Baltasound is the largest settlement on the island of Unst
Unst is one of the North Isles of the Shetland Islands, Scotland. It is the northernmost of the inhabited British Isles and is the third largest island in Shetland after the Mainland and Yell. It has an area of .Unst is largely grassland, with coastal cliffs...

 in Shetland. Unst is the most northerly inhabited island in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. The village lies halfway along the island's east coast on a sheltered bay called Balta Sound
Balta Sound
Balta Sound is a sound on the east coast of the island of Unst in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. The sound is sheltered from the North Sea to the east by the uninhabited island of Balta.The settlement at the west of the sound is Baltasound....


Baltasound was formerly the most important herring
Herring is an oily fish of the genus Clupea, found in the shallow, temperate waters of the North Pacific and the North Atlantic oceans, including the Baltic Sea. Three species of Clupea are recognized. The main taxa, the Atlantic herring and the Pacific herring may each be divided into subspecies...

 port in Shetland, in 1902 its catch exceeded that of the Shetland capital Lerwick
Lerwick is the capital and main port of the Shetland Islands, Scotland, located more than 100 miles off the north coast of mainland Scotland on the east coast of the Shetland Mainland...

. The herring trade declined rapidly after 1905 but the physical remains of the herring boom remained long after.

Baltasound can also lay claim to the most northerly "wood" in the British Isles, although it is not very substantial.


Many of Baltasound's current amenities hold the record for the most northerly in the UK:
  • Airport - Baltasound Airport - Airport code UNT, runway length 2099 ft., currently only used by emergency services.
  • Leisure Centre
  • School - Baltasound Junior High School
  • Hotel - The Baltasound Hotel
  • Brewery - Valhalla Brewery
    Valhalla Brewery
    The Valhalla Brewery in Baltasound, Unst, Shetland, Scotland, is the northernmost brewery in the British Isles. It was opened by the husband and wife team Sonny and Silvia Priest, in December 1997....

    , opened in 1997
  • Post Office - Baltasound Post Office is now the most northerly post office. For many years this record was held by the post office at Haroldswick
    Haroldswick or Harold's Wick , is on Unst, Shetland Islands, and is one of the most northerly settlements in the British Isles.-History:...

     until its closure in 1999.


Baltasound is home to the most Northerly Met Office weather station in the United Kingdom. Despite its isolated location, as with the rest of the British Isles
British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...

, Baltasound experiences a maritime climate, albeit a very pronounced one, with particularly cool summers and mild winters. Its extreme northerly location combined with frequently overcast skies lead to very low levels of sunshine during the winter months - December will average just under 15 and a half minutes of sunshine daily!
Baltasound also holds the record for both highest and lowest (reliable) temperatures reading's in the Shetland Islands; 25 °C (77 °F) during July 1958, and -11.9 C during February 2001. This suggest's that despite the absence of a close landmass allowing for the advection of extreme temperatures, Baltasound's North facing location results in a Fohn effect induced by hills to the south.

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