Sunday, 10 November 2019

Wintry Ronas Hill and Da Lang Ayre


I had hoped to go a for a bike ride yesterday, but the roads were far too icy for me to want to risk it and there were sleety snowy showers coming across. So I sent a spur of the moment message to a friend suggesting a walk to Ronas Hill and Da Lang Ayre as I'd seen another friend had been up there the day before and it looked lovely and snowy. I expected a 'no', but got a yes! So half an hour later we met up and started the long drive north.

There were heavy sleet showers as we drove and even as we parked up at Collarfirth Masts, but to reward our determination the skies cleared around us so we set off. It was to be about 16km or 10 miles by the times we got back to the car.


First thing was first, hit the tops on the way to Ronas Hill summit. The first bump of Roga Field...


Followed by a snowier walk to Mid Field...


Looking north...


Looking south west towards Sullom Voe on the right...


The summit chambered cairn at 450m. Not high, but it always feels high up here. And it certainly felt cold. I don't know the actual temperature, but my phone said 2c, feels like -4c with the wind and I wouldn't argue. It was nippy!


In the nearby visitors book box was a tub of sweets and a can of Tennents! We took a  couple of sweets, signed the book, had a sarnie and moved on toward the descent to Da Lang Ayre...


Lovely views, but Brrrrr.....


Looking to the Faither on the far side of Ronas Voe. We would descend towards the little spike you see to the right on the photo...


Nearing the bottom of The Burn of Monius...




One last bit to go. It looks much worse than it is, the rope is more to steady you than climb...



The beach was in deep cold shadow with a really cold draft coming down the valley we'd just descended. We just took a few photos, had a snack and then began the long drag back up from sea level...


The beach is about a mile long and worth the walk on a warmer day with more daylight remaining.


Our return was to be to the south of the hill summits to stay in the sun and avoid the worst of the wind, so we branched off Monius headed up Gaats Burn with hardly a sheep gaet to follow through the rough ground.


We saw plenty of white hares, but not the elusive snowy owl that's been on Ronas Hill this year. 

Looking over Hillswick Ness with the Drongs visible on the right...


Looking down Ronas Voe to The Faither...


And again from the cairn at Abram's Ward...


Vaguely contouring the southern slopes we soon had Collarfirth Masts in sight, but it would take us a good bit of rough walking before we got there, just as the sun was setting and the near full moon was rising.


All in all a great day out! My new knee behaved well and I think my surgeon would be happy with his work knowing I've been able to do this about 16 months after my replacement. 

I am pretty tired though!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

A splodgy wander around Kettla Ness

As any one who lives up here knows we just had the first real gales and weather of the autumn for the last few days, but I managed to find a dry spell this afternoon to get out for a splodgy walk around Kettla Ness on Burra.


It's about 5 miles or 8km around the ness from the car park for Minn Beach and I was glad to have the cold northerly at my back as I headed down the west coast.


Passing the well known Minn Beach...


Looking over South Havra to Fitful Head in the far distance...


The Heug...


Looking back up the west coast from The Heug...


The walk up back up the east side wasn't really very sheltered from the wind and is definitely not the most interesting bit of the walk with low open boggy ground and only the remains of some old mill and races of note. The view across to the Clift Hills and down the sound is pretty nice though.

Looking down the east coast to South Havra...


I'll have to make a date with Holm Field and Royl Field in the near future. It's been a while! 

Monday, 21 October 2019

October hols in Orkney



This school holidays we took a long weekend for a trip to Orkney and stayed in a great cottage (Palace Cottage) right next to Earl's Palace in Birsay.


The weather was definitely autumnal other than the day we went to Rousay, but the cottage had a nice fire, which was a treat for us...


Our first activity was a cycling trip around the isle of Rousay as it was the best weather slot and we chose the day and location well.

Ferry from Tingwall...



A super location for lunch...


Mid Howe chambered cairn...


And broch...


And here's a little video of our ride around the isle of Rousay...


We stayed at Birsay as it's a lovely area and the coast is ace with a cause way out to the Brough of Birsay with lots of archaeology.





We also had a good run about the place visiting the Ring of Brodgar, Stanes of Stennes and a handful of bird hides, though we didn't see anything of great interest.

One of the bird hides at Cottascarth was particularly posh and supposed to be a great place for Hen Harriers, though not for us.




And another place of note we visited was the Sandygeo Fishermans Huts near Marwick head...




It was a great long weekend away, but back to work tomorrow....

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Fair Isle; a quick spin about...

I've been trying to get to Fair Isle a few times for work to check the stiles and also do a video for my work blog, Shetland Outdoors, but the weather has not meant day return flights were running when I could go. Anyway 3rd time lucky and I got there!

Here's a few photos from the trip...

Sheep Rock


The South Light


Looking North from Malcolm's Head


 And a little video of the day...




Sunday, 13 October 2019

Skeld and Dale of Walls bike ride


It's been a stunning autumn weekend in Shetland with practically no wind and sunny skies. I decided to do a ride out west around Skeld and the Dale of Walls from Bixter as I've not ridden out there since my knee replacement. 

60km or 37 miles with 830m of elevation gain...


Still water as I headed down towards Reawick...


Foula was looking pretty in the distance as I headed down the Dale of Walls...


At Burrastow the seals were having fun flopping about in the bay, while others just chilled out...


And here's a little video of the trip. A great ride!


 Let's hope for more days like this!