WEEK 10 – Shetland Islands

  

Week off in Shetland
South Voxter Lodges, Mainland

What a wonderful week in Shetland. It began with the overnight ferry from Aberdeen and I lay down with my eyes closed for 14 hours as the weather was bad and the sea rough. The tactic worked as I did get some sleep and I wasn’t sick. Glad to arrive. 

If you include all the tiny islands with no inhabitants, there are over 100 Shetland Islands (enough reason not to walk around Shetland!). I visited 6 on my trip: Mainland, Yell, Unst, Bressler, Noss and Mousa. 

Shetland reminded me of the Falklands a bit; barren and treeless moorland, small communities, hilly, water everywhere and fantastic views. I didn’t have the best summer weather (I wore all of my clothes all week) but it didn’t matter. Although it was occasionally annoying to hear on the radio that the rest of Britain seemed to be in the grip of a heatwave. Oh well, they didn’t have sea otters!

There were many highlights of the week and these are a few:

1. Visiting the most Northerly point of the the British Isles, Muckle Flugga and Out Stack. I made to the far North of Britain, awesome! 

Muckle Flugga and Out Stack – Britain’s most Northerly point
 

2. Sea kayaking down the Mainland coast on the only sunny day. The sea is so clear and the wildlife abundant. We saw 3 otters and plenty of seals were in attendance.   
  

3. So much wildlife to see, including: seals, otters, gannets, bonxies (great skuas), arctic skuas, black-backed gulls, herring gulls, arctic terns, curlews, shags, cormorants, fulmars, kittiwakes, rock pipits, ringed plovers, sandpipers, storm petrels and, of course, puffins and oyster catchers.   

A puffin nest-building at Sumburgh Head

4. St Ninian’s tombolo beach is possibly the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen. Just fantastic. I went for a swim here in the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean.   

St Ninian’s tombolo beach

 

5. Taking a late night boat across to the small island of Mousa to visit the best preserved Broch on Shetland (an ancient building probably built by Vikings but no-one knows what it was used for) to watch the storm petrels returning from feeding at sea. This is a nightly occurrence at dusk (about midnight in June). They nest in the cracks between the Broch’s stones and they swoop all around as you stand there; pretty amazing to watch and hear.   

Mousa Broch at midnight – the sky is full of storm petrels

 

6. The views. Everywhere there were views of the sea and dramatic coastline.  

Scalloway
       
Esha Ness, West Mainland
  
 
Sumburgh Head
 
By the end of the week I felt like I’d seen quite a bit of Shetland and it is a wonderful place. The people are really friendly too and I even went to a Sunday afternoon tea in Cunningsburgh Village Hall. I think the village hall must be the heart of the community because there weren’t really any pubs, nor were there many cafes (and those there were weren’t always very good, like the one that consisted of a microwave and instant coffee in the entrance to the community shop). At times it felt like the tourist trade was 20 years behind the rest of Britain as places were highlighted in brochures but then were difficult to find and nothing made of them. A quirky place. 

8 thoughts on “WEEK 10 – Shetland Islands

  1. Chris Frazer June 15, 2015 / 10:16 am

    Awesome phots Juice…now back to work lets gets some mileage done……good effort keep going.

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  2. Val K June 15, 2015 / 11:44 am

    Your week in the Shetlands sounds magical and the photos as ever are fabulous. But
    Muckle Flugga ? Really! Sure you didn’t make that up? Anyway back to the hard stuff now.
    Looking forward to the next instalment. XxxVal

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    • Lucy June 19, 2015 / 8:34 pm

      Next instalment coming soon. I didn’t make up Muggle Flugga. There are some great place names up there.

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  3. Jim Sawyer June 15, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Hi Lucy, did you get a chance to visit the old radar post at SAXA VORD? Used to be one of my out stations. Jim x

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    • Lucy June 19, 2015 / 8:33 pm

      Hi Jim. Yes I saw Saxa Vord. It’s been turned into holiday lodges now. What. Wonderful site

      Like

  4. jomunday99 June 15, 2015 / 4:25 pm

    Looks amazing. Hope it’s prepared you mentally for the rest of remote Scotland. At least you should find some pubs!

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  5. Spike Martin June 15, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    Juice, have you been skinny dipping again up in Shetland!? x

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    • Lucy June 19, 2015 / 8:32 pm

      Far too cold for that!

      Like

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