Lerwick & Shetland Islands

May 20, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

The final outing of our expedition before setting sail for Bergen, Norway, was a visit to the archeological site known as Jarlshof, which tells the rich and far-reaching story of more than 5,000 years of human occupation in the South Shetlands. Though Scottish in a contemporary sense, the Shetland Islands were under Norse influence longer than they’ve been Scottish. Reaching back thousands of years into the Neolithic Age, these islands are truly a tapestry of human history. Considered one of the most significant archeological sites in Britain, Jarlshof is a virtual time machine one can stroll through and be swept away through the ages.

Prior to reaching Jarlshof, we made a scenic stop near Sumburgh Head for views of the seabird cliffs, teeming with northern fulmar, kittiwake, common guillemot, razorbill auk, and of course, puffin. One group of intrepid guests opted to make a dramatic entrance to Jarlshof by descending Sumburgh Head on foot and following the seashore, taking time to photograph and enjoy the dramatic seascape. By the end of the morning, we departed with a greater appreciation for deep and lasting roots laid down here by our predecessors.

We spent the remainder of the day with our bearings fixed north toward the port of Bergen, where we’ll conclude this extraordinary voyage.

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About the Author

Doug Gualtieri


Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For over seven years he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park.

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Sarah Culler

Video Chronicler

Sarah was raised on a multi-generational family dairy farm, established circa 1815 in Lucas, Ohio. Consequently, her first paying job was milking cows! Rewarding as it was to get paid for the first time, she found her passion behind the lens of a camera. Growing up on the farm gave her not only a strong work ethic but also the love of nature and being outdoors. 

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