Friday, 13 January 2017

Scalloway Fire Festival!

So on Friday the 13th with a bit of snow and an icy wind the first Fire Festival of the year got under way with a shark headed galley...

And despite the cold night there was a good turn out for the impressive sight of the squads and torches parading down Main Street...

And here's a little bit of video from my action camera. Was a nice night for it in the end...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Fetlar flit

Well, I've been up on Fetlar today, swanning around...

Before the next spell of winter weather hits, so I took the chance to take a few impromptu photos while I was down at Tresta looking at a few things. Nice waves...

 I popped into the kirk for the first time too.

And saw this nice little nativity in their 'quiet corner'...

We're back to gales tomorrow and hopefully some snow before the weekend too!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

It's been a while. Happy New Year!

Well it's been even longer than I thought since I last posted here. Must try better! I guess I've just been having a bit of a down time with things and cycling (5500km last year) has taken a lot of my energy if not my time, so I've not been out and about as much to interesting and new places outside of work trips.

Anyway I decided to forgo a potentially icy bike ride today to go for a walk around the coast on West Burra; an area I really like. I'm going to try and get out for more 'non-work' walks this year and to visit areas of Shetland that I've not made it to so far. I also want to get out walking more as I'm headed to the Faroe Islands in June for a weeks backpacking and wild camping. Cycling has got me fit again and helped me lose some weight, but I need some more time on my feet rather than on my bum on a bike to be fit for the mountains of Faroe.

Here's a trace of my 7km walk today. North along the coast from Papil and back along the road...

Walking down to Minn beach, a fine day but icy southerly....

Looking up to Virda, a heady 56m! Hmm... I need to find some bigger hills to walk the mountains on Faroe are up to the 800m mark!

Mill remains...

Looking south to Kettla Ness...

And Minn beach...

A very Shetland view. Usually there are loads of ravens up here, but not today.

Whale Wick where my walk continues around...

The waterfall out of Ruff Loch. A great place for birding in the summer...

Heading up the side of Whale Wick to The Hill of Sandwick I thought I'd take  photo of this big and deep crack in the earth over the cliffs. It's been here a while and I'm not sure if it's getting much bigger, but I wasn't about to walk on the seaward side of it!

Looking north across Sand Wick, one of the many in Shetland...

One of my favourite beaches to watch seals, if you can sneak close enough without being spotted.

And another favourite there are the ponies and their foals when they arrive.

From here it was a walk back tot he car along the road with some weather starting to come in...

On the way I popped into Papil Kirk yard. I'd not actually visited it before and was pleased to see a replica of the 'Papil Stone' and information about the history of Papil and the kirk.

If you're still here thanks for popping by and I'll try to to do some more regular posts.

Sunday, 20 November 2016


We've had some wonderfully calm, but cold wintry weather the last few days. Sadly I was working Saturday and most of Sunday too (surely a crime with such good weather!), but I took the chance for an icy mountain bike on Friday afternoon.

My route took me up Sundibanks above Scalloway...

And along the hill tops to Wester Quarff...

Where I joined a track to Easter Quarff ...

And a circuitous route to, and around, Brindister Loch...

All in bright sunshine, until half way along Cunningham Way above Lerwick when I had a cold sleety shower all the way home. Ah well, it was good while it lasted!

Returning from work on Saturday a friend wanted to know if I fancied a camp on Ronas Hill in the snow on a clear calm night. I did, but said getting up there in the car (or more accurately back down) might be challenge and I was time limited with work commitments on Sunday. Eventually we settled on a camp on Lunna Ness and took a bag of fire wood with us too.

It was stunning night. If only the northern lights would come out to play!

But they didn't.

But hey, I can't complain...

We even saw some shooting stars.

It was super night. Only spoilt by, it would seem, the buffet at the work event in the day giving me a very gippy tummy. Yes I had lots of opportunity to study the wonderful winter night sky all night long!

I've a couple of days off now, so I hope the fine weather continues and my stomach settles so that I can enjoy it!

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Waxwing delight

The waxwings have been about in Shetland again.

And again, despite having the biggest hawthorn tree (with some berries) in Shetland, and along with putting apples out, they've been avoiding our place.

The when I was on Foula Clare said she'd seen one in the tree. Typical! But luckily , just as I was heading out with Beren swimming the other day one was there. One, solitary, waxwing. But, wow, what a lovely bird!

May be I'll see another, or even a flock, but I'm not holding my breath!

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Friday on Foula

When I book a flight to Foula I'm never quite sure whether I'll get there; going in November adds to the uncertainty. But, third time lucky we set off. I only hoped I'd get back too!

It was a breezy day and the forecast was for it to kick up lots on the evening. I just hoped the wind didn't get here early.

Gaada stack at the north of the island as we swung around for the landing approach.

We landed in a squally shower, but thankfully it wasn't a sign of things to come. It was bright, breezy and quiet. With full waterproofs on to keep the wind off I set off on my round.

Some one has been doing a lot of work around this property and it's very nice, if not a tad on the compact size!

The burn at Ham with the ferry hoisted out in the harbour in the background.

And Ham Brig with a nice stone seat.

I was heading to the south end of the island. It's a wonderfully dramatic place.

At just about 11am on the 11th of November I was at the war memorial. Not a soul in sight.

Da Noup and Da Sneug as a dramatic backdrop to this old mill.

And I was heading up Da Noup. My first ascent of the mighty 248m (814ft) lump. It looks more imposing than it should and with the wind now building and me walking up in the acceleration zone it felt more like the climb up something much bigger!

Over the top I found a little shelter from the wind to enjoy a view of Mucklebrick's Wick and Da Sneug. One day I hope to go down Da Sneck I Da Smallie and then along the cliff base ascending to Waster Hoevda for a camp there.

Looking back to Da Noup from Da Daal.

I didn't go down Da Sneck. I didn't have time and it was running with water and slippy moss. I could see where a big block had slipped down in to the chasm giving a narrow gap to bravely walk under it on your way out to the coast. One for a summer trip.

Days are short as December approaches and the return flight leaves at 15.20, so I headed back towards the airfield down Da Daal. Looking back down Da Daal which runs between Da Noup (left) and Da Sneug (right).

Me and two other guys from the council who were waiting for the return flight got a little panicky. The wind was pretty high by the time the plane was due and the plane was late. Scanning the sky and straining our ears we wondered where we'd stay and how we'd eat if stranded. Eventually we heard the plane engine and then saw the growing image of our return flight. It was a little bumpy on the return flight, but all was fine.

A grand day dear Foula, but I'll not be back until next year.