Day Fourteen

Early post today as we are leaving the Shetlands and taking the ferry back to Aberdeen, a 13 hour crossing, including a stop on the Orkneys.

Unfortunately the weather has deteriorated and it is very windy!

The skies were still blue and the sun came out while we visited Jarlshof, a prehistoric and Norse settlement, with evidence of buildings from Iron Ages to the Middle Ages. Very interesting, and we nearly got blown off the cliff!

We drove back across the runway and had to wait at the red lights for the plane to cross.

We went back past the Bay of Scousburgh where we saw basking seals earlier in the week, and there they were again

We saw this rig further out but today it was inshore.

Dundee here we come. Fingers crossed for a not too rough crossing.


Day Thirteen

Today we drove to the west coast, towards Sandness. The views, as always, were fabulous.

There are abandoned, ruined crofts all over the island, some dating from the time of ‘the clearances’ in the 1800s when landowners threw the crofters out to put sheep on the land.
The scenery constantly amazes.
We stopped at West Melby beach and did some seal watching.
Can you see the seal?
Here it is!
From there we drove South.
The roads are empty.
We stopped at Minn Beach

Beautiful, but cold.
Andy had a lovely swim. I did go in but it was too cold.

Today is our last night on the Shetlands, but as our ferry isn’t until 5.30pm tomorrow we will have some time on the island. One more place we want to visit. Find out where it is tomorrow.


Day Twelve

Today we drove around the western side of the island to Scalloway.

Scalloway Castle
A pretty town
Looking across the bay to the castle

We drove on across a bridge to Trondra, then across another bridge to get to West Burra. We walked down to Meal Beach.

We passed the restored crofthouse, Easthouse, featuring the traditional house, barn, byte and pig sty.

On the way back we saw more salmon farms.

We had booked a visit to Shetland Museum and Archives in Lerwick. It was very interesting.

View in front of the museum.
This is a sixareen, the type of boat that featured in the dreadful accident in yesterday’s post.
The sea is so calm, the reflections are amazing.

Again, we were so lucky with the weather.

Can it continue?


Day Eleven

Another beautiful day, sunny and calm, which was very lucky as we decided to explore two of the smaller islands north of Mainland. We got on the ferry at Toft for the 15 minute crossing to Ulsta, on Yell.

Ferry arriving
Leaving the ferry at Ulsta, to drive across Yell
Scenic views at every turn
The crossing from Gutcher on Yell to Belmont on Unst took ten minutes.
Former post office at Gutcher
We had a picnic at Uyeasound.
Greenwell’s Bod, an old booth for trading goods brought in by sea.
We visited Unst Heritage Centre, by prior appointment, in the old school building at Haroldswick.
Lots of interesting things to see
Stone anchors
We drove to the north of Unst, overlooking Burra Firth.
Driving back through Haroldswick we stopped at the replica longhouse and longship. This area was a landing place for the Vikings and there are many relics on the island.
Inside the house
Full size replica
There are many ruins of Viking longhouses and of ancient crofts.

We saw Highland Cattle
and the ruins of Muness Castle, the most northerly castle in Britain, before getting the ferry back to Yell.

We visited the Fisherman’s Memorial. In July 1881 there was a disaster which devastated the small community of Gloup. Ten boats and 58 men were lost at sea in a freak storm. They left behind 34 widows and 85 children without their fathers.

We then got on our fourth ferry of the day, to return to Mainland.

More to come,


Day Ten

Today we explored the North West side of the island.

Mussel farm
If you look carefully you can see the Atlantic Ocean to the left and the North Sea to the right.
The coast is very rugged
Salmon farm
Dore Holm
Shetland ponies
Eshaness Lighthouse

I was particularly keen to visit Eshaness as, several months ago, when this holiday was in the planning stages, I had to pick a place I had never been to and use it as a setting for a story. I chose Eshaness, did some research and wrote a story.

If you would like to read it click here.

The dramatic coastline was formed 360 million years ago by a series of volcanoes.
Overlooking Calder’s Geo

Fulmars on the cliff face
Fulmar in flight
Looking back to Eshaness Lighthouse and our car
Unfortunately we didn’t see any sea otters.
A boat being used as a roof, at Lower Voe harbour.

That’s all for now,


Day Nine

We arrived in the Shetlands at 7.30am after a lovely smooth crossing. We managed to get some sleep.

We were met with beautiful weather and had a quick look round Lerwick harbour before going to our holiday cottage.

A Swedish tall ship – Gunilla
Hansel Cottage

After a look round Lerwick and lunch in a cafe, we went for a drive to South Mainland. The terrain is hillier and more craggy than the Orkneys.

Levenwick Beach

At the southernmost tip is Sumburgh Head, a towering outcrop of rock capped with a lighthouse overlooking the area where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea.

Views from Sumburgh Head

We continued our drive, crossing the airstrip, and following the coast. We spotted some seals sheltering on a beach below us.

We had a walk on the beach near St Ninian’s Isle, which can be reached by a spectacular example of a shell-sand tombolo (a beach or bar that links two islands).

The clouds gathered but we had no rain.

More pictures of Shetland tomorrow