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The Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Shetland Isles These islands, there are approximately 100 in all, have a Scandinavian heritage in that they were a Norse dependency from the 8th Century right through to 1472. Therefore the dialect of the Shetland Islanders is unlike any of the mainland Scots and bears witness to their Scandinavian roots.

Each year the Shetland Islands ceremonially recreate a Viking burial where they burn a specially constructed longship. This is known as Up Helly A and takes place every January.

Covering an area of 541 square miles and with a population of 23,000 only 19 of the 100 isles are inhabited. The Shetlands have, in Muckle Flugga, the most northerly point of the British Isles.

Sullom Voe on the chief island, known as Mainland, is Europe's largest oil port.

The islands are famous for the miniature ponies native to them, processed fish and the handknits from Fair Isle and Unst.

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