Some say that Grutness is a state of mind, but, as I was recently delighted to read in Tim Dee's excellent book The Running Sky, it is also a place:

The hamlet of Grutness, Shetland
Image © Tom Pennington, licensed under Creative Commons Licence.

Imagine my even greater delight when I realised that I have actually been within 600 yards of Grutness. In March 1985, some archaeological colleagues and I paid a very wet visit to the nearby ancient settlement of Jarlshof.

Apparently, the name Grutness is from the Old Scandanavian grjót nes, meaning gravel promontory.

So, there you have it: Gruts means gravels.

What does Grutness mean to you chaps?

See also: Gruttish

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.


  1. I perceive grutness as a welcome periodic tangential distraction - something to be absorbed rather like the process of osmosis. I don't think I would like it thrust on me, but I guess that due to Jen's proximity to the grutmaster it is something that she finds difficult to avoid. I hope that's clear.

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