Friday, 23 November 2018

Cycling Shetland; Scalloway to Hamnavoe

So, as I start to build back up my fitness after my knee replacement I thought I'd post some selections of rides I do around Shetland as I start exploring again to give people some ideas. Last week I managed to ride from Scalloway to Meal Beach and Hamnavoe. About 16km/10 miles return with 373m of elevation, though the highest point is only 80m. It took me about and hour of riding without any sightseeing along the way.

For those who want the route as a GPX you can get it from my strava page here.

There's plenty of parking in Scalloway, public loos and The Cornerstone Cafe at Burns Beach along with a couple of shops just along the road.

There's also a castle with key available at the Museum (in season) near it or The Scalloway Hotel.



Looking down on Scalloway with the Trondra Brig centre right...


The route is very straight forward heading south from Scalloway along East Voe to cross the bridge to Trondra and then the bridge from Trondra to Burra. You get great views south down the Clift Sound...


Once on Burra you can follow the signs for Meal Beach. There's a car park and toilets there and a good path down to the top of the hill that over looks the beach. You can leave your bike at the top and walk down unless you're feeling very adventurous.


Leaving from Meal Beach you can retrace the road back to Hamnavoe where there's a shop and toilets near the marina along with a lighthouse out on the headland if you fancy a short walk before returning to Scalloway.


Winds are often southerly in Shetland, so if you have a head wind on your way to Burra rest assured you'll have a nice push on the way back. None of the hills are long or particularly steep and it's mainly 2 lane road. Do pay attention when crossing the bridges though, give way to traffic on them; and as a cyclist it's courteous wait if you see cars closely approaching the other side to try to let any cars behind you go over first.

I'm hoping to do a little cycle with a friend this weekend from either Bonhoga or the Brig of Walls, so watch this space...




Thursday, 15 November 2018

A few days at Littlure Bothy


Back in August Clare and Beren got the chance to spend a couple of nights out at Littlure Bothy on the coast near Burrastow...


My knee was far to poor back then to manage to get out there and stay comfortable, even though it's only maybe 1 mile walk over the banks. But this week I got to spend a few nights there to relax and get my head in to order before returning to work. 


A great place to potter, take photos, read and relax...


At the time of writing it's £20 per night, sleeps 2 adults and a kid, and comes with gas stove and lamps, wood stove with fuel and fresh water. Cutlery, pots an pans too...





There's a composting loo too!


Twinned no less!


I had hoped to see the northern lights, but no luck, just starry starry nights...


And some nice sunsets over Foula...


I didn't stray far from the bothy each day. It stayed dry, but windy and I just enjoyed the peace and quiet out there.

Here's a selection of photos from thereabouts...









 And a short video giving a flavour of the place...



Monday, 5 November 2018

Getting there...



I was hoping to be back at work a couple of weeks back, but my knee had a massive flare up one evening...


I couldn't bend my leg, lift it up or bare any weight on it with out massive pain.

A trip to A&E for x-rays and blood tests and discussion with The Golden Jubilee team thankfully ruled out any infection, DVT or issue with the implant, but resulted in being told to have total rest for a fortnight, no physio exercises or anything, just rest and ice to get the swelling down.

Well I was a good boy an did as I was told and have been slowly building my activity back up with local wanders, short cycling sessions on the turbo trainer and little rides around the village on good days. I'm now hoping to be back at work in just under a fortnight!

On halloween I managed to get up and down the witches ward (89m!) for some fresh air. Coming down was a bit tough, but there was no last effects...


And a few days ago went to Sand Wick on Burra to see the seals there...




And got out through the valley to Whale Wick too...




I needed a good rest after that! But again no lasting issue. I've also managed to see a couple of films at the cinema, along time since I've been able to sit there through a film! Bohemian Rhapsody is ace and First Man was really good too.

It's still really a case of doing a bit then resting, a lot. My quad and patella tendons are still very tender, swollen (not to mention numb) and stiffen up very easily if I over do it. 

I have plan for a few days retreat at a bothy out west at Littlure before I get back to work, so I'm looking forward to that...



As I get more active and out an about I'll try to pick things up with the blog again, so watch this space...










Sunday, 2 September 2018

The Great Escape!


Just about 7 weeks post knee replacement, with it being such a good day and my rehab progress going great, we decided to have a family trip north to Frankie's Chip Shop; the UK's most northerly chippy!


On the way we'd noticed that the island in Girlsta Loch had a causeway to it! It's Shetland's deepest loch (or was!) and has cold water artic char in it. Obviosuly this summer has been so dry that the remains of a causeway to it have 're-appeared'.



With two trekking poles and Clare carrying my camera I managed to slowly and carefully get down to it, and across it! Clare even walked around the shore, but I thought I'd pushed my luck getting to it never mind further.



I'd guess it'll be a while before the loch's this low again with autumn approaching now.


After Frankie's we also went to Otter Ayre a secluded beach on Muckle Roe...


Beren had a clamber about the rocks...


And I sat on my bum taking photos of the waves with Clare doing yoga in the foreground, but sadly it's that long since I've been out with my camera that I'd missed the focus on all those photos! I'm not impressed as there'd have been some nice pics, if they'd been in focus.

So, I'm home now, very tired, but not in pain. I'll find out later this evening how my knee has taken to the peerie off road adventures today...





Tuesday, 31 July 2018

The final fling! A bikepacking and family holiday before my knee replacement.



As soon as we got the date of my knee operation we decided to have a fortnights holiday before the op as it would be the last chance we'd get this year.

The first bit involved me leaving a little earlier with my friend Colin to do a little bikepacking trip in northern Scotland. Nothing taxing terrain wise, but a long trip in my condition...



About 350 miles in total of tracks and quiet roads. But first we had to get to the top of Scotland.

After meeting up we cycled to Lerwick for the ferry to Orkney for the fun to begin...


Arriving late in Orkney we headed to a bird hide I'd been told about near the Stanes of Stenness for a cosy trouble free night...


A cycle to Stromness the next day saw us on the ferry to Scrabster, passing Hoy and it's Old Man on the way...


Now you may wonder why there's a little dead end on the map above just below Thurso? I made a major boo boo! Despite us trying to be ultra cautious every time we left some where to check we hadn't left any thing I had left my bumbag with money, cards and all sorts in it 25 miles back on our route and we had to back track to get it. By then it was too late to retrace our steps again (adding 50 miles to the day) so we had to make alternative plans to meet back up with our planned route at the Crask Inn the next day. The reason for leaving it as simple; we'd stopped to remove clothing and the horse flies were so bad, and the worry over ticks where we were was so great, that we rushed to get moving again.

Still it meant when we camped at Bettyshill that night, we got this amazing view...


The rest of the trip was uneventful, with amazing weather, tracks and views. The only thing that was an issue was the horse flies, they were totally horrendous and biting all the time.






 And here's a short video of our trip...


Clare and Beren met Colin and I at Aviemore and then we had a family holiday at Gardenstown and the Banff coast, before a week near Jedburgh and me being dropped off at the doors of the hospital for my operation.



Looking down on Gardenstown. An amazing coast...


House in the woods near Jedburgh...



A family cycle to Holy Island...



 The Capon Tree, oak...


A family cycle around Keilder...



Clare and Beren went Ape!


And a stay at Falkirk just before my op...





By the way, I was left at the hospital by Clare only so they could get the ferry home and then she could take the time off once I got home rather than waste it while I lay in a hospital bed!