On the right is the view - nice isn't it!

As you can see, Hannigarth is a traditional croft house with a couple of living rooms, bedrooms in the roof space and a shed attached at one end. The last tenant crofter to live in the house left in the late seventies and it was bought and lovingly renovated by the previous owners; Mary and Nick Ouroussoff.

Access to the house from the nearest road is along a (well made) dirt track, through a couple of gates. There is an enclosed area for car parking pretty much where I was standing to take the top photograph.

I have included the second image just in case you were thinking that the shed is larger than the rest of the house.

By the way, if you want a closer look at any of the pictures, you can click on them and a larger image should magically appear.


View towards Sandwick

The house has a couple of dyked areas at the front. Walls are "dykes" in Shetland. These look out onto the farmland that borders the sandy beach. The house is surrounded by sheep most of the time. Its a good idea to devise some sort of sheep poo prevention procedure - we tend to keep outdoor footwear in the porch. By the way, the wide-angle lens makes the sea appear further away than it is. Honestly.

The larger area connects to a fenced garden at the back where you will find a washing line and some rabbits. Drying washing in Shetland is something of a black art. The general rule is - hang it out, the wind seems to dry it even when it's raining. However, there is a tumble dryer in the house. Mind you, some say that electricity is magic too.

The shed

The shed contains a few bags of peat, assorted tools, a bike or two, driftwood, some wetsuits - basically a load of odds and ends that you might find useful and you are welcome to use.

There is a tendency for the shed to collect stuff that other people have decided that they don't want which is very generous of them. I haven't got a picture of the inside of the shed, it probably needed tidying. If you are interested in the huge collection of old paint cans, you will just have to book a week and see for yourself.

The fuel in the shed dates back to the time when the house had a stove. Unfortunately, there has been something of a collapse in the chimney and so pretty much all the heating is now done with electricity. This at least has the benefit that it doesn't create as much smoke in the house (unless you are very careless).

The picture shows that on very rare occasions, it rains on Unst.

The porch

So, here is the porch (the poo prevention feature). That's pretty much all there is to say on the matter. The blue box was for transporting ash from the stove to the bin - essential if you didn't want the Shetland wind to decorate the entire house with it. There are the usual coat hooks, a torch and a thing for removing wellies. There also seems to be a developing collection of dead things collected by our guests.

It occurs to me that I may not be selling this very well!

The kitchen

The kitchen


The kitchen has the usual stuff: electric oven and hob, microwave, fridge freezer, pots, pans, cutlery, plates, mugs, glasses, caffetieres, kettle, sink and (of course) a handy chair so that you can watch whoever is doing the cooking whilst making helpful suggestions (the kitchen has 3 doors so you can also make a rapid exit).

There are generally some herbs, tea bags etc. left by previous occupants which is helpful if you forgot to visit Tesco or the Coop in Lerwick and its too late to pop to one of the three shops in Baltasound for some basil. However, avoid leaving perishable food as you don't know when the next people might be booked in.

Apart from the electric fire in the living room, additional heating is provided by electric convector heaters (and an extra jumper).

There is also a radio for entertainment purposes. It seems to be stuck on Radio 4.

Please note that the Shetland pony was NOT added using the magic of photo editing. However, it is true that Jane was standing out of shot with a carrot.

The kitchen

The living room

It isn't a dog, its a stuffed toy!

The sitting room has a TV with freeview, a DVD player, a CD player and lots of books. There is also a table that you can move into the kitchen so that you can seat 6 for meals.

Sadly, our wood burner has been replaced with an electric heater. The chimney collapsed internally over one winter and the gable end will need rebuilding to sort it out. I think this is a shame as the stove provided an example of the "rain dance effect" which was interesting for those of us who like to analyse their own behaviour. It quickly convinced people that they had to open the upstairs left-hand bedroom velux 5.7 cm and close the door to the downstairs bedroom before the fire would light without filling the house with acrid smoke. Standing on one leg (usually the left) also helped. Hopefully, "Smoky the Badger" will be reinstated when the island's builders can fit us in.

There is a landline at the house. Please pay for any calls you make, leaving the money on the kitchen table when you go. Calls work out at 7p per minute with 50p to cover the line rental for the day. There is no internet connection. This is a good thing. No, it really is.

The books are a mix of paperbacks that people have donated and a good range of wildlife and history books relevant to Shetland and Unst in particular. Feel free to swap the novels but please leave the other books for others to use. There are usually a couple of local maps to help you plan your day. Another good source of information is the comments in the visitor's books. Remember to add your own experiences for others to read.

Finally, that most definitely is not a small dog on the furniture. You are welcome to bring a dog with you but only by arrangement please. Hopefully yours is better behaved than ours.

The bathroom

The washing facilities

The bathroom has a heated towel rail, a bath (obviously), hand basin and toilet. There is no shower. The switch for the hot water is in the Kitchen. The sewerage for the house empties into its own septic tank and since we therefore depend on a bunch of friendly microorganisms to dispose of it, try to avoid too many chemicals and non-biodegradeable stuff down the sinks and loo. Bleach is definitely a banned substance.

The bathroom also serves as utility with the washing machine and tumble dryer. The dryer needs its filter emptying every time it is used to work efficiently. There is also an airing space above the washing machine.

If you can, please leave a couple of toilet rolls when you go, in case the next people forget to bring one. I am told that sphagnum is very absorbant - but also quite acidic.

The bathroom has quite a nice view over the back "garden" towards the farmer's shed. The farmer tells me that there are two sorts of people - those that close the shutter when they are on the loo and those that don't. That was a joke. He said there are three sorts of people.

You may be visited by a farm cat at some point. However, there are also feral cats on Unst so don't make assumptions about feline friendliness.

Double downstairs bedroom

Upstairs bedroom 1

Upstairs bedroom 2

There are three bedrooms: the double in the new extension downstairs and two twins upstairs. The double bedroom is also where you will find the linen if you are hiring it, along with hot water bottles. The double bed has an electric blanket but don't tell the people sleeping upstairs - they really don't need to know.

The two twin bedrooms are up the stairs between the kitchen and living room. Each has two single beds, a chest of drawers and some hanging space.

I hope you notice that we "dressed" the rooms by making up the beds before taking the photographs. I think Visit Scotland suggested that we should!

As you can see from the picture, the stairs are quite steep so this may dictate who gets to sleep upstairs and help you decide if the house is suitable for very small children.

However, the main reason for showing them to you is to point out the little cupboard at the top. It contains the electricity supply off switch.

The cupboard used to contain a slot meter which proved very successful at reminding guests about the financial implications of climate change.

However, the meter broke (it was very old) and so we have to rely on your good nature not to use the cooker to heat the kitchen unless you are actually cooking something.

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Richard and Jane King - 01/01/2019