On the right is the view from the front door.

Well, the view you get if you use a very wide angle lens, and then stitch together three images!

As you can see, Hannigarth is a traditional croft house. The original house had a couple of living rooms, two bedrooms in the roof space and a shed attached to one end. The last tenant crofter to live in the house left in the late seventies and it was bought and lovingly renovated by the previous owners; Mary and Nick Ouroussoff. They added an extension to provide an extra bedroom and a bathroom.

Access to the house from the nearest road is along a dirt track, through a couple of gates. The track can be rather muddy early in the season. However, we have filled in most of the holes with gravel in April so, you should be okay. Once you have negotiated the track, there is an enclosed grassy area for car parking pretty much where I was standing to take the top photograph.

I have included the second image just in case you were thinking that the shed is larger than the rest of the house. You can see that the house is surrounded by dry stone walls and there is also some fencing at the back. The house is completely surrounded by farmland.


By the way, if you want a closer look at any of the pictures, click on them and a larger image will magically appear (mostly).

View towards Sandwick

I suppose that the walls are there to keep the shetland sheep out. It doesn't work!

The house has a couple of dyked areas at the front. Walls are "dykes" in Shetland. These look out onto the farmland that borders the sandy beach. The house is surrounded by sheep most of the time. Its a good idea to devise some sort of sheep poo prevention procedure - we tend to keep outdoor footwear in the porch. By the way, the wide-angle lens also makes the sea appear further away than it actually is. Honestly. A five minute walk and you are on the beach.

The larger area connects to a fenced "garden" at the back where you will find a washing line and some rabbits. Drying washing in Shetland is something of a black art. The general rule is - hang it out. The wind seems to dry it even when it's raining. There is a tumble dryer in the house but, where's the fun in that. You can spend hours, searching for the laundry that the wind has carelessly deposited on the grassy floor and then playfully sent it to Bergen.

The shed

The shed contains a few bags of smokeless ovoids, assorted tools, a rusty bike or two, some drying driftwood, some wetsuits - basically a load of odds and ends that you might find useful and you are welcome to use. If you are lucky, you might find that the previous folk have left you some kindling for the stove.

There is a tendency for the shed to collect stuff that other people have decided that they don't want which is very generous of them. Sadly, I haven't got a picture of the inside of the shed; it probably needed tidying. If you are interested in the huge collection of old paint cans, you will just have to book a week and see for yourself.

The picture shows that on very rare occasions, it does rain on Unst. So, don't forget your waterproofs.

The porch

So, here is the porch (the poo prevention feature). That's pretty much all there is to say on the matter. The blue box is for transporting ash from the stove to the bin - essential if you didn't want the Shetland wind to decorate the entire house with it. There are the usual coat hooks, a torch and a thing for removing wellies (from feet). Each year, the porch gradually develops a collection of dead things, graciously provided by our guests. Each year, I collect them and throw them into the sea. As you can see, the photo was taken at the start of the season.

This photo definitely gets the prize for being both boring and pointless. Perhaps I should have put together some attractive and interesting stuff found on the beach and dressed it up a bit.

The kitchen

The kitchen


The kitchen

The kitchen has the usual stuff: electric oven and hob, microwave, fridge freezer, pots, pans, cutlery, plates, mugs, glasses, caffetieres, kettle, sink and (of course) a handy chair so that you can watch whoever is doing the cooking, whilst making helpful suggestions. Don't worry, the kitchen has 3 doors so you can usually make a rapid exit.

In the Covid-19 world, we ask people to avoid leaving food at the end of their stay. This is simply because there is little point in Margaret carrying out the recommended cleaning regime but then leave food used by the previous guests as a potential source of transmission. So, when you are shopping in the Co-op or Tesco in Lerwick or, any one of the three shops on Unst, remember that you will need to get the basics too. You can always take that box of 250 tea bags home with you. The only exception would be washing up liquid; there is always plenty in the cupboard under the sink.

Apart from the stove in the living room, additional heating is provided by electric convector heaters, a new fangled radiator in the hallway (and an extra jumper).

There is also a radio for entertainment purposes. It seems to be stuck on Radio 4. Confusingly, the radio is on the shelves in the living room with the speakers often facing the dividing wall to the kitchen. Sound is just vibrations so the arrangement works suprisingly well. Please note, you cannot use the same method to watch the TV in the kitchen. I think that it uses a different type of vibrations.

