|Scottish Gaelic name||Mòr-thìr|
|Old Norse name||Megenland|
|Meaning of name||Old Norse for 'mainland'|
The cliffs of Eshaness, North Mainland.
|OS grid reference|
|Area||96,879 hectares (374 sq mi)|
|Area rank||3 |
|Highest elevation||Ronas Hill 450 metres (1,476 ft)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Council area||Shetland Islands|
|Population rank||2 |
|Population density||19.41 people/km2|
It has an area of 374 square miles (970 km2), making it the third-largest Scottish island and the fifth largest of the British Isles after Great Britain, Ireland, Lewis and Harris and Skye. Mainland is the second most populous of the Scottish islands (only surpassed by Lewis and Harris), and had 18,765 residents in 2011 compared to 17,550 in 2001.
The mainland can be broadly divided into four sections:
- The long southern peninsula, south of Lerwick, has a mixture of moorland and farmland and contains many important archaeological sites.
- The Central Mainland has more farmland and some woodland plantations.
- The West Mainland
- The North Mainland – in particular the large Northmavine peninsula, connected to Mainland by a narrow isthmus at Mavis Grind – is wild, with much moorland and coastal cliffs. The North Mainland contains Sullom Voe, whose oil terminal is an important source of employment for the islanders.
- Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 406
- Area and population ranks: there are c. 300 islands over 20 ha in extent and 93 permanently inhabited islands were listed in the 2011 census.
- National Records of Scotland (15 August 2013). "Appendix 2: Population and households on Scotland's Inhabited Islands" (PDF). Statistical Bulletin: 2011 Census: First Results on Population and Household Estimates for Scotland Release 1C (Part Two) (PDF) (Report). SG/2013/126. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
- Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
- General Register Office for Scotland (28 November 2003) Occasional Paper No 10: Statistics for Inhabited Islands Archived 2008-04-21 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 9 July 2007.
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