Sunday, 7 September 2014

Johnnie Notions' Böd

We booked Johnnie Notions' Böd this weekend for a little back t basics chill out time. An old camping barn with basic bunk beds, a peat stove, running water, loo and nothing much else. But what else do you need when there's fine weather and a great coast to explore?



The böd is named after Johnnie Williamson who was born there in 1740 and amongst other things was famous for developing a small pox vaccine which saved many of the local population.


There's a colourful traveller's tree outside...





We arrived on a lovely calm evening with the moon just up...



Candles lit...


Fire on and time to relax...


Dining table and bunk beds, there were two sets of bunks...



 It wasn't long before were ready for bed and awaiting a sunny Saturday...



The böd has 4 bunks and a seating/dining area inside and a separate outhouse with two flushing loos and a sink and worktop area. No electric or gas, so bring a camping stove and candles.

The next morning Beren was up and down at the beach (in wellies and PJs) while we were still sleeping; only in Shetland! He came back to the böd to wake us up and show us the first grotty buckie he found...


Later we went out around several stretches of coast looking for grotty buckies, agate and any thing else of interest.

 We also did a bit of geochaching...


Which Beren loves as it adds to his collection of useless tat!


I took the chance to do some long exposure photography in between mooching around beaches.

South Head...



Muckle Ossa...


Dore Holm...


And a few panoramas. Here's The Drongs from Braewick Cafe...



Here's a short video showing you around the böd and some of the coast...


Monday, 1 September 2014

The Faither, Eshaness


Being a fine day I decided to take a walk out to The Faither at the end of the west side of Ronas Voe. I had intended to go out there on the western side of the voe and return via Tingon and over the marilyn of White Grunafirth, but with filming a video time went awry and I wasn't wanting to be late for my roast pork Sunday dinner!

A view of Ronas Voe, Ronas Hill, the coast and cliffs from Da Lang Ayre to Uyea...


The walk was around 14km in total over reasonable ground and without any climbs of significance, still I felt it by the time I was back at the car.


Stunning views...




I'm not sure what this structure was. About 5-6 feet across with remaining walls a couple of feet high...


Looking back down Ronas Voe...


And across to Da Lang Ayre...


Galti Stack at the end of The Faither...


Quite a panorama...



And a short video of the walk to entice you out there...


Friday, 29 August 2014

Some lovely weather...

We've had some lovely weather this last week, though it has changed now just in time for Unst Show. We even had a good showing of the merrie dancers the other night, but I was sleeping while they did their stuff.

Any way I've been out and about a few places West making the most of the weather and my little legs feel it now.

I spent a day on Papa Stour with not a cloud in the sky and came back rather red. I even saw an otter and porpoise briefly while crossing over on the ferry.

What a day! Here's Aesha Head with the Hol O Burriegeo through it and Sula Stack...


I ended up in bonxie territory on my way across Papa Stour and they were still fairly aggressive, may be my last bonxie attack of the year...


I've also been along the coast from Huxter to Deepdale with a quick nip up The Hill of Sandness while I was there.

Here's Foula from near Huxter Mills...


The Bay of Deepdale...


From Ramna Vord...


Papa Stour from The Hill of Melby...


Ronas Hill from The Hill of Sandness (249m)


I'm taking a long weekend off to catch up on somethings while the weather is poor, though if it clears tomorrow night I might squeeze in a quick overnight camp some where, certainly if the sky is set to clear.



Sunday, 24 August 2014

Some good company for Da Lang Ayre

I'm sorry it's been a little while since I posted, but the weather has been pretty poor in general, I've had a bit of camera fatigue after Greenland and also done my ankle in again!

Any how, it's on the mend and with good weather this weekend I took a group of friends over Ronas Hill and down to Da Lang Ayre...


The route and a video of a past trip are on the link above, but generally after parking at Collar Firth Masts I head over Ronas Hill and begin the decent to The Burn of Monius. Here's the view over Ronas Voe as you start the decent...


There were a lot of hares about today, all in full summer coats, but with this noisy bunch of folk walking over the hills we didn't get close...


Both couples of friends are reasonably new to Shetland and had never been to Da Lang Ayre and it was a great day to go. We had a good laugh along the way.


The Burn of Monius...


On the way back up we saw this lonesome frog and the bank to the side of the Burn of Monius!


The final scramble to the beach with the support of a kindly placed rope...


The tide was out so we had a walk right along the beach with dinner at the far end. We actually me another person down there, though he did seem a bit lost!


 A great day out in great company too and hopefully more to come...
 


Thursday, 31 July 2014

Greenland trip report

So after a ferry to Scotland and a plane to Iceland, one more plane had me set foot on Greenlandic soil in Kulusuk, a small island on the East Coast of Greenland...


Click on pictures to enlarge them


All that remained was one more flight by chopper to the village of Tasiilaq on Ammassalik Island...


And the landscape was already impressing...


Here's the helicopter and the luggage transport...


And the airport arrivals building...


First my friend and I dropped our luggage at his kayak storage container before heading into the village in search of fuel and food.


So I got my first chance to see Tasiilaq, the centre of my world for a couple of weeks...




We popped in to see Lars Anker-Moller of Travellodge Greenland who organises some of the transport logistics for my friend Martin's kayak expeditions...


