Fifty miles north-east of Orkney, Shetland boasts striking coastlines, unspoilt beaches and a history stretching back to the Iron Age. With a tiny population of just over 22,000, mostly concentrated in and around the main town of Lerwick, Shetland has more than 100 different islands, many of them uninhabited. With great archaeological areas of interest throughout the isles, an insight into Shetland's ancient past can be sampled by heading to Jarlshof on the mainland. For more recent insights into the mists of time the Muness Castle from the 16th century brings the isles' less ancient history into sharp relief. With long summer nights and equally lengthy winters, Shetland is a unique part of the British Isles both in terms of its remoteness, and its Scottish and Scandinavian heritage combining to create a fascinating living culture.