The beautiful Mousa Sound is your destination on this tour, where you will enjoy the vast variety of wildlife that makes this area their habitat, as well as seeing a working farm and ancient castle.
This unique and exploratory tour begins by traveling south from Lerwick to the small community of Sandwick where you will meet up with Tom Jamieson. Tom has been the owner-skipper of the Mousa ferry for the past 31 years and knows the Mousa Sound and its wildlife extremely well. During your ferry crossing to Mousa Island, Tom will share with you the history of the area, illustrated with old photographs. He will also be delighted to point out any sightings of porpoises or seals. Mousa Sound is one of Scotland's most important sites for the threatened Harbor Porpoise. Locally known as Neesicks, the animals are present between May and September, taking advantage of the abundant food supply of sand eels, herring and mackerel found in these waters.
The short ferry ride will transport you to the tranquil and picturesque island of Mousa, home to the world-famous Iron Age Broch. Mousa Broch is a stone-built castle over 2,000 years old, standing 43 feet high. On your walk around the island, take the chance to explore the beehive chambers and many galleries while marveling at the workmanship of the Iron Age builders. Those who wish may climb the internal stair to admire the panoramic views of the island and gaze across to the ruins of the Broch of Burraland on the Mainland.
Mousa's abundant wildlife makes it one of the best locations in Shetland to watch the shy, but nosey Common and Grey seals. Large numbers of seals bask around the island's shallow pools, and with luck, a quick eye and a silent foot, you may even glimpse a bashful otter. The island is also famous for its abundance of breeding seabirds, including hundreds of graceful Artic Terns, Artic Skuas and their larger relatives, the Great Skua which sometimes will swoop very close when defending their nests. The fragile looking Artic Terns are considered some of nature's greatest travelers; they can live up to 25 years and in that time, fly the equivalent of the distance to the moon. Mousa is also home to around 6,000 pairs of tiny, nocturnal Storm Petrels.
While Mousa is an island full of history and a natural sanctuary for wildlife, it is also part of a working farm. You are welcome to walk around the island courtesy of the landowner and farmer before leaving to return to Lerwick.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 1 3/4 hours of walking at, at times over uneven ground on Mousa Island and there may also be some inclines to negotiate. The tour is not considered suitable for wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing and flat, comfortable sneakers or rubber-soled walking shoes are recommended. Guests should be prepared for the possibility of rain. Wildlife sightings are not guaranteed.