Lerwick (/ˈlɜːrwɪk/) (Scottish Gaelic: Liùrabhaig, Norwegian:
Leirvik) is the main port of
Shetland Islands, Scotland. It is centred
123 miles (200 km) off the north coast of the Scottish mainland
and on the east coast of the
Lerwick is 211 miles
(340 km) north-by-northeast of Aberdeen, 222 miles (357 km)
west of the similarly sheltered port of
Norway and 228 miles
(367 km) south east of
Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands.[n 1]
Lerwick, Shetland's only burgh, had a population of about 7,500
residents in 2010.
Lerwick is also the second largest island
settlement in Scotland, and is the most northerly and most easterly
Scotland (there are other large settlements more northerly in
Shetland, most notably the village of Brae).
One of the UK's coastal weather stations is in the settlement.
4 Industry and economy
5 Power Supply
6 Notable buildings
8 Schools and education
9 Hospitals and healthcare
14 Places of worship
16 See also
17 Notes and references
18 External links
Lerwick is a name with roots in Old Norse and its local descendant,
Norn, which was spoken in
Shetland until the mid-19th century. The
name "Lerwick" means bay of clay. The corresponding Norwegian name is
Leirvik, leir meaning clay and vik meaning "bay" or "inlet". Towns
with similar names exist in southwestern
Norway (Leirvik, Lervik) and
Faroe Islands (Leirvík).
Evidence of human settlement in the
Lerwick area dates back 3,000
years, centred on the Broch of Clickimin, which was constructed in the
first century BC.
The first settlement to be known as
Lerwick was founded in the 17th
century as a herring and white fish seaport to trade with the Dutch
fishing fleet. This settlement was on the mainland (west) side of
Bressay Sound, a natural harbour with south and north entrances
Shetland mainland and the island of Bressay.
This collection of wooden huts was burned to the ground twice: once in
the 17th century by the residents of
Scalloway on the western side of
Mainland, then the capital of Shetland, who disapproved of the immoral
and drunken activities of the assembled fishermen and sailors; and
again in 1702 by the French fleet.
Fort Charlotte was built in the mid 17th century on Lerwick’s
waterfront, and permanent stone-built buildings began to be erected
around the fort and along the shoreline. The principal concentration
of buildings was in the "lanes" area: a steep hillside stretching from
the shoreline to Hillhead at the top.
Lerwick became capital of the
Shetland Islands in 1708, taking over
the function from Scalloway. The civil parish of
Lerwick had been in
1701 created from a small part of the parish of Tingwall, to which
Scalloway still belongs. When
Lerwick became more prosperous through
sea trade and the fishing industry during the 19th century, the town
expanded in 1891 to the west of Hillhead, thereby including the former
civil parishes of
Gulberwick and Quarff, as well as the islands parish
Town Hall was built during this period of expansion.
Lerwick war memorial dates from 1923 and was designed by Sir Robert
The next period of significant expansion was during the North Sea oil
boom of the 1970s when large housing developments were built to the
north of Staney Hill (located in Lerwick) and to the south (Nederdale
Lerwick has an oceanic climate (Cfb) closely bordering on the subpolar
oceanic climate (Cfc) with cool to cold temperatures all year long.
The lack of trees resembles the latter type. This is particularly
pronounced by virtue of
Lerwick being on a small isolated island, so
even extreme temperature records are subdued; the record high stands
at just 23.4 °C (74.1 °F) (July 1991) and the record low
just −8.9 °C (16.0 °F) (January 1952 and January 1959).
Lerwick is also a very cloudy town, averaging only 1,110 sunshine
hours annually. February is the coldest month, with high temperatures
averaging around 5.5 °C (41.9 °F). In August, the warmest
month, average high temperatures are near 14.5 °C
(58.1 °F). This produces an extremely narrow difference for an
area north of the 60 parallel. In terms of average monthly
precipitation, October to January are the year's wettest months, with
over 5.5 inches of precipitation each month; May and June are the
driest months, with average monthly precipitation less than 2.3 inches
each. Snowfall can occur, primarily from December to March, but snow
accumulation is rarely heavy and usually short-lived. The exposed
North Atlantic location and proximity to autumn and winter storm
tracks means high winds are a regular occurrence, alongside high
levels of cloudiness and precipitation. The weather station is at an
elevation of 82 metres (269 ft), so temperatures are likely to
be slightly milder in the town centre at sea level.
Owing to its northerly location, winter months are extremely dark in
Lerwick. On the day of the winter solstice it gets only 5 hours and 49
minutes of daylight. In sharp contrast daylight lasts 18 hours and
55 minutes on the day of the summer solstice. As a result, nights
never get completely dark for a period of time in summer, with dark
blue elements remaining in the sky. The maritime influence tempers the
climate effects of these swings in daylight, but in many areas of the
world this latitude has hostile winters. Farther north in the world,
Faroe Islands have such high January averages as
Shetland station at
Baltasound – with the warm Atlantic
currents preventing ice formation. Only when temperatures in
continental areas are record cold does
Lerwick experience some cold as
was the case in December 2010 during the severe cold wave affecting
the British Isles and Europe that covered much of England in snow.
Even so, average highs remained above 3 °C (37 °F) and
frosts were light. Even warm summers are also extremely rare with the
warmest recorded month being July 2006 at an average high of
16 °C (61 °F).
