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Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Culswick (HU276451)
To:  Vidlin (HU478654)
Distance:  26.5 miles (42.6 km)
Meets:  Unclassified, A971, A970, B9075, Unclassified
Highway Authorities

Shetland Islands

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
B9071 Culswick - Effirth
(A971) Effirth - Bixter
B9071 Bixter - Vidlin
This article is about the current B9071 from Culswick to Vidlin on Mainland Shetland.
For the original B9071 from Channerwick to Sumburgh on the same island, see B9071 (Channerwick - Sumburgh)

The B9071 is a secondary road on Shetland Mainland, which crosses from the west to the east coast. Unusually, neither end meets another classified route, although it does cross some in between.


Culswick - Effirth


The route starts by a farm building in the settlement of Culswick. The road continues a short distance south to serve a couple of properties, but maps suggest that there used to be a gate across the road here, which is probably why this otherwise random spot was chosen to end the B road. The route winds eastwards as it climbs across the moor, before straightening up and crossing a couple of cattle grids. It passes to the south of Gossa Water then bears sharply right to zigzag through the village of Easter Skeld. After skirting the northern shore of Skelda Voe, the route climbs again to pass between two hills and then descends towards the coast once more. The hillside drops away quite steeply into Garderhouse Voe, so the road stays quite high above the water as it works its way northwards to the top of the inlet, where there are a scattering of houses.

As the route continues north, heading inland, a right turn leads to the further shore of the Voe and the scattered village of Sand. Presently another sea inlet, The Firth, becomes visible, and while the hillside is not so steep, the road again remains well above the shore. The road curves to the north west and crosses fields to reach Effirth, a tiny settlement at the head of Effirth Voe. It then bears right to reach a T-junction on the A971, from where there's a multiplex east for over a mile. All of this western section of the route is single track, with the passing places getting more widely spaced further west.

Bixter - Voe

After crossing the Bridge of Twatt, the B9071 regains its number by turning left just before the village of Bixter. Now S2 for the first time, the route climbs steeply away from the coast, via a couple of sharp bends, and then bypasses Twatt which lies off to the left. After crossing a summit of 72m, the route straightens out to run across the centre of the island, before narrowing again as it reaches the first few houses of Aith. The road winds down hill and it's not long before an inlet of the north coast is reached - Aith Voe - with the small village of Aith clustered around its head. As the road winds through the village of Aith it briefly regains a centre line, but this disappears again before the last house is passed. The route then curves to the north and runs along the eastern side of Aith Voe, past a scattering of houses, before winding eastwards around East Burra Firth.

At the head of the firth, a bridge carries the road over the Burn of Burrafith. It then sweeps north, climbing across the moors to a summit of nearly 100m, from where it descends towards Gon Firth. Again the road stays above the coast, as it passes a few scattered buildings, before bearing right to bypass another headland. This time the climb is steeper, and longer, reaching a summit of 134m. At the summit, the road follows a very narrow path between the Loch of Gonfirth and a cliff edge and then descends to Voe, on yet another inlet, Olna Firth. Voe itself doesn't seem to be a particularly large village, but the settlements of Hillside and Tagon sit across the water, making quite a large community overall. After passing the village's harbour the road widens again as it climbs to a T-junction on the A970 adjacent to the Loch of Voe. There's then another multiplex for about a quarter of a mile to the right.

Voe - Vidlin

The final section of the B9071 heads east from a T junction on the A970 and curves around the southern side of the Loch of Voe then to the north of Sae Water. This section of road is still S2; it is obvious in places that the road has been upgraded as old alignments, generally closed to traffic, are frequently visible alongside the road's present route. It snakes across the moors to Laxo, where the B9075 forks off to the right. Ahead lies the small Laxo Voe, which opens out into the much larger Dury Voe, on the east coast. The road stays above the shore, however, as it passes a scattering of properties, with a right turn to the Whalsay Ferry pier. The white line then disappears and the road drops to a wide single track, showing that the road was improved to aid inter-island connections.

After passing the Cabin Museum and a few more houses, the route bears left and follows a straight road northwards across the moors. The B9071 then ends at a road junction on the near side of Vidlin but unclassified roads continue from here to serve the Lunna Ness peninsula and also the ferry for the Out Skerries, which leaves from Vidlin pier at the head of Vidlin Voe.


The road was originally unclassified; indeed, the 1923 MoT map shows part of the road as only a track with much of the route between Aith and Voe not even in existence. This may, however, simply be a result of the old base mapping used, and does not necessarily mean that the road was built after 1922. Indeed, the OS One Inch map from c1912 shows that the two ends of the road have progressed as far as East Burrafith and Gonfirth, which were previously only connected by footpaths. However, the B9071 had come into existence along its present route by 1932, making it an early example of a recycled number, and showing that the road was open throughout by then.

Although much of the route is still largely single track and therefore probably not seen much change since the 1930s, the eastern section from Voe to Vidlin has seen some improvements. As noted above, when heading east from the A970 at the Loch of Voe, a series of loops of the old road are quite visible in the landscape, first on one side of the modern S2 road and then on the other. These proceed as far as Laxo, which has been sort of bypassed (it is difficult to call it a bypass when it only misses 4 or 5 properties). There is then a layby a little further along, but the rest of the road has been widened online, until the centre line disappears just beyond the ferry terminal junction.

Related Pictures
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Houses at Semblister - Geograph - 567870.jpg
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B9080 • B9081 • B9082 • B9083 • B9084 • B9085 • B9086 • B9087 • B9088 • B9089 • B9090 • B9091 • B9092 • B9093 • B9094 • B9095 • B9096 • B9097 • B9098 • B9099
Earlier iterations: B9002(E) • B9002(W) • B9003 • B9005 • B9013 • B9014 • B9019 • B9038 • B9040 • B9049 • B9054
B9071 • B9076 • B9077 • B9078 • B9079 • B9080 • B9085 • B9093 • B9095 • B9098

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