You can catch a glimpse of the northern lights on this Scottish island

Sandbar, known as a tombolo, connecting St Ninian's Isle with the mainland of the Shetland Islands
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)


Earlier this year, the northern lights made a rare appearance across the UK. However, many city dwellers and those living in areas with high light pollution missed out on this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.

But don't fret, there are still ways to witness the awe-inspiring sights of the aurora borealis in the UK, which could also serve as the perfect staycation idea.

St Ninian's Isle, a tied island connected to Shetland in Scotland by a tombolo, is one of the prime locations to view the northern lights in the UK. Its remote location and lack of inhabitants mean there's minimal light pollution to obstruct the view.

The status of St Ninian's as an island or a peninsula has been a topic of debate due to its tombolo occasionally being submerged by the sea. Regardless of whether you can walk or need a boat to reach it, it remains a breathtakingly beautiful place.

The last inhabitants of St Ninian's left in 1796, and the closest village now is Bigton, situated on Shetland's mainland, reports the Mirror.

Aurora borealis in Scotland, Shetland Islands in winter
The northern lights are sometimes visible on St Ninian's and the surrounding islands -Credit:Getty Images

Despite being uninhabited for over two centuries, the island was not always deserted. Archaeological digs have unearthed Neolithic graves, indicating past habitation.

Ruins of a 12th-century chapel dedicated to Saint Ninian of Galloway, the Patron Saint of the Shetland Islands, after whom St Ninian's Isle was named, can also be found on the island.

Further excavations revealed that this wasn't the first chapel on the site, with evidence of a pre-Norse chapel's wall being discovered.

View over 12th-century chapel ruins on St Ninian's Isle
Although St Ninian's is now uninhabited, there were settlements on the island for much of its history -Credit:Philippe Clement/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On 4 July 1958, a treasure trove of silver metalwork from the Early Medieval period was unearthed during an archaeological dig. It's thought that this was a family collection, likely stashed away in the church for safekeeping.

The fate of the original owners of St Ninian's treasure remains a mystery, but the artefacts can now be seen at the National Museum of Scotland.

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