Record number of visitors to Hermaness

Hermaness Nature Reserve in Unst recorded its best ever year for visitors in 2023.

Around 12,000 people visited after an extensive upgrade to the reserve’s facilities, including a new boardwalk, information hub and visitor shelter.

And Noss returned to normal following Covid and bird flu restrictions, with almost 1,600 heading across the sound.

NatureScot, which manages the two reserves, said its staff were relieved that no bonxies and just one gannet had been recorded with bird flu in 2023.

However, the Scottish government body said they were still seeing the ongoing effects of last year’s bird flu epidemic.

Bonxies were down by 85 per cent at Noss and 78 per cent at Hermaness this year.

Shetland’s NatureScot officer Juan Brown said they could see “the toll the virus has taken” on bonxies and gannets in the isles.

“In more positive news, we were delighted to welcome a record number of visitors to Hermaness this year.

“It was great to see so many people out and about enjoying the new boardwalk and facilities.

“The visitor centre at Noss has also been given an end-of-season refresh, with new information panels on the island’s seabirds and marine life, and we look forward to unveiling the new display in 2024.”


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