It would be lazy to describe Shetland as beautiful. Instead, its landscapes are often harsh, harsh, and challenging—and in winter, even more harsh. But that’s why I love it so much and why I come back again and again. I’d rather be on a whirlpool beach, completely alone, than on a warm beach with a thousand other people.
Pandemic or not, silence is golden. For a few days, at least, the wind, rain, moon, and stars had the power not only to calm, but to heal.
How do I do it
Loganair (0344800 2855; loganair.co.uk) flies direct from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Inverness.
On the mainland of Shetland, the Lerwick Hotel (01595 692166; shetlandhotels.com) is open all winter and serves hearty evening meals and a good breakfast.
Busta House (01806 522506; bustahouse.com) is a rustic 16th-century heap with a lively bar, and Hayhoull B&B (01950 422206; beandb Breakfastshetland.co.uk) is just 15 minutes from Sumburgh Airport.
On Unst, Mailersta B&B (01957 755344; shetlandvisitor.com/mailersta-bb) is a five-minute drive from Belmont Ferry Terminal.
5 ways to make the most of winter
From seals to snowdrops and snowy landscapes, Britain has a lot to offer
Chasing storms in Wales
Pembrokeshire gets gusty winds on an average of 30 days each year, with some of the biggest storms making landfall between January and March. Storm Barra delivered winds of 86 mph to the Gower Peninsula as recently as December, but the Lynn Peninsula was shaken by 109 mph winds in 2013.
Discover snowdrops in Gloucestershire
The first spring blossoms transform the frigid banks of Rococo Garden in Banswick into an undulating sea of bright white and fresh green. About five million snowdrops appear towards the end of January, including rare species, such as the double-shaped and Galanthus nivalis ‘Atkinsii’ – a large species with petals resembling pearl dangling earrings.