Mousa – a special place
The Mousa Broch, Storm Petrels and wildlife
Stepping ashore on Mousa you can immediately sense the tranquillity. Follow the path around Mousa (“Mossy Island” in Old Norse) and you will appreciate the delicate relationship between man and nature of this wild and beautiful environment. The passing of centuries can be seen around the now uninhabited island, in archaeological sites, deserted buildings and most famously by the Mousa Broch – the best preserved Iron-Age tower in existence from the hundreds that were built around the northern coasts of Scotland. Even today the visitor can still ascend the spiral staircase to marvel at the commanding view and workmanship of this 2000 year-old building.
The purpose of the brochs remain a mystery, but one thing we do know, Mousa Broch makes a perfect nesting site for hundreds of Storm Petrels. As one of Shetland’s most spectacular sights, the return in the summer dusk of hundreds of these small birds, after a day of feeding out at sea, is a unique experience. The northern latitude means it never really gets dark in early summer (the “Simmer Dim”) and the birds use this half-light to evade predators on their return ashore. We run our very popular and acclaimed guided Storm Petrel trips to watch these delightful birds return.
Mousa supports important breeding colonies of seals and sea-birds and is managed as a Nature Reserve by the Royal Society for Protection of Birds. There are many opportunities for nature-watchers to observe a fascinating range of plant and wildlife – you may even be fortunate to catch a glimpse of an elusive otter or passing whale!
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