Environment The Nathusius’ pipistrelle weighs just 7.6g and is the size of a human thumb

A tiny bat the size of a human thumb has become the first to be recorded crossing the North Sea from Britain to mainland Europe – before meeting an untimely end in the Netherlands.

Hot news... there's more sunshine on the way

Much of the UK is expected to bask in glorious sunshine today as the hot spell continues.

Rite of spring: Mark Hix creates a feast for Easter with these old-fashioned cuts of lamb

I've been cooking a lot of mutton over the winter months – so it makes a refreshing change when tender new-season lamb starts to reappear on the shelves. It's sometimes hard at this time of year to know whether you're buying new or old meat. One of the best indications can be the price – prime cuts of lamb sell for ridiculous prices around now. But as usual, I'm recommending avoiding the common cuts that everyone else buys. A shoulder of new-season lamb, for example, will give you flavour which is equal to that of a leg; and neck fillets are almost as tender as the best end.

There's more to Scottish food than innards, stodge and deep-fried Mars bars...

It contains the heart, lungs and liver of a farmyard animal and is bound together with stomach lining. Such a mixture might appear in many people's worst nightmares. But the Scottish people have made haggis their national dish.

Rising Star: Jen Hadfield, poet

As the youngest winner of the T S Eliot Prize, at 30, Jen Hadfield is also a relative newcomer. The £15,000 cheque that she collected on Monday has previously been awarded to Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy and Ted Hughes – though never to Andrew Motion, the chair of this year's judges.

Earthquake hits Shetland Islands

An earthquake measuring 3.3 on the Richter scale hit the Shetland Islands today, the British Geological Survey confirmed.

Poetry enters remarkable new territory

Glitzy readings, throngs of fans – verse has never been more vibrant. John Walsh works the crowd at the TS Eliot prize, and witnesses the birth of a star

Simon Calder: The hungry ghosts of polar Christmases past

The sun, when finally she shines, beams benevolently on Sergei Vavilov. Not Stalin's favourite physicist, comrade Vavilov, but the ship that honours the scientist, presently edging south of west at a dozen knots, destination the end of the world.

Motorists warned of downpour danger

Much of the UK was braced for a major downpour today that is likely to create hazardous driving conditions.

Nigh-No-Place, By Jen Hadfield

The work of Ted Hughes has only recently begun to influence poets in significant numbers, most notably Alice Oswald and now Jen Hadfield, whose Nigh-No-Place is in the running for this year's Forward Prize. Not that Hadfield's restless eco-poetics sound especially like Hughes. There is a backpacker feel to the volume's twin locations of Canada and Shetland, yet the writing is rooted in both places because, for all the comically unflattering self-portraits, the poet usually faces outwards, on to landscapes dazzling after rain or blurred by mist.

Dominic Lawson: Don't believe obesity figures – they're spun for a purpose

You can run, but you can't hide: a wave of contagious obesity is, apparently, sweeping the country from top to (ever-expanding) bottom. Yesterday's Guardian declared that "Obesity epidemic spreads to new areas in the south", while simultaneously pointing out that "the worst obesity hotspot is Shetland". Meanwhile the Financial Times warned, rather in the style of a Meteorological Office alert, of "a belt of obesity stretching across Wales, the north Midlands and northern England".

Former farmer wins leadership of Scottish Lib Dems with rallying cry

The former Shetland farmer Tavish Scott swept to victory as leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats yesterday, immediately launching a stinging attack on the Nationalist administration at Holyrood.

Middle East to fund Scotland's £5bn power grid

Holyrood in talks with sovereign wealth funds to build offshore network to transmit wind, wave and tidal energy to the UK

Killer whales blamed for decline of Scottish seals

Attacks by killer whales may be helping to drive the sudden and mysterious decline of seals around the northern coasts of Scotland, new research suggests.

World's first organic cod farm battles to stay afloat

Intensive negotiations are going on to try to save the world's first organic cod farm, based on the Shetland Islands, which has hit a funding crisis and gone into administration.

Shetlanders force climbdown on Burmese woman's deportation

Squads of Vikings, wielding axes and flaming torches, will take to the streets of Shetland this month. They will march, singing and chanting, through the islands' towns, cheered on by crowds of thousands before setting fire to a huge Norse ship.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore