The Shetlands are a mosaic of over a hundred islands where land and water blend. The most northerly part of the British Isles, it is inhabited by approximately 22,000 people and an abundance of wildlife. It is a land shaped by the sea from dramatic sculptured cliffs to tranquil sandy bays. The delightful and inquisitive Shetland pony will come looking for food as your tour bus stops wherever possible for photos. The shaggy coats and flowing manes of the ponies equip them to withstand severe weather conditions; they have been in the Shetlands since at least Viking times. Then, travel south to visit Jarlshof. A violent storm in 1905 uncovered this remarkable archaeological site, revealing remains from the Stone Age and settlements from the Bronze and Iron Ages. The name Jarlshof, or "Laird's House", refers to the community of the Norse Jarls that resided here in the 7th century. You'll be able to independently explore the remains of these village settlements, sprawled over a low green promontory by the sea. Your tour continues the short distance to the small historic village of Hoswick and a visit to the Hoswick Visitor Center. Here, you can have an understanding of the history and culture of the Shetlands from the interpretive displays and by watching the traditional knitting skills of the islanders. There is also the opportunity to purchase an original Shetland garment from the wide variety of cashmere or lamb wool items on sale in the knitwear shop. You'll also see the small agricultural areas where sheep farming is important. Furthermore, see the distinctive black and brown Shetland sheep grazing in pastures enclosed by neat dry-stone walls, and small communities where peat is still used to heat homes. Your return to Lerwick will be across moorland.
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