Surrounding the red sandy bay which gives the place its Norse name, Reawick is a small, friendly crofting settlement in the West Mainland.
It’s an excellent base from which to explore the rest of Shetland and its many islands. Reawick is fairly central and close to the A970 that takes you in to Lerwick – about 35 minutes in the car or 24 miles away – and down to Sumburgh around 50 miles away.
Reawick beach is made of red granite sand (the geology is noteworthy) and the water is crystal clear, safe to swim and very cold! The single track road is quiet with hardly any traffic. Houses are scattered in a broad arc around the bay with Reawick House, the 18th century ‘haa’ (laird’s house), at the centre.
The beach is just 200 metres from the house where you can see fulmars, oystercatchers and gannets. Bird-watching is effortless in Shetland and it’s also a fantastic place to see otters, Atlantic grey seals and harbour seals, and larger marine mammals like orca (killer whales) – which have even been seen in pods from the shore at Reawick. Don’t leave the house without binoculars!
There’s a lovely Post Office at the North Wart and Reawick Church is just over the hill. Skeld is the next settlement to the west and has a marina, cafe and cheese shop. The nearest (licensed) grocer is in Bixter on the main A970, seven miles away, with a Post Office and petrol pumps.
There’s a stunning coastal walk sign-posted from Reawick to Deepdale Voe with dramatic sea views along the cliffs and signs of the resident otter’s breakfast along the burn.
Shetland contains an abundance of wildlife, archaeology, Norse history, amazing geology (it’s a National Geopark), vibrant culture, stunning empty beaches, traditional and contemporary crafts (especially knitwear), boat-building, fishing, crofting, art and design, and of course traditional music.
Exploring some of the islands of this far north archipelago will give you an insight into just how much goes on here, and yet how restful it can be.