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 Gualtieri has worked as a Naturalist interpretive guide for over 20 years, beginning his career in Denali National Park and Preserve at a remote wilderness lodge leading hikes and giving lectures on the ecology and wildlife of that region. Later he began leading Lindblad Expeditions land extensions to Denali in 2002 and has worked with Lindblad in some form or another ever since. With a background in Biology and a lifelong passion for the natural world Doug moved to Talkeetna, Alaska in 1999 from his home state of Michigan, and never looked back.

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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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