‘Slow down, wander and be amazed’ – Malachy Tallack on Fair Isle’s timeless beauty

After living on Fair Isle, the singer and author says visitors should pause to appreciate this tiny island with a big sense of community

Geographically speaking, Fair Isle is the most remote inhabited island in the UK. It’s about 25 miles from the Shetland mainland, and there are many days when no land is visible on the horizon at all. This sense of isolation is amplified when the weather is bad and transport links are cancelled. The little seven-seater plane is vulnerable to both wind and fog, and the island can be cut off for days, sometimes even weeks, particularly in winter.

It is the sense of community that is most affecting about the place. Certainly it was for me in 2003, when I first arrived. It was that sense of a group of about 60 individuals who cared about each other – and about the wellbeing of the place they shared – that helped convince me to move there, which I did two years later. And it’s that sense of inclusiveness and welcome that I miss most now that I don’t live there any longer.

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