Climate data for Lerwick, elevation: 82 m or 269 ft
(1981-2010) extremes (1930-present)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)
Average snowy days
Average relative humidity (%)
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Met Office NOAA (relative humidity and snow days
Source #2: KNMI
Lerwick has 6,958 residents, as of 2011. It is 97.0% White (83.3%
White Scottish, 8.9% White Other British, 2.6% White Other, 1.4% White
Polish, 0.8% White Irish), 2.2% Asian or Asian Scottish or British
Asian, and 0.8% Other ethnic groups. Lerwick's residents are 2.5%
unemployed, 17.3% are part-time employees, and 50.3% are full-time
Industry and economy
Lerwick is a busy fishing and ferry port. The harbour also services
vessels supporting the offshore oil industry.
Main power supply is from
Lerwick Power Station
Lerwick Power Station located in Gremista.
Significant buildings in
Lerwick include Fort Charlotte,
Hall, the Böd of Gremista,
Shetland Museum and Archives and Clickimin
Because of the historic nature of the area, some scenes from BBC's
Shetland (TV series) were filmed in Lerwick.
Lerwick is served by the
Tingwall Airport located a few miles away and
Sumburgh Airport that is further south and flies all year to some
Northlink Ferries operate a daily overnight ferry service between
Lerwick and Aberdeen, regularly calling in to
Kirkwall in the Orkney
Shetland Islands Council operate a ro-ro ferry service to Out
Bressay from a terminal in the centre of the town.
The local bus service is provided by the Regional Transport
Partnership ZetTrans and operated by a number of different local bus
Schools and education
Lerwick has three schools; Bell's
Brae Primary School, Sound Primary
School and Anderson High School.
Shetland College, a constituent partner institution of the University
of the Highlands and Islands, is also based in the town, offering
degree-level education (among other further education courses) to
locals who may have difficulty travelling further afield to study (the
next closest university-level institution is the University of
Aberdeen, a twelve-hour boat journey away).
Hospitals and healthcare
Gilbert Bain Hospital provides secondary care services to all of
Lerwick Health Centre is situated across the South Road
from the hospital. The Montfield Hospital a few hundred metres away is
an older hospital than the Gilbert Bain, but has become a secondary
health care service for the people of
Lerwick over time.
The town is home to four football teams,
Lerwick Spurs, Lerwick
Lerwick Celtic and
Local independent radio station
SIBC broadcasts daily from a studio in
Market Street. BBC Radio Shetland, a BBC Radio
Scotland regional opt
out, has its studios in Pitt Lane. The
Shetland Times, a weekly local
newspaper, has its premises in Gremista on the northern outskirts of
Lerwick. Millgaet Media Group, a multi-media production company that
Shetland Television, is based at the North Ness Business
Lerwick has strong ties with Scandinavian countries, particularly
Lerwick has a friendship agreement with
Måløy in Norway),
and this is reflected in the street names of
Lerwick (e.g., King
Harald Street, King Haakon Street).
Lerwick is the focus of most events in Shetland, including the largest
of the annual
Up Helly-Aa fire festivals which takes place on the last
Tuesday of January every year.
Places of worship
There are several churches in Lerwick, including:
Adam Clarke Memorial Methodist Church (a congregation of the Methodist
Church of Great Britain).
Assemblies of God.
Baptist Church, Clairmont Place. 
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Emmanuel Christian Fellowship. 
St. Columba's Church – one of three buildings of
Lerwick and Bressay
Parish Church (part of the Church of Scotland). 
St. Magnus' Church, Greenfield Place (part of the Scottish Episcopal
Eben Ezer Gospel Hall, Brethren Church
St. Margaret's Roman Catholic Church.
Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses.
In the nineteenth century there were more churches in Lerwick
including a Free Church on South Hill Head.
Lerwick from Bressay
Lerwick from Fort Charlotte
Leirvik – a town on the island of
Stord in Norway.
Leirvík – a village on the island of Eysturoy, one of the Faroe
Leirvik, in the county of Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.
Lervik - a village in the municipality of Fredrikstad, Norway.
Lervik, Båstad Municipality - a village by the Skälderviken bay on
the Bjärehalvön peninsula, Sweden.
Notes and references
^ 1901 - Ordnance gazetteer of
Scotland (1065) Page 1057
^ a b Scotland's Census 2011, National Records of Scotland, 2011.
^ "Visit.Shetland.org". Visit Shetland. Retrieved 25 December
^ Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Robert Lorimer
Lerwick climate information".
Lerwick climate information.
Retrieved 9 August 2015.
Lerwick sunrise and sunset - December". Sunrise and Sunset.
Retrieved 27 October 2015.
^ "Sunrise and sunset for
Lerwick - June". Sunrise and Sunset.
Retrieved 27 October 2015.
^ "Met Office Station Data for Lerwick". Met Office. Retrieved 27
^ "Met Office Station Data for Lerwick". Met Office. Retrieved 27
Lerwick 1981-2010 Averages". Met Office. Retrieved 30 January
Lerwick 1961-1990". NOAA. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
^ "Manchester ringway extreme values". KNMI. Retrieved 30 January
^ "Street Closed for Fiming Television Crime Series".
9 April 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
^ "Routes and destinations". Shetland.gov. Retrieved 19 August
^ "Shetland's Transport Partnership Website". Retrieved 27 October
^ "25 inch 1892-1949". National Library of Scotland. Ordnance Survey.
Retrieved 26 October 2017.
^ All of these distances are greater by sea as there is are varying
amounts of intervening land
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lerwick.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Lerwick.
Listen to recordings of a speaker of
Weir's Way visits Lerwick
Shetland in Statistics, published by
Shetland Islands Council 2006
Brae Primary School
Sound Primary School
Anderson High School
SIBC – Official Website
Northlink Ferries – Official Website
Smyril Line – Official Website
Linga, Muckle Roe
Towns and villages
Walls and Sandness
St Magnus Bay
West Voe of Sumburgh
The Skerry, off Fair Isle
Waster Hoevda, Foula