaning ‘muddy bay’
There are over a hundred islands whose history dates back to Neolithic times, long before the Viking influence arrived in 800 AD. The archaeological sites at Mousa Broch, Clickimin Broch and Jarlshof date as far back as 3000 BC.