Other reviewers had mentioned the warmth and comfort of the FIBO but I wasn't sure that I would agree with them. They did not however exaggerate...excellent beds, fresh decor, ensuite showers and warm radiators/towel rails. A must if you have been outside all day. We flew from Tingwall (the council operated airport in Lerwick ) and stayed for two nights (family of 5 with three teenagers). The days were packed with activity if you wanted it; a 7am trap run and ringing session, an evening archaeology walk with the v nice lady (Pat) from the museum, puffin watching, walks to the north and south lighthouses, visits to the fair isle knitwear ladies whose star for us is the hugely talented Mati Ventrillon. We had clear blue skies for all three days and felt very lucky. A quiet time (July ) for migratory birds but we were happy with the range of birds that we did see and watching the puffins at close range was probably the highlight for us.
as previously mentioned..really tip top and I am a fussy vegetarian. Lots of meat for those who want it but interesting and delicious alternatives. Breakfast- (always porridge and cereals)one morning I had a delicious, delicately spiced oatmeal and onion patty with egg, supper some tiny squashes and courgette in batter with a reduced tomato sauce and new potatoes and choice of three veg. Final evening was Chinese. I'd let them know if advance that I had special dietary requirements. We had a nice packed lunch (cheese and pickle sandwiches, apple juice, piece of fruit and a kit Kat) provided by the bird obs (included in price). People who had gone back for lunch had macaroni cheese. My daughters enjoyed the cocoa and cake at 9pm!
Staff-you have to remember that it is a hostel and that the staff who work there, live there and share facilities. These people are generally volunteers or working for the rspb so there is a certain amount of Them and Us which can be rather disconcerting. This comment does not apply to the warden and his wife who are rather more solicitous and friendly.
We flew back on the Saturday at 11.30am which flies back into sumburgh rather than Tingwall. This is worth noting as it makes life easier with connecting flights. If you have time to kill go to Jarlshoff next to the sumburgh hotel (all walking distance from airport). Allow plenty of time at check in at sumburgh. A quiet airport but the check in staff were painfully slow and the security also. I had the same clothes on that I'd flown up in and the same rucksack and belongings and yet everything seemed to set off their alarms. It took us over an hour to check in & clear security for a Flybe plane taking about twenty people with three people on check in. We might have just had a bad experience but I thought it worth mentioning as similar airports like Kirkwall are the opposite.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Observatory Guest House provides a great base for exploring the stunning coastal scenery and fascinating history of Fair Isle, with comfortable en-suite full-board accommodation and wonderful views from the lounge-bar out over the sea to Fair Isle's iconic Sheep Rock. As part of Fair Isle Bird Observatory the Guest House also provides visitors with unique opportunities to see bird ringing with the wardens, learn about the wildlife of the isle and perhaps find a rare bird or two passing through on migration. ... more less