Fair Isle

59°32’.30N 001°36’.30W
Because of its location, Fair Isle is the ideal stop for those travelling by sea to Shetland
Contact Name Jimmy Stout
Telephone +44 (0) 1595 760 222
Email j.w.stout@btinternet.com

Fair Isle is a beautiful island 6km long by 3km wide. Its 70 inhabitants live mostly at the south end, a walk of about 3km from the beautiful sandy harbour at the north. When at the south, visitors can enjoy the small museum, see traditional Fair Isle knitting and visit the well-stocked local shop. There is also opportunity to view the construction of spinning wheels and straw backed chairs.

Near the harbour is the newly completed Fair Isle Lodge - world famous since 1948 as a bird observatory - here one can get a talk by a skilled ornithologist on the work which they do, along with a demonstration of ringing, weighing and measuring of birds. Meals, bar facilities, toilets and shower facilities are all available at the Lodge. Internet access is also available.
Comprehensive weather briefings available.

Quay Capability

Class A No
Class B Yes
Class C & D Yes

Port Facilities

Anchorage Yes
Berthing Depth 5m
Pilot Available No
Tug Available No

Distances in Nautical Miles - Greenock 450 Lerwick 40

Harbour Conditions

  • Quay - Length 50m • Depth 5m
  • Tidal Considerations 1.5 - 1.7m rise/fall
  • Safe anchorage for larger vessels in Bay of Furse just outside harbour

Further Port Information

Stop by for the real Fair Isle experience

For the adventurous, a trip to the stunning island of Fair Isle to celebrate the arrival of the Tall Ships as they stop off en-route from Orkney to Lerwick is an absolute must.

This gem of an island, which is just 5km long by 3km wide, may be small, but it certainly packs a punch with its stunning coastline, dramatic cliffs, beaches and outstanding birdlife.

Once here, you may never want to leave, as the local community are gearing up for an eventful two days (18 – 19 July) to showcase the island’s rich cultural heritage, as they welcome a number of Tall Ships and their crews ashore. Take part, enjoy the atmosphere, and, above all, bask in the warm welcome that awaits you.

Day events

Activities organised for the two days aim to give visitors a real taste of the culture, history and wildlife of Fair Isle.

  • Tours: to the Museum and Lighthouse – with an experienced guide
  • Guided walks/talks: learn about the local archaeology, meteorology, wild flowers, spinning wheels, traditional yoals and Fair Isle chairs
  • Fair Isle Bird Observatory – a fascinating walk to the world-renowned observatory for a talk and slide show
  • Football matches – get into the competitive spirit and choose a team to support as Fair Isle takes on the ‘Rest of the World’!

Throughout the two days the Community Hall will be open, offering snacks and lunch. A rolling slideshow will also be showcased as well as a photo gallery. Take the opportunity to discover and buy the many local crafts, including the famous knitwear, for which the islanders are renowned.

Children’s workshops

There’s plenty for the children to enjoy too. A two-day filming and music workshop with artist and musician, Conrad Ivitsky, is lined up, where budding creatives are invited to put together a short ‘Sagas and Sea Lanes’ film, exploring their response to the visiting ships.

Fair Isle to Tall Ships barter

A real highlight will be witnessing the locals as they bring to life an important part of the Fair Isle history as they ‘barter’ with the passing vessels. Watch this exciting cultural exchange as hand-knitted keps [traditional Fair Isle fishermen’s hats], fresh produce and postcards from the school are exchanged with the international crews.

Evening events

As the sun begins to set, the party spirit will continue with a barbecue, dancing, singing and socialising. Soak up the atmosphere, chat to locals and fellow travellers and reflect on your experiences of the day, whilst enjoying the rich sounds of musicians and the Inge Thomson band as they play into the night.

For further information on events, accommodation and transport to and from the island please contact:

Community organiser: James Stout
E: j.w.stout@btinternet.com
T: +44 (0)1595 760222

Available For Crews


  • Guided trips arranged by Fair Isle
  • Lodge warden - birds, flowers, archaeology, weather etc
  • Swimming
  • Barbeque, local music, beach party with licensed bar
  • Excellent seabirds, especially puffin colonies
  • Interesting museum
  • Football - Fair Isle v Rest of the World

Sports Facilities

General Facilities

  • Fresh water
  • Showers and toilets available at Fair Isle
  • Lodge - 200m from harbour
  • Meals/Bar facilities at Fair Isle Lodge
  • General store in village area - 2 miles from harbour