Unst Boat Haven : A Unique Look Into the Past

Unst forms part of the Shetland Islands in Scotland and is known for its magnificent cliffs and endless grasslands. But there is more to Unst then just its spectacular natural wonders, there are many attractions such as Muness Castle, Hermaness National Nature Reserve and the Unst Boat Haven. The Unst Boat Haven is located near the Haroldswick Shop and is one of the most rewarding attractions in Unst. Within the walls of this museum, are the memories and history of the fishing industry of the Shetlands.

When visitors walk into the Unst Boat Haven, they will walk into a beach, where the boats lie patiently, beached on the sand, waiting for the fishermen to return, while others lie in calm shallow waters. The boxes and equipment lie alongside the boats as if deserted by the men in hurry, and the atmosphere makes one feel that, at any moment now, the fishermen will come back. But the life size display is merely a reminder of the days when fishing was the main industry and locals lived by the rules of the ocean.

The boats in the museum date back from between the 1860’s to the 1960’s and include rare fishing boats such as whillies, yoals, sixareens and model boats. Most fishermen, in Unst and around the Shetland Islands, fished for ling, whitefish or cod. They used the smaller vessels to fish closer to shore and the larger boats to venture to deeper waters. Larger boats would be propelled either by oarsmen or by sail. Unst Boat Haven holds a wonderful collection of most of the boats. There is also a magnificent shell collection, fishing gear exhibits, photographs, tools, documents and other valuable historical information and artifacts. In the blacksmith’s workshop, visitors will be able to see how boats were constructed, maintained and repaired.

There is ample parking available at the museum, and disabled visitors are welcome to explore the facility, as is it wheelchair accessible, with facilities that can accommodate wheelchairs as well. Anyone who visits Scotland should make the trip to Unst, and the Unst Boat Haven. It is not only of historical significance, but is unique in every way.