At the main gate of Buness, Baltasound
Baltasound shown within Shetland
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|UK Parliament||Orkney and Shetland|
Baltasound is the largest settlement on the island of Unst in Shetland. Unst is the most northerly inhabited island in the United Kingdom. The village lies halfway along the island's east coast on a sheltered bay called Balta Sound.
Baltasound was formerly the most important herring port in Shetland, in 1902 its catch exceeded that of the Shetland capital Lerwick. The herring trade declined rapidly after 1905 but the physical remains of the herring boom remained long after.
Baltasound was the home of the noted Victorian botanist Thomas Edmondston, who was born at Buness House where his uncle, also called Thomas was the laird. A memorial stone erected outside the house by the elder Thomas Edmondston commemorates scientific studies undertaken there by the French physicist Jean-Baptiste Biot. http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/203253/details/unst+baltasound+buness+memorial+stone/
Baltasound can also lay claim to the most northerly "wood" in the British Isles, although it is not very substantial.
Many of Baltasound's current amenities hold the record for the most northerly in the UK:
- Airport - Baltasound Airport - Airport code UNT, runway length 2,099 feet (640 m)., currently only used by emergency services.
- Leisure Centre
- School - Baltasound Junior High School
- Hotel - The Baltasound Hotel
- Post Office - Baltasound Post Office is now the most northerly post office. For many years this record was held by the post office at Haroldswick until its closure in 1999.
- The Unst Bus Shelter, also known as Bobby's Bus Shelter, is a famous bus shelter and bus stop near the village. It is maintained by the Shetland Islands Council.
Baltasound is home to the most Northerly Met Office weather station in the United Kingdom. Despite its isolated location, as with the rest of the British Isles, Baltasound experiences a maritime climate, albeit a very pronounced one, with particularly cool summers and mild winters. Its extreme northerly location combined with frequently overcast skies lead to very low levels of sunshine during the winter months - December will average just under 15 and a half minutes of sunshine daily.
Baltasound also holds the record for both highest and lowest (reliable) temperatures readings in the Shetland Islands; 25.0 °C (77.0 °F) during July 1958, and −11.9 °C (10.6 °F) during February 2001. This suggests that despite the absence of a close landmass allowing for the advection of extreme temperatures, Baltasound's north-facing location results in a Fohn effect induced by hills to the south.
|Climate data for Baltasound 24m asl, 1961-1990|
|Average high °C (°F)||5.4
|Average low °C (°F)||1.0
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||136
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||16.7||43.9||77.3||130.9||151.1||154.7||124.9||129.1||90.4||58.3||24.7||8.0||1,010|
|Source: Met Office|
- Hudson, Norman - Souvenir Postcards from Shetland, Shetland Times, 1992
- Blackadder, Jill Slee Shetland (Colin Baxter Island Guides) (2003) Colin Baxter Photography, Strathspey ISBN 1-84107-125-0
- Airports Worldwide
- Baltasound Junior High School website
- Baltasound Hotel website
- BBC News report on closure of Haroldswick post office
- "Station Map". UKMO.
- "1958 Maximum". UKMO.
- "2001 minimum". UKMO.
- "Baltasound 1961-90 averages". Met Office. Retrieved 3 Nov 2011.
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