Island Trails News Update - January 2024

A New Year

We are into another year and I already have lots of bookings for tours in 2024, I will be running both private and small group tours in my minibus which can take up to 8 passengers.     See the walks and tours page for more info on some of my tours.

Along with tour guiding I also keep sheep and that means I have to take time out for lambing!  Here in Shetland lambing is from late April to early May so unfortunately no tours at that time.    My main tour guiding season is from the middle of May to early October, with more limited availability during the winter.

Tours for Up-Helly-Aa visitors

January in Shetland means Up-Helly-Aa, a spectacular event culminating in a torch lit procession and the burning of a replica viking longship.  There are several of these festivals in different parts of Shetland which take place from January to March.   The Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa is the original festival and always takes place on the last Tuesday of Janaury.   It now atracts many visitors to Lerwick which becomes a very busy place for few days!

I will be offering day tours around the time of Up-Helly-Aa for visitors who would like to get out and about from Lerwick for a few hours and see some of the sights.  No tour on the big day itself ( Tuesday 30th) as there is plenty to see in Lerwick.     Of course these tours will be dependant on the January weather and the itinerary may change due to the conditions on the day.

Available Tour Dates:

Sat 27th, Mon 29th & Wed 31st January.  Thurs 1st & Fri 2nd February.

Tour Route:  South Mainland & Scalloway

Tour highlights include:

Jarlshof archaeological site (including remains of Viking longhouses.)

View St. Ninian’s Isle & shell sand tombolo.

Scalloway museum (open on Monday, Wednesday & Thursday.)

View the site of Shetland’s old Norse / Viking Parliament at Tingwall.

Each day we’ll see Shetland ponies and Shetland sheep  and hear stories from Shetland’s history & folklore.  A lunch stop will be included.

Starting each day 9.30am at the Tourist info Centre,  Commercial Street, Lerwick and returning 4.30pm (approx).

Please note with a small group I can be flexible on the day to focus on what people most want to see.

Cost £80 per person (based on a minimum group of 3)

Price does not include entrance fees & lunch.

Limited spaces  - prior booking essential! 

Here are some useful links to find out more about about Up-Helly-Aa........

The offical Up-Helly-Aa website:

From Promote Shetland:


Thank you for reading my January news update.

James Tait,  Island Trails.