Sandsting and Aithsting


"AITHSTING, a parish united with Sandsting, in Mainland, the principal of the Shetland-Isles, 15 miles to the N.W. of Lerwick. The islands of Little Papa and Vementry are included in this parish It is hilly and adapted only for pasture land. Fishing and a mall coasting trade form the occupations of the inhabitants. The living is in the presbytery of Lerwick, value £158, in the patronage of the Earl of Zetland. The united parishes contain an area of about 15 square miles."

From The National Gazetteer of of Great Britain and Ireland (1868)

"SANDSTING and AITHSTING, a united parish in the middle of the mainland of Shetland, 13 miles and upwards NW of Lerwick, under which there are post offices at Tresta and Garderhouse. It comprises the islands of Vementry and Papa Little, with a number of smaller islets, and is bounded NE by Delting, E by Tingwall, W by Walls, and on all other sides by the sea.

Its utmost length, from N to S, is 13¼ miles; its utmost breadth, from E to W, is 8½ miles; and its land area is 62¼ square miles, or 39, 870 acres. The coast, which in places is bold and rocky, is deeply indented by Gruting, Skeld, Seli, and Sandsound Voes on the S, and by West Burra Firth, Brindister Voe, and Aith Voe on the N. The surface is everywhere hillocky, and, at no point reaching any noticeable elevation or admitting any considerable extent of plain, attains 297 feet in Vementry, 348 at the Ward of Scollan, 457 near the eastern border, 436 at Sand Field, 355 at the Giant's Grave, and 393 at the Ward of Culswick. A perfect network of fresh-waterlochs is scattered over the interior, their number being estimated at no fewer than 140 in the New Statistical Account. Among the larger are Clousta, Vaara, Hulma, Gossa, Sulma, and Vaxterby Lochs, the last of which lies on the Walls boundary. The rocks include red granite in the W, quartzose gneiss, quartzite, hornblende slate, felspar porphyry, syenitic greenstone, etc. The soil, in a few places sandy, in some clay, and in others a light brown mould, is mostly a deep black moss. The arable land lies mostly along the shore. Antiquities are several standing-stones and sepulchral barrows, three or four Scandinavian brochs, and five pre - Reformation burying-grounds. Reawick is the chief mansion; and 6 proprietors hold each an annual value of between £100 and £500. Sandsting is in the presbytery of Olnafirth and the synod of Shetland; the living is worth £185. The parish church, built in 1780, contains 437 sittings. There are also Baptist and Congregational chapels; and 7 new public schools, with total accommodation for 442 children, had (1884) an average attendance of 284, and grants amounting to £290, 8s. Valuation (1860) £1617, (1884) £2678, 5s. 3d. Pop. (1801) 1493, (1831) 2194, (1861) 2670, (1871) 2806, (1881) 2702, of whom 1640 were females."

Description from Frances Groome's Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882-4.






Description & Travel

You can see pictures of Sandsting and Aithsting which are provided by:




Topographical Dictionary of Scotland, Samuel Lewis - 1851

PAPA-LITTLE, an island, in the parish of Sandsting-and-Aithsting, county of Shetland; containing 11 inhabitants. It lies in St. Magnus' bay, near the island of Vementry, and is a small place, having two families, and appropriated to the pasturage of cattle and sheep.

SANDSTING-AND-AITHSTING, a parish, in the county of Shetland, 12 miles (W. N. W.) from Lerwick; containing, with the islands of Little Papa and Vementry, 2478 inhabitants. This parish lies in about the middle of the Mainland, and is bounded on the south and south-west by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the north by the Minn, or Swarbach's Minn, a large arm of the sea by which it is separated from the island of Muckle Roe. It is about ten miles in length and eight in breadth, comprising large tracts of pasture and peatmoss; 777 merks of land under cultivation, which are liable to public burthens; and a very considerable ex- tent of land, also under cultivation, taken from the pasture or common, and paying no public burthens. The shore of that part washed by the ocean is bold and rugged, and marked by several curious natural caves, frequented by seals and wild-fowl; and the land in every part, both on the north and south, is intersected with voes, forming numerous well-secured natural harbours. Of these. Gruting, Olla, and Airs of Selivoe are the principal, affording excellent anchorage for vessels of heavy burthen. On the south of the parish are the two voes of Skeld; and at a little distance, in the same direction, are the entrances to Selivoe and Sandvoe. Selivoe is remarkable for the unruffled tranquillity of its waters, and the firmness of its anchorage, consisting of a strong, blue, tenacious clay; but Sandvoe, being much exposed, and having a very loose bottom, is considered an insecure and dangerous station. In addition to these, are Sandsound voe, which extends upwards of five miles inland; West Burrafirth, on the north of Aithsting; and Brindister voe; all of them, with the exception of Burrafirth, commodious harbours having good anchorage. Of the several others, Aith's voe is the chief, an inland harbour of great extent, and affording tolerable accommodation for shipping.

VALEY, an isle, in the parish of Sandsting-and-Aithsting, county of Shetland. This is a very small isle, belonging to the Sandsting portion of the united parish, lying southward of it, and giving name to a sound, wherein is safe anchorage for fishing-vessels.

VEMENTRY, an island, in the parish of Sandsting-and-Aithsting, county of Shetland; containing 2 inhabitants. It lies in the bay of St. Magnus, on the south-east side, close to the Mainland coast, from which it is separated by the narrow sound of Eye. la some parts, particularly on the east, it produces good pasture, upon which cattle and sheep are fed.



You can see maps centred on OS grid reference HU317509 (Lat/Lon: 60.241137, -1.429188), Sandsting and Aithsting which are provided by: