57. Day 25 in Shetland: Hermaness Nature Reserve Puffinpalooza!

From the moment I started planning my trip to Shetland, I knew I would want to spend as much time as I could at Hermaness Nature Reserve. It is world-renowned for its breeding colonies of gannets and puffins, and also as the northenmost tip of the northernmost island in the UK. Muckle Flugga, the lighthouse off its coast, is the northernmost lighthouse in the UK. (Here are some additional photos and information about Muckle Flugga, as I wasn’t able to get very good photos for obvious reasons!) Everything is the edge of the world here at 60 degrees (plus change) north.

There is a wonderful walkway to the cliff’s edge, with a couple of choices (long walk or shorter walk). We chose the long walk on this day. While the walkway does take one over some of the boggiest bits of the trails up, we still had plenty to deal with once we departed the walkway.

My most northernmost husband!
His most northernmost wife.
Muckle Flugga in the distance. Very overcast day, as you can see. It didn’t really lighten up.
Some boggy but blessedly bonxie-free walking.
I loved this relaxing ewe and her twins. You can really see the ruggedness of the rocks upon which the lighthouse was built!
A hint of blue in the sky. But alas, that was about all we saw.
My first Hermaness puffin! and a very deep geo.
There were quite a few breeding pairs on this hillside.
Design for living, puffin-style.
There’s a bit of flapping action in this video. You can mute for wind sound.
I love seeing the gannets nesting in the background, especially such a healthy colony.
So many puffins! It was such a thrill to see so many at once.
Lots of waddling and flying in this one. Windy!
Beautiful waves crashing and gannets in flight, as well as really cute puffins.
Ich bin hier, und da sind meine Papageientaucher
Me and my puffins. Mine. My puffins.
My award-winning photo (in my mind). Puffin with gannet in flight.
Puffin communing with me.
Me and David, gleeful.
Lunch break with puffin observer.
Puffin pair, with gannet backdrop.
Again, I love the gannet backdrop.
They all live together. Room for everybody.
Yep, that’s a big pile o’ sheepshit! Keeps the grass green. This video more for the gannets in flight in the background.
Their home. These cliffs and rocks.
This video is mostly to show off Shetland’s northern coast.
As is this photo. And my fine partner, of course.
Another bustling colony, with bonus waterfall.
A puffin-dotted hillside.
Loved this little hunkering-down guy.
A confab at the waterfall.
With bonus rabbit!!
More of their habitat.
Just breathtaking….
The last few puffins before heading back.
Bye guys! See you soon!
It’s always a little alarming to see the sheep and lambs so close to the cliff’s edge. But dis little one was being pretty cute!
The water. The cliffs. All of it, just stunning.
With his bonxie stick!
Yep. Uh huh. This happened, too!

Hermaness didn’t only NOT disappoint, it exceeded all expectations. I mean, I knew there’d be puffins and gannets, but I wasn’t expecting such an intimate experience with the puffins; and I was so pleased to see the healthy colony of gannets after seeing so many dead ones over the course of my stay in Shetland. I was especially happy that my partner had such a grand time!

23 June, 2022.


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