Paddleboarding Nor Wick – Isle of Unst

Paddleboarding Nor Wick in Shetland

Nor Wick is a really lovely wee spot tucked away at the very top of the Shetland islands on the Isle of Unst. Unst is the most northerly inhabited island in Shetland and therefore Scotland. Our goal here was to find a beautiful place to go paddleboarding as far north as possible in Scotland and Nor Wick ticked all the boxes.

The Main Points

  • Location – Nor Wick, Unst, Shetland
  • Cost – Free access from carpark
  • Conditions – Salt water bay
  • Other users – Beach goers, walkers, campers
  • Entry Point – Sandy beach
  • Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- Village of Haroldswick 3km south west



Paddleboarding at Scotlands most northern beach – Nor Wick

I have to say that this spot was a great find. Not only was there a lovely little sandy beach but it was also possible to stay the night in our campervan right in the dunes overlooking the water. For such a tucked away location it was fairly popular as there were a couple of tents and other self contained campervans staying the night also.

The weather was a little changeable so we waited until there was a nice sunny patch and paddled out. As can happen, once out on the water conditions were quite a bit more turbulent than we observed from the shore, so much so that it was more of a sit down rather than stand up paddleboarding session at Nor Wick! But we can say that we paddled at the very top of Scotland. Or so we thought… but you will have to stay tuned to find out about that.

Non Paddleboarding activities in Nor Wick and the Isle of Unst

Our trip to the Isle of Unst was a really great addition to our SUP Safari Scotland as there was so much to see and do. From where we went paddleboarding in Nor Wick it was an easy walk into Haroldswick where the Shetland Reel Distillery is. There were many Viking related archeological sites to explore and remains of military outposts from the last century.  Muness Castle is one of only 2 castles on Sheltand and although it is a ruin, it’s in fairly good condition and well worth a visit.

If you would like a great walk then I would strongly suggest exploring Hermaness National Nature Reserve where there is a plethora of Puffins along the cliff walk. It is this same walk which will also take you out to Muckle Flugga – Britains most northerly rock! 

There is also the Unst Planetary Trail a walk which puts into perspective how big our solar system actually is.  I think one of my favourite places was the open air French Honesty Cafe in Uyeasound by the wee pier.  This spot would also make an excellent place to paddleboard. To find out more about any of these activities visit our article on Van Life in Unst during our SUP Safari Scotland here.

As you can see there is a lot to do on this relatively small island and that’s not the lot of it.  We spent about a week there and only managed to paddle twice.  I would recommend staying at least a week if you want to get some paddleboarding in allowing for changes in the weather also.

Watch our video of Paddleboarding at Nor Wick on Sheltands Isle fo Unst here

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