HU3368 : Mavis Grind

taken 3 years ago, near to Islesburgh, Shetland Islands, Great Britain

This is 1 of 8 images, with title Mavis Grind in this square
Mavis Grind
Mavis Grind
The Atlantic Ocean is to the left of the road, the North Sea is to the right.
Mavis Grind

Mavis Grind is a narrow strip of land (isthmus), barely 100 foot wide at its narrowest point, which separates the Atlantic Ocean from the North Sea and also joins a large chunk of the north-west mainland to the rest of mainland Shetland. Without it, there would be at least one more Shetland Island.

Researchers believe the Vikings moved their boats across land in order to avoid the hazardous journey round the tip of mainland Shetland (LinkExternal link BBC News). The name Mavis Grind derives from the Old Norse: Mæfeiðs grind or the Norwegian Mæveiðs grind meaning "gate of the narrow isthmus".

Since then, various cargoes have made the crossing but the route is probably best known as “a boat draa” where mariners avoided the long and, at times dangerous, journey around north mainland by hauling their vessel overland instead. The crossing was used regularly until the 1950s.

An information board at the site claims that “Mavis Grind is possibly the only place in the United Kingdom where you can stand at the side of the Atlantic Ocean and throw a stone overland into the North Sea”. I did not try this (not least because if the stone fell short, it could hit any passing traffic on the A970 which crosses the isthmus).

Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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HU3368, 31 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Sunday, 23 September, 2018   (more nearby)
Saturday, 29 September, 2018
Geographical Context
Camera (from Tags)
Panasonic DC-G9 
Road (from Tags)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! HU 339 684 [100m precision]
WGS84: 60:23.9066N 1:23.1337W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! HU 339 683
View Direction
North-northwest (about 337 degrees)
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Other Tags
Shetland  Hills  Welcome Sign  Isthmus 

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Image Type (about): geograph 
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