Steens of Stofast
Mainland, Shetland, Scotland
Start: Trailhead south of Lunna Ness
End: Trailhead south of Lunna Ness
Distance: 6.2 miles (10 km)
Time: 5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Surface: Rocky, Grassy Trails
The Steens of Stofast circular walk offers the chance to walk by one of the Shetland Islands’ most impressive inland glacial landscapes and one of the world’s oddest geologic phenomena: its remarkable scattered “steers”-large fractured boulders carried over eons by glacial activity and dumped hundreds of feet from where they originated. For a good view of these rocks, follow a track that takes you past the Loch of Grutwick to where the North Sea’s Ninian oil pipeline comes ashore. From the nearby quarry head northeast to the South Loch of Stofast, where the steers will greet you like silent sentinels. Then head north to the tiny inlets of Fugla Water and cross over to the slopes northern side, where you should find two planticrubs (small square plant shelters used for growing seeds).
The lochs of Winneries and Ward follow, set among small valleys and craggy peaks. In summer, you’ll find the ground covered in blooming heather and wild roses. If you climb the Hill of State, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of the surrounding islands-Yell, Burravoe, Whalsay, Orfasay, Samphrey, Fish Holm, and Linga. Head down to the shore, turn south to the town of Outrabister (don’t forget to pop into its antique shop), and follow the road back to the start point.