And carried on into the village to explore. The red building here is the community service house which is open for showers and laundry 3 days a week...


After a trip to the small Pilersuisoq store we were surprised to find a pizza shop! Not to look a gift horse in the mouth after 2 days travelling we tucked in and made the most of it...


And then it was back to the container to retrieve our gear and plod up the hillside above the village dump to find a nice spot to camp...



Though if you looked down from the other side of the tent you saw the dump...


There is an official campsite near the helipad, but you pay a fair bit for little in the way of facilities and anyway we both like being away from it a bit.

Not a bad view eh?


I took some time wondering about the shore and the village from time to time, though even walking around the village can be hard going with steep hills and dusty rough roads with trucks passing you by.


A dog sled laid up for summer...



A view along the hillside from our camp...


Icebergs in the bay...










Old boats laid up...



And old bones too...




Housing in the village is generally pretty basic with little in terms of plumbing...




And most houses have a bucket toilet emptied by these beasts of lorries that were backwards and forwards all day...


Just on the edge of the village is the telecommunications network for the area...


And the book store come internet cafe, below. It was quite a challenge having a go on the computers which were hopelessly slow, had Danish keyboards and several keys missing. Still it was a good place to pop in for a drink or an ice-cream and to check the weather forecast...


The mortuary...


There's a museum too...


With some great information, old photographs and artefacts including an umiak, or womens canoe outside...





And I was lucky to hear a fascinating talk on Greenlandic Shamanism given by Professor Kenneth Petersen (I think) from West Greenland...


There was also a reconstructed sod house next to the museum. The local people would have lived in these through the winter...



And a gathering place in the village was the footy pitch where teams would come from the surrounding villages to play. Not a blade of grass to be seen and rocks the size of you fist liberally scattered across the pitch...


Of course I didn't come here particularly for the local culture, although that was great to experience, I came here to walk and take photographs. Unfortunately my back injury back in Easter had laid me up for a few months losing much hard won fitness and the dry heat (I know one days it was 29c with very low humidity) meant that I wasn't going to be able to manage the long trek around the bottom half of Ammassalik I'd originally planned. It was no disaster though I still got out and about for day walks along with a few nights further away from Tasiilaq.

My first walk of any note was to the local hill of Qaqqartivakjik (679m), a prominent hill and about a 4 hour walk from the tent.

On my way I passed this little bit of land art some one had left...


Here's the view of the hill from near the telecommunications disc...


The views as I ascended making my own way were stunning...


Looking back toTasiilaq...


My first snow field turned out to be a solid ice field, so I went around the rocks...



Getting there...



Conquered!


The view returning to Tasiilaq with a nice willow tree...


Another day I went in search of some waterfalls I'd seen on the map. There a very few names on the maps of either rivers, lakes or valleys with them often just referred to by a number. 

I passed these cuties on the way...


With their parents chained up for the summer below...


And this was marked on the map as a bridge, I guess I expected it to be a bit bigger if it was marked on a 1:100,000 map!


The walk to the falls was hot and a battle with midge, mosquito and black fly but well worth it with great views...


Lunch at the falls with a tarp for a wind break...


The falls were more cascades than falls, but still wonderful...






And I returned over the hills via 'The Valley of the Flowers' with yet more get water features...


Great views...


And flowers too...















And fungi too...


I also had the chance of a boat trip some way north to an old US airbase. Sadly the ice closed in too much before we got there so we had to detour to visit the village Kuummiit and a couple of nearby glaciers.

But what a stunning trip...








Heading into Kuummiit...


And being over taken at warp speed...


Some views of Kuummiit...





Those trampolines get everywhere...


Hot dogs...



Next stop was a couple of glaciers...



I did venture out away from the village for a few days despite my achy back and squeezed in the highest hill of my trip, Ymers Berg (830m).

Plodding away towards Lake 171 with midgies galore...


Home for a few days on Lake 171...


A view to the distant Greenland Icecap on my ascent of Ymers Berg...


Glacier to the left, snow field to the right...


Kev woz 'ere!


I pottered around a few other places with no name in the area and generally enjoyed the views and silence...


Back in town one of the handful of supply ships had arrived and was unloading supplies for the area. During the freeze up nothing can get though so, June to October everything needs delivering from food to fuel...


A few more views of Tasiilaq...




Martin was there to do some work on his kayaks before his clients arrived for their kayak tours and spent time 'networking' with other regulars to the area to discuss routes to places, ice conditions and good campsites...



He also caught up with some local friends he's made over the years of his trips. This guy still used a kayak and traditional harpoon to hunt as well as the power boat and rifle...



And hunting is what people do here. There's no way to grow your own, imported foods are stupidly expensive so fish, seal and whale are staples for many people as well as the dogs.



Seal blubber (I think ) drying...



Ribs anyone?





Or may be whale...




Seals in cold storage in the harbour were a common site...



Many people were butchering seals on the rocks...




And even a killer whale...






Anyway enough of that blood and guts here's a few more cute huskies. To hear them all howling at feed time was something else!







And if you're still viewing, well done and thank you. Take a pee break , make a cuppa and then you can watch this video of the trip.



And a little timelapse...



I hope you've enjoyed a little slice of the East coast of Greenland!