Northmavine or Northmaven (Old Norse: Norðan Mæfeið, meaning ‘the land north of the Mavis Grind’) is a peninsula on the northernmost part of the Shetland mainland in Scotland.[4] The peninsula has historically formed the civil parish Northmavine. The modern Northmavine community council area has the same extent. The area of the parish is given as 204.1 km2.[5]


The peninsula includes the northernmost part of Mainland, and the civil parish, spelt Northmaven, comprises a number of adjacent islands, and measures 16 miles (26 km) by 8 miles (13 km). Northmavine is in the north west of the island, and contains the villages of Hillswick, Ollaberry, and North Roe.[6]

An isthmus, Mavis Grind (Mæfeiðs grind), about a hundred yards across, forms the sole connection with the rest of Mainland. The coast is indented by numerous bays and consists largely of high, steep rocks. It has a number of high, fissured, cavernous cliffs on the west coast and consists of many skerries, islets, and offshore rocks. The interior has a very small amount of arable land; it consists mostly of rough, rising ground, including Ronas Hill, the highest point in all Shetland.[7]

Esha Ness Lighthouse is situated on the Northmavine peninsula. Tangwick Haa Museum preserves the history of Northmavine. Remains of ancient watch houses and remains of barrows and forts are also numerous.[8][9]


At the provisional population census conducted in March 2017, the population numbered 741, yielding a population density of 3.6 per km2, which is the second lowest in Shetland, after Fetlar.[citation needed]

Population of Northmavine [10]
1931 ... 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001 2011
1343 ... 816 696 898 878 841 741


  • This article incorporates text from Wilson, Rev. John The Gazetteer of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1882) Published by W. & A.K. Johnstone.


  1. ^ "Parish of Northmaven". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  2. ^ Shetland in Statistics (PDF) (Report) (42 ed.). Economic Development / Shetland Islands Council. 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
  3. ^ Graham, John J. (2010) [1979]. "oily muggie". Shetland ForWirds. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  4. ^ Northmavine (Shetland Heritage)
  5. ^ Gazetteer for Scotland: Parish of Northmaven
  6. ^ Northmavine (Undiscovered Scotland)
  7. ^ About Northmavine (About Northmavine)
  8. ^ Eshaness (Northern Lighthouse Board)
  9. ^ Tangwick Haa Museum (Undiscovered Scotland)
  10. ^ Shetland in Statistics (PDF) (Report) (42 ed.). Economic Development / Shetland Islands Council. 2017. Retrieved 15 October 2019.

Related Reading

  • Guy, Peter (2006) Northmavine (Walking the Coastline of Shetland) (Shetland Times Ltd) ISBN 978-1904746171

External links

Coordinates: 60°30′N 1°24′W / 60.500°N 1.400°W / 60.500; -1.400

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