Fair Isle Bird Observatory & Guesthouse

Travelling to Fair Isle (via Shetland)

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have plans to visit Fair Isle in the coming weeks and months, please check for up-to-date guidance on the Scottish Government website.
Currently travel to Scottish Islands from elsewhere in the UK is permitted - please check the Government website for the latest information on international travel into the UK if you are coming from overseas. The Scottish Government are strongly encouraging anyone planning to travel to the islands to take a lateral flow test, three days before travel and on the day of departure. Further information can be found in the link above, and rapid lateral flow tests can be ordered here.

The latest information for travelling to Shetland and Orkney via Loganair and NorthLink can be found on their websites - please click on the links to find out more.

27th July 2021

To book your stay:

  • Make a provisional booking to stay with your host
  • Note that (using scheduled services) it is currently only possible to get to Fair Isle via Shetland
  • Contact Airtask for flights between Shetland and Fair Isle, or the Good Shepherd for the ferry service.
  • Arrange your travel to Shetland with either Northlink ferries (sailings between Aberdeen and Shetland or Orkney) or with any of the airlines that fly to Sumburgh (Shetland) from a variety of UK airports.

Getting to Fair Isle

You can currently travel to Fair Isle by small plane.

Airtask offer the only year-round scheduled air service to Fair Isle, using two Britten-Norman Islander aircraft taking up to 7 passengers. See their website for timetables, fares and phone number.

Bookings can be made by emailing lwk.ops@airtask.com for any date within the timetabled period. Bookings can only be made by phone for dates up to six weeks from the date of booking. For dates further ahead, bookings must be made by email. Full payment is required at the time of booking and confirmation will be emailed.
Note: tickets are collected on arrival at the airport.

Their baggage allowance is 15 kg per person (this is all baggage, as binoculars and cameras are the only hand baggage allowed).

Airtask operates out of Tingwall airport, with the flight to Fair Isle typically taking less than 25 minutes. Tingwall is 7 miles (15 minutes by car) west of Lerwick.

Dial-A-Ride taxis between Tingwall and the Viking bus termial in Lerwick should be pre-booked. Taxi, bus or hired car can be used to get from Sumburgh to Tingwall, allowing at least an hour transit time (more if using the bus/dial-a-ride taxi).

The Good Shepherd IV provides the only scheduled boat service to Fair Isle. This service operates between North Haven, Fair Isle (where the boat is based) to Grutness Pier near Sumburgh (with a few sailings from Lerwick). The boat can carry 12 passengers. The bus from the Viking bus termial in Lerwick to the Grutness turnoff takes an hour. The timetable for the No. 6 (South Mainland) service can be checked on the ZetTrans website. The boat journey takes about 2½ hours. To book, please phone 01595 760363 - please note that the current maximum number of passengers is four people.

Travelling to and from an island such as Fair Isle is totally reliant on the weather. Travel plans can be disrupted by poor visibility and/or strong or gusting winds and visitors should be aware that their plans may be affected even at short notice, especially when considering onward travel immediately after a trip to Fair Isle.

You should consider buying holiday insurance for your trip. However, be aware that missing an internal UK flight connection may not be covered. It is worth checking beforehand.

Private craft can land and berth on Fair Isle.

Getting to Shetland

Northlink ferries sail daily between Aberdeen and Lerwick (Shetland), via Kirkwall (Orkney) on alternate days.

Loganair flies to Sumburgh (Shetland) from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness (some via Kirwall, Orkney) with connections to other UK destinations.

There is more information on planning your travel to and possible staying on Shetland on the Visit Shetland website.