settlement on the mainland of the Shetland Islands in Scotland

Brae (Old Norse Breiðeið, "the wide isthmus") is on Mainland of the Shetland Islands. It was a tiny fishing village then grew rapidly in the 1970s with the construction of Sullom Voe oil terminal, and in 2011 the population was 856. In Scots and Old English a "brae" means a hill or slope, but Shetland was Norse so here it means "broad". A relative term: the isthmus here is almost a mile across, but to the west it's pinched to the 100-yard-wide Mavis Grind by which the Northmavine peninsula clings onto the Mainland.

Get in

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The pinchpoint at Mavis Grind

Brae is 23 miles by road north of Lerwick, reckon 30 min by car.

Bus 21 / 23 runs M-Sa every two hours from Lerwick via Tingwall and Voe, taking 50 min to Brae. Bus 21 continues 3 times a day to Hillswick on Northmavine. Bus 23 turns northeast to Sullom Voe oil terminal, Mossbank and Toft, for the ferry to Yell.

Scatsta Airport 3 miles northeast serves the oil terminal and its offshore rigs but has no public flights.

Get around

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The village straggles, and you need wheels to explore the area and Northmavine beyond the "Grind".

  • 1 Mavis Grind   is the narrow isthmus connecting Northmavine peninsula to Mainland.
  • 2 Busta Voe Standing Stone is the chunky boulder in the field below the lane towards Busta. It's granite, 3 m tall, and lichen-clad. A smaller nearby stone has fallen over.
  • 3 Muckle Roe is an island that was connected by bridge in 1905, halting the population decline. The bridge was rebuilt in 1947 and in 1999. A public road connects the farms along its east side. A hike brings you to sea stacks lining the rugged south coast. Inland is boggy heath with a central granite plug, hence "big red island" or Muckle Roe.
  • The Co-op near the Leisure Centre is open daily 7AM-10PM.
  • There's an ATM at the filling station by Brae Hotel.
  • The pharmacy is in the Health Centre just south of Brae Hotel. It's open M-F 8:30AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-3PM.
  • Frankie's Fish & Chips, Brae ZE2 9QJ (just north of Brae Hotel), +44 1806 522700. Daily noon-6PM. In a prefab more like a boardwalk cafe, this chipper (which claims to be the most northerly in Britain) has a good menu selection. A bit pricey for what you get.

Drink

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Murbie Stacks off Muckle Roe

Sleep

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  • 1 Brae Hotel, Brae ZE2 9QJ, +44 1806 522456. Comfy modern place open all year, good food and service. B&B double £80.
  • Drumquin Guest House, Brae ZE2 9QJ (Just south of Brae Hotel), +44 1806 522621. Comfy B&B in a converted Victorian schoolhouse. Normally open all year but closed in late 2021. No pets.
  • 2 Burravoe Wigwams, Brae, +44 1806 522575. Glamping pods, open all year. No dogs.
  • Valleyfield Guesthouse a mile south of the village didn't open in 2021.
  • 3 Busta House Hotel, Busta ZE2 9QN, +44 1806 522506. Charming hotel in a 16th-century homestead, open all year. Great atmosphere, views and comfort though some facilities tired. B&B double £130.

Connect

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View over Busta Voe to Brae

As of Nov 2021, you might manage a mobile call in Brae with EE. There is no signal elsewhere in the district, or with other carriers.

Go next

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  • Cross Mavis Grind onto Northmavine, where the main village is Hillswick.
  • The B-road northeast eventually brings you to Toft, where the ferry sails to Yell. Ferries from Yell reach Fetlar and Unst.
  • Turn south for Lerwick and the rest of Mainland.



This city travel guide to Brae is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.