The Shetland Islands are 12 hours by ferry from the Scottish mainland, hundreds of miles from Edinburgh and closer to Oslo than London.

Scandinavian-style houses stand in a remote glen on the Shetland Islands Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Many of the 23,000 inhabitants of the windswept islands have strong feelings about September's referendum on Scottish independence.

An online petition posted on the Scottish government website demands that the Shetland Islands, neighbouring Orkney and the Western Isles all hold referendums to decide whether to join an independent Scotland, stay with Great Britain or declare independence themselves.

Many Shetlanders see the referendum as an opportunity to gain control over local services and a share of revenues from the oil pumped from the North Sea.

The archipelago sees itself as closer to Scandinavia than to Britain, hosting Viking fire festivals for Hogmanay and Up Helly Aa with hundreds of Shetland Vikings holding flaming torches.

Some 29.2% of Shetland Islanders are direct descendants of Vikings, according to a study by BritainsDNA.

Photographer Cathal McNaughton travelled to the archipelago and asked Shetlanders how they will be voting in the referendum.

There are about 100 Shetland islands, though only 16 of these are inhabited. There are ten times as many puffins as humans on the islands.