(Click for images around Hoswick )
Hoswick is the most westerly of a collection of villages that make up the parish of Sandwick. It was formerly a fishing village, originally using open yoals or sixareens based at "Da Nowst" where there is still a pier, then from the early 1900's using bigger sail then motorised boats based at the busy nearby "Broonie's Taing" harbour, which fell into disuse in the late 1930's. There was an attemp to revive that harbour in the 1970's as an oil base, when two large warehouses were built and the slip restored, but those are not commercially used presently.
Hoswick was also the base of late L J Smith's traditional shetland knitwear and shetland tweed business, where he erected a weaving shed and knitwear-processing base (most knitwear being produced by home knitters) when that was booming in the 1960's, when the typical sound in Hoswick was the clatter of the looms, and the village bustled with home knitters bringing their orders and picking up materials, and he also ran a general store. Shetland tweed (a soft light tweed, formerly commanding premium prices) is not produced in much quantity these days, and the former weaving shed has been redeveloped as the Hoswick visitor centre (see also this link), an interpretive centre for the area (see also the Boat Shed at Leebiton on the east of the parish for more local interpretation) which has a cafe which is open in the summer months. The knitwear centre is still operating as Laurence Odie Knitwear and has invested in machines for producing garments on the premises, and has a shop. There is also a small designer knitwear business Nielanell operating nearby, well worth a visit.
Hoswick is set on a sheltered bay facing south east, opening up to a wider bay inside "Da Haelicks" headland beyond Broonie's Taing and Cumliewick beach in the east, and looks across to Levenwick beach and village in the west: Channerwick is on another bay, round the point (or over the hill). The left (east) side of the bay at Hoswick is composed of sandstone while the right (west) side of the bay is metamorphic and heavily mineralised, from which the quartz pebbles and boulders commonly found on the beach are derived. The bay has a sandy bottom and, depending on the recent wind, the sand may accumulate on the beach but usually is exposed at low tide where it may form a sandbank (the whiggysand) on the east side of the beach where the burn runs into the sea. The Nowst (nowst or noost - where boats are pulled up) is at the west side of the bay, and has a shallow-draft pier usable by yoals and dinghys, but few boats are kept there these days (more at Leebiton, most moored in the marina or voe at Cunningsburgh). From the Nowst out to the point on the west side (the South Ness) you can see traces of iron and copper in the rock, and cubic fool's gold crystals (iron pyrites) are clearly visible. Seals often pull out on skerries towards the point, and considerable numbers pull out in the bay (Gilbosa) immediately around the point. These are sometimes hunted by groups of killer whales (or this link) which since the late 1960's are commonly seen in Shetland waters, and you may be lucky enough to see them from the kitchen window in Beach House.
The burn that runs down the valley and into the sea at Hoswick has fantastic wildflower growth in the summer, and there is now a walk which follows the course of the burn from Hoswick Beach. Follow the left fork of the burn up to Swinister when you come to it up the meadow, where there has been a recent attempt to establish trees (some shelter from the sea salt in the winter wind). You can sometimes see otter and heron at the burn mouth or up the burn.
At the top of the village (up the North Road) stands the former Barclay Arms Hotel which used to have a bar and food available to non-residents. It is now known as the Orca Country Inn but is no longer trading as a bar or for guests, and is up for sale. Hopefully it will re-open under new management and restore this popular amenity.
Hoswick is served by some bus routes (to Lerwick and Sumburgh) but more frequent services do not come down into the village and have to be accessed up the road at Stove, around a half-mile away. The only remaining shop in Sandwick is the Sandwick Baking Company, also at Stove, which is well stocked and has a bakery and post office. Nearby is the local school, beside which is the South Mainland Pool with swimming and sauna. The 60° North latitude line runs east-west over the Hoswick Hill and through Stove, close to the village shop (it actually runs through the junction of the school road with the main road). It is marked on the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road by Channerwick.