Information on the Bod of Nesbister for the interested traveller
Contrary to the Shetland Amenity Trust's regularly updated website, the Nesbister camping böd is in fact open for public use.
I stayed in the Böd for five weeks in summer 2006 and met only two other groups staying therein, and felt that the paucity of information demanded some presence on the web, which may entice people to visit this beautiful place!
The böd was originally a fishing warehouse where salt and other paraphernalia would be stored, but fell into disrepair with the advent of refrigeration and large-scale fishing - though fishing boats and lobster potters still frequent the voe (sea inlet) alongside.
It was restored to a degree around the war, and used mainly by islanders as a holiday location, the grassy surround being converted into a golf course and tennis green, and peerie boats being made for recreation...
In 2004 the private owner allowed the property to pass into the ownership of the Shetland Amenity Trust, who restored , reroofed and refloored the building, and now let it out to the public.
The böd is perhaps the most basic of those available, having no more than an outdoor tap and chemical toilet.
However this only adds to its charm, and a night spent by candlelight in front of the chiminea is always one to remember.
The böd also contains a cupboard full of dusty glasses, cutlery and crockery, and enough seats and tables for more than the four people it has bunks for.
A pair of 'reclaimed' hammocks are also available, and rather comfortable besides!
Long-term residents will want to befriend the brushes as dust - and thus a whole range of beetles - quickly accumulate. Leaving anything paper too close to the windowsill will result in its prompt digestion by some nasty bug!
Additionally the brave may want to try the rabbit trap!
The böd is situated at the very end of the Nesbister road, beyond the 'waste water treatment plant'. Those with Google Earth can locate it by viewing this waypoint, and old-fashioned map users will find it at HU394449.
It sits in the centre of what some call 'the best view in Shetland', on Whiteness Voe, best appreciated in the warm confines of the Westings Inn on Wormadale hill, if the fog's not too thick!
It's about 15-30 minutes by pushbike from said inn (depending which way you're going), and a well stocked shop in Whiteness itself is a similar distance away.
Of course the best part of its location is the wildlife - a flock of ponies will come to your front door at times, and occasionally seals are to be spotted in the voe. Beware, though - tirricks, Arctic terns, nesst on the shingle beach and if your driftwood-collecting missions take you too close you will be bombed and dive-bombed! Holding a stick above your head protects you from the beasts but not their 'projectiles' -an umbrella can be handy!
The crystal clear waters around are excellent for swimming, and not as cold as one may think - they are warmest at around 8pm. The view down of crabs, guppies and starfish is quite spectacular.
The current booking system is somewhat of a shambles.
One can book centrally through the Shetland Amenity Trust, which is generally difficult and awkward; alternatively, since its level of use is so low, it may be easier just to turn up and find the custodian, Ingrid Eunson - her phone number is displayed in the böd, and the staff of the Westings will be able to direct you to her home. Generally even if the böd is full (which didn't happen all of 2006) you will be able to talk any residents into letting you sleep in a hammock...
The böd costs £6 per night, payable in advance.
If you feel I've missed anything from this website or have questions about the böd, feel free to e-mail me at MartinS@gmail,com.
To get a feel for the place, you are also welcome to look at a collection of images from Shetland in my album here.