I`ll be honest, I really can`t be doing with a bathroom down the hallway any more, so when we went to Fair Isle the FIBO (Fair Isle Bird Observatory) was the only choice for us. But as it happened for, what it is (it`s a hostel not a hotel), we were well satisfied. My ratings are for a hostel and as such it gets 5 stars.
FIBO has only just been built, so everything is lovely and new.
The room was reasonably large and comfortable, and it was en suite !
The meals are eaten altogether in one sitting, so there won`t be any romantic candle lit dinners here and there isn`t really a choice of dish either, but bearing in mind it`s mass catering and everything has to come by ferry, the food was actually pretty good. My wife doesn`t eat meat but she was also happy, which obviously makes me the husband happy too !
We found everyone to be pretty friendly, everyone gets on no problem.
Ever since we decided we`d like to go to Fair Isle we felt we should go by ferry, though it`s a pretty small one (see photo) and the sea can get a bit rough, but surprisingly I felt fine on the Good Shepherd, despite sick on the large ferry to Lerwick on a rough crossing a few days before (the other times we`ve been on the latter it was fine though). We flew back (to Tingwall) though, partly because the weather forecast was bad and partly because the flight on a little Britten Norman Islander sounded interesting (see photo), and it was, great views of the west side of Shetland from 1000ft. The plane is a bit more expensive than the ferry though, about £4 v £35 each, and, theoretically, there`s a 15Kg baggage limit on the plane. FIBO will pick you up and drop you off at either the ferry terminal or the airfield.
Fair Isle is a fasinating place to go, even for a non "birder", though at 3m x 2m there`s only so much to see. I`d have thought that a non birder would find 2 or 3 days the kind of stay to aim for. Make sure you see the Puffins, everyone thinks they`re cute, except the fish, obviously.
Go to Fair Isle, not many people have, so it`s always a conversation starter !
- 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