In Scotlands' remote northern Shetland Island lays a long-forgotten tiny island called Mousa. It has been uninhabited because the nineteenth century and it is famous for the Broch of Mousa – a large Iron Age round tower (the best preserved in Scotland).
Even more remote, Scotland's Orkney Islands boast some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic ruins in Europe dating back 5,000 years ago. There are lots of ancient archeological sites dotted around The uk – Stonehenge isn't the only mysterious stone circle in these isles.
About The Shetland's Mousa Island
Mousa Island can also be noted for more modern ruins too to be designated a unique Protection Position for its storm-petrel breeding colonies.
- Population: 0 – Uninhabited Since The 19th Century
Mousa is situated just off the east coast of Mainland Shetland and it is almost split in 2 by inlets. This tiny island is just around 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) long and merely within mile (1.6 kilometers) at its maximum width. The soil is fertile and supports a rich diversity of plants and it has herb-rich grassland despite the harsh sea winds and sheep grazing.
- Name: Old Norse for Moss Island
The only way to the island is by boat and there's one company offering regular sailings and tours of the isle. They provide their Daytime Island Trip, their Late Evening Storm Petrel Trip, as well as their Short Cruises around the local waters. There isn't any accommodation around the island.
The Iron Age Preserved Mousa Broch
The Mousa Broch is the greatest preserved of those mysterious Scottish Iron Age structures. Brochs are found only in Scotland and in the greatest concentration within the Shetland and Orkney Island and also the Scottish Highlands.
It is among a pair of brochs guarding the Mousa Sound, another one is at Burland on the main island but is far less well preserved. These consequently might have been a part of a large chain of brochs in this part of Shetland (they've already been employed for defensive purposes). These brochs could have been visible from one another as beacons. There remains much to be understood concerning the role that these brochs had.
The broch at Mousa may be the only broch today that survives more or less at its full height. Fortunately, it managed to escape being pilfered because of its stone as most other structures suffered. The stone was often accustomed to build stone walls and croft houses.
The broch of Mousa is some 15 meters (yards) wide in the base only 6 meters (yards) within the interior due to the huge thickness from the walls in the base. Within these walls is really a selection of chambers that were probably employed for storage.
Archeologists are still trying to puzzle out what Scottish Brochs were for – they have been dubbed the Iron Age “skyscrapers of Scotland”.
Daytime Island Trip
Embark on their own boat called Mousa Boat. This trip begins at the historic Sandsayre pier. Sail to Mousa and revel in a fascinating and memorable trip around the island.
The main attraction is the Iron Age Mousa Broch, but additionally the RSPB Nature Reserve and residential to many breeding wildlife, colonies of seals, and birds along with other more contemporary ruins.
- When: Daily (Except Saturday) From April 1st towards the End of September
- Times: Depart 11.30 am, Return 2.30 pm
- Booking: Advanced Booking Are Not Required for The Daily Mousa Island Trip
- Note: All Sailings Are Weather Dependent
- Fare: Adult lb18.00 ($24.00); Children Aged 5 to 16 – lb8.00 ($11.00)
If the first is visiting Shetland, don't leave this to the last day as the crossing is weather dependent and one could miss out.
Storm Petrel Dusk Trip
One from the main attractions on this island is its storm petrels. This tiny island hosts the largest colony of storm petrels in the United Kingdom – with around 12,000 pairs.
- Storm Petrel Colony: The Largest In the uk
- Population: Around 12,000 Pairs
- Range: They Breed On Rodent-Free Islands From Iceland towards the Canary Islands
In addition, there are more iconic northerly seabirds including Arctic and great skuas, Arctic terns and black guillemots, as well as both grey and customary seals, and otters.
European storm petrels feed far out to sea throughout the day and just come ashore to their breeding colonies underneath the cover of darkness. In the winter they migrate south and spend the season roaming the seas off southern Africa.
On Mousa, several hundred pairs of those birds also nest within the stone walls of the famous Iron Age broch. They have nocturnal and burrow-nesting habits.
- Total British Isles Population: 83,000 pairs in 95 Surveyed Colonies
- Season: From Late May to Mid July
During the season, it's possible to go on the boat visit to witness the stunning spectacle of storm petrels flying around the broch and hear their eerie cacophony of calls.
- Booking: Required
- Fare: Adult lb30.00 ($40.00)