Please note that the Shetland pony was NOT added using the magic of photo editing. However, it is true that Jane was standing out of shot with a carrot.

We have had a bit of an upgrade over the last two winters and so hopefully the new kitchen units provide more logical storage and have doors that won't fall off as often.

Unfortunately, only one of us could get up to Hannigarth to open it up this season and so it was I and not Jane that decided which cupboard should hold / hide which things. So, good luck with finding what you need

The sitting room

The (new) stove

What! a small dog on the settee?

The sitting room has sitting down furniture, an (old) TV with freeview, an equally old DVD player and CD player. There is also a table where you can write your memoirs and also move it into the kitchen so that you can seat 6 for meals.

For a couple of years our multifuel stove was replaced with an electric heater cunningly disguised as a wood burner. The chimney collapsed internally over one winter and the gable end needed rebuilding to sort it out. Thankfully, it all got fixed. We decided to keep its name - "Smoky the Badger" as a reminder that it tended to provide an example of the "rain dance effect". This was interesting for those who like to analyse their own behaviour but frankly, was more of a nuisance. "Smoky" would convince people that they had to open the upstairs left-hand bedroom velux 5.7 cm and close the door to the downstairs bedroom before the fire would light without filling the house with acrid smoke. Standing on one leg (usually the left) also helped.

Sadly, "Smoky" started to fall apart last year and so we now have the Mendip Loxton 5. I appreciate that the name isn't very easy to remember. Since I insist on anthropomorphizing things, I have decided to call it either Mendy or possibly Loxy. Jane suggested we call it "the stove". Honestly!

I am afraid that there is no landline at Hannigarth and therefore, there is no internet connection other than through your phone. This is a good thing. No, it really is.

During the "lockdown years", the library of paperbacks that people had donated, together with a useful range of wildlife and history books relevant to Shetland, were all been put into store. We took them all away until such time, it is deemed safe to use them. All that was left was a laminated OS map which could be wiped down with some hand gel. Now that Boris has single-handedly sorted out the virus, the books have been returned to their rightful place in the sitting room.

Finally, that most definitely is not a small fluffy dog on the furniture in the first photo. You are welcome to bring a dog with you but please make sure that they are always on a lead.

The bathroom

The washing facilities

The bathroom has a heated towel rail, a bath (obviously), shower, hand basin and toilet. The switch for the hot water is in the Kitchen. The sewerage for the house, empties into its own septic tank and soakaway. Since we therefore depend on a bunch of friendly microorganisms to dispose of it, try to avoid too many chemicals and non-biodegradeable stuff down the sinks and loo. Bleach is definitely a banned substance.

The bathroom also serves as utility with the washing machine and tumble dryer. The dryer needs its filter emptying every time it is used to work efficiently. There is also an airing space above the washing machine.

If you can, please leave a toilet roll when you go, in case the next people forget to bring one and... well, you know. I am told that sphagnum moss is very absorbant - but also quite acidic.

The bathroom has quite a nice view over the back "garden" towards the farmer's shed. The farmer tells me that there are two sorts of people - those that close the shutters when they are on the loo and those that don't. That was a joke. He actually said that there are three sorts of people.

You may be visited by a farm cat at some point. However, there are also feral cats on Unst so don't make assumptions about feline friendliness.

As with the kitchen, the bathroom has been upgraded this year. There is now an electric shower over the bath.

Double downstairs bedroom

Upstairs bedroom 1

Upstairs bedroom 2

There are three bedrooms: the double in the new extension downstairs and two twins upstairs. The double bedroom is also where you will find the linen and towels, along with hot water bottles and suchlike. The double bed has an electric blanket but don't tell the people sleeping upstairs - they really don't need to know.

The two twin bedrooms are up the stairs between the kitchen and living room. Each has two single beds, a chest of drawers and some space to hang stuff.

I hope you notice that we "dressed" the rooms by making up the beds before taking the photographs. I think Visit Scotland suggested that we should!

As you can see from the picture, the stairs are quite steep so this may dictate who gets to sleep upstairs and may help you decide if the house is suitable for very small children.

However, the main reason for showing them to you is to point out the little cupboard at the top. It contains the electricity supply off switch.

The cupboard used to contain a slot meter which proved very successful at reminding guests about the financial implications of climate change.

However, the meter broke (it was very old) and so we have to rely on your good nature not to use the cooker to heat the kitchen unless you are actually cooking something.

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Richard and Jane King - 28/04/2022