Wullver's Hool, Halligarth, Baltasound, Unst

Key Details

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Charming single storey cottage of significant local importance having been the home of renowned Shetland author Jessie Saxby, at Baltasound on Britain’s most northerly inhabited island.

Dating from the 1890’s, this primarily stone-built detached property is set in around ½ acre and enjoys an open aspect and a fine view over the surrounding countryside to the voe of Balta Sound and the island of Balta in the background.

The property is relatively unaltered and has well-proportioned accommodation comprising a living room, three further rooms and a bathroom plus what was a kitchen in a side extension. However it now requires complete renovation, and replacement of the side extension, which is reflected in the price, but with sympathetic restoration and upgrading it offers potential for an attractively situated modern home of some character.

The island of Unst which boasts stunning scenery, a rich history, an abundance of wildlife and an excellent range of amenities given its remote location, is connected to mainland Shetland by a regular ro-ro ferry service via the neighbouring island of Yell.

A Home Report is not required for this property.

General Information

‘Wullver’s Hool’ is situated in the scattered settlement of Baltasound in the centre of the island of Unst, Britain’s most northerly inhabited island.

Overlooking the voe of Balta Sound, the village is the main population centre on the island and the location of its main amenities. Although measuring just 12 miles long by 5 miles wide, the population of around 700 benefit from a range of amenities probably far in excess of what might be expected given the remote location, these including several local shops and a post office, junior high school (primary and secondary education to year 4), a superb leisure centre / swimming pool with 12.5 x 5m pool, games hall, squash court, gym, multi-court & football pitch, a doctor’s surgery, garage, small hotel and pier / marina.

The island is renowned for its dramatic coastline and stunning rugged landscape, its Viking heritage and a rich variety of bird and other wildlife. There are many places of interest making it a popular tourist destination, in particular Hermaness National Nature Reserve a few minutes’ drive from the house, Keen of Hamar Reserve just along the road, Muckle Flugga Lighthouse, Muness Castle, and fine beaches at Norwick, Skaw, Sandwick, Westing & Burrafirth.

A regular ro-ro ferry service connects Unst with Mainland Shetland, ferries running throughout the day from Belmont at the south end of Unst, to Gutcher on the neighbouring island of Yell (10 minute crossing), and from Ulsta at the south end of Yell to Toft on Mainland Shetland (20 minute crossing), Toft being situated about 27 miles north of Lerwick, Shetland’s main town which can be reached in around 2½ hours.

The Shetland Islands themselves, the most northerly part of the United Kingdom, are located approximately 100 miles north of Aberdeen and 200 miles west of Bergen, Norway.

With over 100 islands of which 12 are inhabited, Shetland is home to around 22,000 people and offers a vibrant and safe community which enjoys dramatic and unspoilt scenery and an abundance of wildlife.

A daily overnight ferry service from Lerwick operated by Northlink Ferries provides a sea link to mainland Scotland.

Flybe operates direct flights from Sumburgh at the south end of Shetland, to Aberdeen, Edinburgh & Glasgow. Islanders are currently entitled to discounted travel on both.


The Property

The property is a charming, mainly stone-built detached cottage with a number of interesting features, understood to date from the 1890’s.

The house is of considerable local significance as the home of one of Shetland’s most prolific and celebrated authors, Jessie M E Saxby, who lived there until her death in 1940. Jessie Saxby’s father was Dr Laurence Edmondston, renowned medical practitioner and naturalist. Jessie’s husband was Dr Henry L Saxby, ornithologist and (posthumous) author of The Birds of Shetland. It is hoped that a project to restore nearby Halligarth House to provide a visitor and resource library / learning centre, will commence soon.

Although requiring complete renovation to bring it up to a modern standard, the building is relatively unaltered and could be sensitively restored and upgraded to form a comfortable modern home. The mostly wood-lined main part of the house provides single storey accommodation with four well-proportioned rooms plus a bathroom housed in a rear extension. There is presently a later extension to the west side although this part of the property requires replacement.

There is a mains electricity and water supply. Drainage is presumed to be to a soakaway but it is likely that a new septic tank will be required as part of renovations to comply with modern regulations.

The property is being sold in its current condition and no warranties will be given in respect of any contents or services.

Although not specifically listed, due to its considerable local significance the sale will be covered by a Conservation Agreement with the National Trust for Scotland to ensure that the external features and character of the building are retained. Alterations to the property would be subject to any necessary consents required.

Entrance Vestibule & Hall

Entry is to the south-east (sea) side of the house where the front door opens to a vestibule (approx. 2.4m x 1.45m) (7’10” x 4’10”) with doors to the living room and the hall (approx. 4.15m x 1.45m) (13’8” x 4’10”) which leads to three further rooms and a rear lobby and bathroom.

Living Room

(Approx. 3.9m x 3.9m) (12’9” x 12’9”) South-east facing room with a door to what was the kitchen housed in a side extension.

Bedroom 1

(Approx. 3.95m x 3.9m) (13’ x 12’9”) Again with window to the south-east.

Bedroom 2

(Approx. 4m x 2.65m) (13’ x 8’8”) Facing north-west.

Bedroom 3

(Approx. 3.9m x 2.65m) (12’9” x 8’8”) Facing south-west.

Rear Lobby

(Approx. 1.6m x 0.85m) (5’4” x 2’9”)


(Approx. 2.15m x 1.75m) (7’1” x 5’10”)


Access to the property is over a shared tarred drive from the public road which leads up to the house which sits in a large site estimated to extend to around to around ½ acre or thereby (approx. 0.22ha). The site is overgrown but has the potential to provide an attractive setting for the house with a lot of outside space.

Property Location

To reach the house drive into Baltasound passing the care centre on the right. Continue to the ‘T’ junction and turn right to Haroldswick. Pass the two estates on the left, Nikkavord Lea & Setters Hill. The access to ‘Wullver’s Hool’ is the next turning on the left after Setters Hill, the track leading first to a modern house and then beyond to ‘Wullver’s Hool’.

To see the location of the property in an overall Shetland context, adjust the zoom by clicking the + or - buttons. Use the 'Map', 'Satellite' & 'Hybrid' buttons to switch between an ordnance survey style road map, a satellite aerial photograph or a combination (hybrid) of the two. Please note that the date of the satellite image is unknown and may not show new buildings.

(Please be aware the Google Street View was taken on the date shown. The building and surroundings may have changed since then. We always recommend you view the property personally.)

We were very impressed with your professional manner and always keeping us up to date with progress.

Lee Thompson

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