Monday, July 16, 2012

Ready or not?

Some of you have probably heard of Shetland ponies and Shetland sheepdogs and perhaps Shetland wool.  But do you actually know where the Shetland Islands are located?

If you are a family member, a friend, or a member of the writing community that has had a conversation with me you're probably saying, "Yes, Liz, you've spouted off enough facts that it's dripping out of our ears.  Please move on to another interest.  You're obsessed."

Well, for those of you who are still reading...
The Shetland Islands lie 110 miles northeast of Scotland.  They are farther north of the Orkney Islands which are also property of Scotland.  Some say that the Shetland Islands are nearly equidistant between Scotland and Norway, which appears to be true when you look at a map.  The Shetland Islands are southwest of Norway. You can now see why it was the first stop for the Vikings even though it is not as well known as Iceland for being a Viking settlement.

There are about 100 islands that span 567 square miles with a population of a little over 22,000.  This is a fraction of the population of Eagan, the city in which I live.  Only 16 of those islands are inhabited.

There is so much to see if you are interested in geology, archaeology, nature, marine animals, birds, etc.  I will be only making it to two islands: the mainland and Unst.  The three main sites outside of my class that I look forward to seeing are Sumburgh Head, which is a nature reserve, Jarlshof, which is an ancient Viking settlement, and the Shetland Museum.  These are locations for my middle grade novel and places I have been dreaming about seeing in person for years.  I hope I can fit a few other sites into my journey along the way as I stumble across them.

If you are still interested in learning more about the Shetland Islands take a look at the following sites:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shetland_islands

http://visit.shetland.org/

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