About the end of the 8th century both the Shetlands and Orkneys suffered from the depredations of Norse vikings, or pirates, until Harold Haarfager annexed the islands to Norway in 875.
It is bounded on the east by the North Atlantic, the Norwegian and Greenland Seas-Jan Mayen, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands and the Shetlands being the only lands between it and Norway.
It has been found more convenient to take as northern boundaries the narrowest part of the straits near the Arctic circle, Bering Strait on the Pacific side, and on the Atlantic side the narrowest part of Davis Strait, and of Denmark Strait, then the shortest line from Iceland to the Faeroes, thence to the most northerly island of the Shetlands and thence to Cape Statland in Norway.
Papa Stronsay (16) commemorates in its name, as others of both the Orkneys and Shetlands do, the labours of the Celtic papae, or missionaries, who preached the Christian gospel before the arrival of the Northmen.
Norse pirates having made the islands the headquarters of their buccaneering expeditions indifferently against their own Norway and the coasts and isles of Scotland; Harold Haarfager ("Fair Hair") subdued the rovers in 875 and both the Orkneys and Shetlands to Norway.
In 1468 the Orkneys and Shetlands were pledged by Christian I.
In 1564 Lord Robert Stewart, natural son of James V., who had visited Kirkwall twenty-four years before, was made sheriff of the Orkneys and Shetlands, and received possession of the estates of the udallers; in 1581 he was created earl of Orkney by James IV., the charter being ratified ten years later to his son Patrick, but in 1615 the earldom was again annexed to the crown.
During 6th and 7th centuries, Irish anchorites, in their "passion fc_ solitude," found their way to the Hebrides, Orkneys, Shetlands, Faroes and Iceland, but they were not interested in colonization or geographical knowledge.
In the north of France the average rises to five a year; in the north of Ireland to thirty a year; a little to the north of the Shetlands to one hundred a year.
Between the Shetlands and Iceland we cross the curve of maximum frequency, and farther north the frequency diminishes.
Including the islands, however, the extreme latitude north is 60° 51' 30" (Out Stack in the Shetlands) and the extreme longitude west 8° 35' 30" (St Kilda).
At the same time he heard vaguely of the existence of a large island to the north of it - probably derived from the fact of the Orkneys and Shetlands being really found in that position - to which he gave the name of Thule.
If these figures (16, 17, 18 and 19 hours) are to be pressed, they would refer to, say, Ushant (48° N.), Flamborough Head (54°), Tarbet Ness in Ross (58°) and the northernmost Shetlands (61 °).
In the South Shetlands, and a shelter was rigged up of two boats, where 22 of the party were left under the capable leadership of Mr. Frank Wild, while Shackleton and five companions set out in the third boat, the " James Caird," for the almost desperate attempt to reach South Georgia.
Party first in a small steamer from South Georgia, then in a trawler from Montevideo, then in a little motor schooner from Punta Arenas, all of which were driven back by the ice floes near the South Shetlands, and finally in the " Yelcho," a tug from Punta Arenas, in which he reached the island on Aug.
This is a species of comparatively limited range, breeding only in some two or three localities in the Shetlands, about half a dozen in the Faeroes, 3 and hardly more in Iceland.
On the other hand, in the Shetlands a fine was exacted for its death, as it was believed to protect the sheep against eagles.
4 It is the "Fasgadair" of the Hebrides, the "Shooi" of the Shetlands, and the "Scouti-allen" of the fishermen on the east coast of Scotland.
The actual point meant may be the Orkneys or the Shetlands, or even some fragment of Scotland seen across the water.
The sperm-whale is one of the most widely distributed of animals, being met with, usually in herds or "schools," in almost all tropical and subtropical seas, and occasionally visiting the northern seas, a number having been killed around the Shetlands a few years ago.
Covered with snow for the greater part of the year, and growing nothing but lichens, mosses and some scanty grass, the South Shetlands are of interest almost solely as a haunt of seals, albatrosses, penguins and other sea-fowl.
East of the South Shetlands, bears the name of South Orkney.
His realm was, however, threatened by dangers from without, as large numbers of his opponents had taken refuge, not only in Iceland, then recently discovered, but also in the Orkneys, Shetlands, Hebrides and Faeroes, and in Scotland itself; and from these winter quarters sallied forth to harry Norway as well as the rest of northern Europe.