Your Amazing Race: Outlanders in the Shetland Islands

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By Sl-Ziga (Own work) [



via Wikimedia Commons

Sheep have been a primary commodity  in Scotland for hundreds of years. Anyone who has tried to herd a flock of sheep knows that they usually have a mind of their own. If one sheep strays, the other will follow suit. For this reason, farmers have been using herding dogs to help wrangle these fluffy foes. In fact, the use of these canines has become a sport. I’m not sure that a Scottish farmer would want visitors in charge of herding his flock, but you can see these amazing dogs in action at Sheep Dog Trials.

Round ‘Em Up!

The first Scottish trials were held in 1874 and the grand prize was a whopping one pound. Now the International Sheep Dog Society oversees the trails all over the UK. Upcoming events can been found in the Trials Diary section of their website. These dogs are much more skilled than the race competitors and very fun to watch.

The teams met Phil and a puffin at St Ninian’s Isle beach. This rustic peninsula is visited by many but hasn’t been home to any Scots since 1796.  The area is relatively untouched and quite breathtaking to see.

Detour from the Pit Shop

Like many of you I’m sure, I was interested by the treasure mentioned in the Pit Stop clue. Apparently in 1958, a school boy discovered the treasure and “X” literally marked the spot. The treasure dates back to the 9th century AD and is widely recognized as being the best example of Scottish silver from that time period. The pieces in the treasure include items like brooches (like the one from the Pit Stop clue), bowls, serving platters and the only non-silver piece, a porpoise jaw-bone.

The treasure has since been donated and is currently housed in the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The museum is open daily, except for some holidays, from 10 am to 5 pm. This is another great activity of those of you traveling on a budget. Admission is FREE.

After taking in the treasures from St. Ninian’s, check out some of the other displays. The exhibitions change every few months and cover all topics from art, fashion and history. The museum’s website lists all exhibits and their run dates. There is plenty to see for both young and old(er).