On the right is the view from the front door.

Well, the view you get if you use a very wide angle lens, and then stitch together three images!

As you can see, Hannigarth is a traditional croft house. The original house had a couple of living rooms, two bedrooms in the roof space and a shed attached to 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. They adding an extension to provide an extra bedroom and a bathroom.

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 also makes the sea appear further away than it actually 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 smokeless fuel, assorted tools, a rusty 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. Sadly, 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 shed has a variety of fuels for the stove in the sitting room. There is coal, wood, and smokeless ovoids.

The picture shows that on very rare occasions, it does rain 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 is 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.

This photo definitely gets the prize for being both boring and pointless. I will try to put together some attractive and interesting stuff found on the beach and dress it up a bit. It also occurs to me that I may not be selling this very well!

The kitchen

The kitchen


We have had a bit of an upgrade over the winter and so hopefully the new kitchen units provide more logical storage and have doors that won't fall off as often.

Unfortunately, only one of us could get up to Hannigarth to open it up this season and so it was I and not Jane that decided which cupboard should hold / hide which things. So, good luck with finding what you need!

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).

In the Covid-19 world, we ask people to avoid leaving food at the end of their stay. This is simply because there is little point in Margaret carrying out the recommended cleaning regime but then leave food used by the previous guests as a potential source of transmission. So, when you are shopping in the Co-op or Tesco in Lerwick or, any one of the three shops on Unst, remember that you will need to get the basics too. You can always take that box of 250 tea bags home with you.

Apart from the stove 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. Confusingly, the radio is on the shelves in the living room with the speakers facing the dividing wall to the kitchen. Sound is just vibrations so the arrangement works suprisingly well. Please note, you cannot use the same method to watch the TV in the kitchen. A different sort of vibrations.

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 living room

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

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

For a couple of years our multifuel stove was replaced with an electric heater disguised as a wood burner. The chimney collapsed internally over one winter and the gable end needed rebuilding to sort it out. Thankfully, all is now fixed and the stove is working well. We decided to keep its name - "Smoky the Badger" as a reminder that it tended to provide an example of the "rain dance effect". This was interesting for those who like to analyse their own behaviour but frankly, was more of a nuisance. "Smoky" would convince 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.

I am afraid that there is no landline at Hannigarth and therefore, there is no internet connection other than through your phone. This is a good thing. No, it really is.

I am also afraid that the library of paperbacks that people had donated, together with a useful range of wildlife and history books relevant to Shetland, have all been put into store. We have taken them all away until such time it is safe to use them. All that is left is a laminated OS map which can be wiped down with some hand gel. Use it to help you plan your walks.

Finally, that most definitely is not a small fluffy 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), shower, hand basin and toilet. The switch for the hot water is in the Kitchen. The sewerage for the house empties into its own septic tank and soakaway. 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 moss 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 shutters when they are on the loo and those that don't. That was a joke. He actually said that 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.

As with the kitchen, the bathroom has been upgraded this year. There is now an electric shower over the bath. I promise to update the pictures when I travel up next.

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, 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 space to hang stuff.

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 - 12/08/2020