Fethaland, at the north tip of Shetland's mainland, has a long history of human settlement, spanning from prehistoric times right up until the twentieth century, when the fishing station, established during the 15th and 16th centuries, became redundant.
enlarge This haaf (deep-sea) fishing station was at one time the busiest in Shetland, with around 60 boats operating from here. The season was short: from June until August. The workers were accommodated in lodges, which survive today. These huts were drystone with roofs of wood and turf that were removed at the end of each season to protect them from damage by winter storms. The fish were split open and dried on the pebble beach before being exported to market. From the 17th century herring was also brought ashore and salted.
A large oval prehistoric house with walls standing 1m high is situated on the lowest part of the peninsula. There are chambers or "cells" within the walls and an elongated entrance passage flanked by upright slabs. Excavation in 1904 (Abercromby) revealed pottery which contained mica.
In Viking times soapstone (kleber in Shetland) was worked on the east side of the Isle of Fethaland, north of Cleber Geos. The oval shapes of the bowls which we carved out of the soft stone, still survive in the cliff. Beneath the cliff, there are grass-covered heaps of quarry debris.
Find out more about the archaeology of Fethaland at: