Yell is one of the North Isles of Shetland Islands, being the second largest after Mainland, and has a population of approximately 1000 people. It is 20 miles long by 5 miles wide. The landscape is largely made up of moorland and peat bog, giving some credence to the fact that its name derives from the Old Norse for 'barren'. Many people simply cross Yell in order to reach the tourist sites of Unst, but the island is not seen to its advantage from the main A968 road and many of its attractive sites are off 'B' roads. Yell is probably the best location in United Kingdom to see wild otters, and their debris is often seen scattered around the foreshore. In addition there are many seabirds and the possibility of spotting marine mammals.
Yell is reached from Mainland by roll-off/roll-on ferries which run regularly from early in the morning until late at night (though note that certain less frequented trips will only run if there are prior bookings). Ferries leave from Toft, 25 miles north of Lerwick. Boards on the A970 just out of Lerwick give information on whether the ferries are running (which in the case of extreme weather they may not be). Follow the signs to 'The North Isles'(Toft). The ferry terminals on this route are extremely basic, no more than a small waiting room with toilets and a timetable. Allocation of space on the ferry for cars is by lane, with one being for pre-booked traffic which takes priority over other vehicles. In spite of the instructions on the timetable it is seldom necessary to book except at peak periods. The ferry to Yell (Ulsta) takes around 20 minutes and you are able to leave your vehicle and go up to the observation deck where there are refreshment machines and a good view over the sound (with the possibility of whale spotting). The ferry takes foot passengers and bicycles and it is possible to reach Yell by bus from Lerwick (service 24).
The main road on Yell is the A968 which runs the length of the island to the Unst ferry at Gutcher and on to Gloup at the extreme north of the island. As usual in Shetland it is well maintained and generally carries very little traffic (more when a ferry has just arrived). Off the main route, many of the roads are single track with passing places and unfenced (watch out for sheep). Public transport on the island is a bit limited, though service 26 runs between Cullivoe and Mid-Yell with some buses stopping elsewhere Shetland Bus Timetables
Walking, beachcombing, birdwatching, otter spotting.
There are not many places to eat in Yell, though there are a few shops where you can put together a picnic.
The Wind Dog Cafe will soon be licensed to sell alcohol.
There are various Bed and Breakfast and self-catering options. There is also a camping Bod (basic shared accommodation with fire and showers) at the Windhouse Lodge.
This is a remote rural area and is extremely safe.