|OS grid reference||HU620919|
|Meaning of name||'prosperous land' or 'strapped together island'|
|Area and summit|
|Area||4,078 hectares (15.75 sq mi)|
|Highest elevation||Vord Hill 158 metres (518 ft)|
|Population rank||47 out of 101|
|Local Authority||Shetland Islands|
Area and population ranks are for all Scottish islands and all inhabited Scottish islands respectively. Population data is from 2001 census.
Fetlar is one of the North Isles of Shetland, Scotland, with a population of 86 at the time of the 2001 census. Its main settlement is Houbie on the south coast, home to the Fetlar Interpretive Centre. Fetlar is the fourth largest island of Shetland and has an area of sixteen square miles.
One of the strange features of Fetlar is a huge wall that goes across the island known as the Funzie Girt or Finnigirt Dyke. It is thought to date from the Mesolithic period. So sharp was the division between the two halves of the island, that the Norse talked of East and West Isle separately. One posited etymology is from fetill, meaning a "strap", so possibly the island's name means "two islands strapped together". It was recorded as "Fötilør" in 1490.
Another attraction on the island is the Gothic Brough Lodge, built by Arthur Nicolson in about 1820, and which is undergoing restoration by the Brough Lodge Trust. The Fetlar sheepdog trials take place annually, normally in July. The Fetlar Foy is very popular with Shetlanders and tourists alike. It takes place at midsummer on the Links at Tresta where folk are entertained with music, food and drink.
Its most famous son was Sir William Watson Cheyne Bt FRS FRCS, a close associate of Lord Lister and one of the pioneers of antiseptics. He was professor of surgery at King's College London, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England and wrote many books on medical treatments. He was made a baronet for services to medicine in 1908, was an MP first for the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews and then the Combined Scottish Universities in 1917 and 1918. He was Lord Lieutenant of the Shetland Islands from 1919 to 1930. Cheyne died on Fetlar on 19 April 1932.
Fishing and shipwrecks
Fetlar has a long tradition of fishing. An unusual result of this is that according to Guinness World Records the record for the oldest message in a bottle was broken in August 2012 when a drift bottle released in June 1914 was found by Andrew Leaper, skipper of the Copious, coincidentally the same fishing vessel involved in the previous record recovery in 2006. The bottle, and Mr Leaper's World Record certificate, have been donated to the Fetlar Interpretative Centre. Fetlar also has an international selection of shipwrecks including Danish, Dutch, German, English and Soviet vessels.
Geography and geology
Fetlar is surrounded by a number of small islands, particularly in the sound between it and Unst. These include to the north:
and to the west:
Fetlar's wildlife is as varied as its geology. For example, over two hundred species of wild flower have been identified here.
The northern part of Fetlar is a RSPB reserve, home to several important breeding species including Arctic Skuas and Whimbrels. The Lamb Hoga peninsula and nearby Haaf Gruney have some of the largest colonies of Storm Petrel. Of greatest importance though are Red-necked Phalaropes, for which the Loch of Funzie is the most important breeding site in the United Kingdom, and for a while during the 1990s was the only breeding site in the country. A pair of Snowy Owls famously bred here in the 1960s and early 1970s, they lasted until the 1980s but are no longer present. The island is known as "The Garden of Shetland," due to its highly fertile soil.
Ferries sail daily from Hamars Ness on Fetlar to Gutcher on Yell and Belmont on Unst. A new breakwater and berthing facility is being added at Hamars Ness and was officially opened on 1st December 2012.
Fetlar Developments Ltd (FDL), a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, was set up by the community to counter the depopulation of the island, which had fallen to just 48 in early 2009. The latest information supplied by FDL is that the population is now back up to 79 (as at November 2012) and is continuing to rise steadily. The development company continue to work towards securing a sustainable future for the island both socially and economically.
Currently there are 7 primary pupils and 2 nursery pupils at Fetlar primary school, situated at Baela near Houbie.
- General Register Office for Scotland (28 Nov 2003) "Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands" Retrieved 9 July 2007.
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 1-84195-454-3.
- Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). http://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/oswebsite/getamap/.
- Anderson, Joseph (Ed.) (1893) Orkneyinga Saga. Translated by Jón A. Hjaltalin & Gilbert Goudie. Edinburgh. James Thin and Mercat Press (1990 reprint). ISBN 0-901824-25-9
- "Finnigirt Dyke" fetlar.com. Retrieved 1 May 2008
- "Brough Lodge Trust" fetlar.com. Retrieved 30 April 2008.
- "10th Anniversary Fetlar Foy" johnsmasfoy.com. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
- "World record as message in bottle found after 98 years near Shetland" BBC News. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
- "Fetlar Museum" fetlar.com. Retrieved 1 May 2008.
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (1996). The Scottish Islands. Canongate. p. 391. ISBN 0-86241-579-9.
- Fetlar: The Garden of Shetland" fetlar.org. Retrieved 28 Jan 2011.
- Fetlar Primary School. "News Page". Retrieved 28 November 2009.