Sunday, 31 January 2016

A ride in the snow


Well storm Gertrude came and went. I think the record was something like 105mph gusts! There's certainly been some damage and atleast one van that I know of blown off the road. And in the lee of the storm we've had another cold spell. Yesterday it was pretty slushy yucky snow, but over night it's turned to ice with hale and snow on top.

I met up with a couple of friends from the Shetland Wheelers for a little run out on the mountain bikes. Not a day for the road bike, that's for sure. I had a crash the other week in the snow in the car and I don't fancy doing it on a bike.


We only had one heavy snow shower on the ride and the wind was less than forecast, though still pretty nippy! 27kms around the hills between Lerwick and Scalloway and I felt I'd had enough exercise for one day. Still, it was pretty lovely out, but now its dark and freezing and very icy. I'd better be very careful tomorrow morning on the way to work.

Anyway here's a little video from our ride. Best in HD as always...



Sunday, 17 January 2016

Another glorious day!

I've been feeling pretty grotty, but what with fantastic clear weather thought it'd be good to stretch my legs and get some fresh air.


Scalloway in the winter sun...



All looking pretty. And more so now the accommodation barge has gone.


 We had a wander out from Port Arthur with clear views out over the isles and to Foula...




 The Scalloway Isles...


There was some impressive ice crystals on the vegetation...



And interesting ice too...


It'll be nice if we get a few more days like this, especially if I am able to make the most of them and get out on the hills!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

My own gear...



I've been wanting a MLD trailstar for a couple of years as they get such good write up as been very lightweight and storm proof shelters. Sadly having a 2-3 month waiting time from the USA and the cost and lottery of import tax  I've just never got around to ordering one. Instead I decided to order 6m of PU coated ripstop nylon from Pennine Outdoors and whip one up myself!
 


Whip it up might be a bit of an exaggeration. It took about 2 hours making and cutting the pattern and about 5 hours sewing.

It's basically made of 5 triangles. 2m long on the base and the width of the fabric high (about 160cm). Using basting tape was a god send and the crown even came together accurately...


Reinforced with 2 layers of material on the inside where the trekking pole will go...


And a cap on the outside to weather proof the crown...


 The triangles were sewed together with semi flat felled seams as a full flat felled seam seamed too daunting. Tie outs were added after hemming the whole thing...



OK I could have rolled it up a bit neater, but 725g excluding trekking poles and pegs isn't bad...


Brrrr.... it's codl and frosty today, but I pitched it in the garden to see if it would work. It did!


Trekking pole in the crown...


 A couple of other views...



Easily space for two..


And a more open pitch...


It's a windless day and forecast to stay that way over night with clear skies and down to -6c. I'd better get out camping in it then!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

An audience with an otter...


Today was a wonderfully icy clear day and I was on Papa Stour fixing a couple of stiles, removing one, putting some signs up and surveying paths. Now that's a pretty good day at the office anyway, but today was to be a bit special!

While walking along and looking at some seals and thinking there'll be no chance of seeing an otter with you guys about what did I see out the corner of my eye but an otter busy fishing out in the voe and then heading my way...


And out of the water, practically at my feet...


 I was frozen to the spot in more ways than one. I was dressed for walking, not sitting on a frozen bank side in the wind...


Even so with hands shaking and trying to control my breath so as not to disturb him I was going now where. Would you?


Just me and otter munching his dinner...


And after all that dinner you need a nap...


I was really pretty cold by then so managed to sneak away while he slept on...


And here's a little video of him. You can see how close he came and also how cold I was with the shaky footage!


It seems a bit of a let down after that to show you a few landscape of the island from today, but here you go...

Hamnavoe where I first thought I might see an otter as I've seen one there before...


And the track up to the airfield from Hamnavoe...


The standing stones near the road above West Voe...


An 'arty' sheep shot near the stones...


And looking down on Robie's Noost of West Voe where I saw the otter...


Yell tomorrow all being well. Wonder what I'll come across there...

Friday, 8 January 2016

Scalloway Fire Festival 2016


Well the first fire festival of the year kicked off tonight in Scalloway with Jarl Haakon Haraldsson and his galley Astreig processing through the darkened streets of Scalloway...



And on their way to their fiery demise at Port Arthur. Luckily the weather cleared up today for it and remained dry until after the burning.


Three cheers for the Guiser Jarl...

 

And that was that...



Here's a short video of the burning...


And next up is Up Helly Aa in Lerwick in a couple of weeks. Watch this space...



Friday, 1 January 2016

New Years Day wander to Symbister, East Burra

I started the New Year with a a little run. I'm on my 'third time lucky' with C25K. The first time getting back into running to get fit for my Greenland adventure saw me on the chiropractor's and physio's table for a year and meant my trip was not what I'd planned. I tried to start it again a month or so ago and was getting back ache from the second session so stopped. This third time I've just got to the second week and I'm not sure whether I'll need to stop again; for all there's no real pain I'm certainly getting aching around my SI joints. We'll see...

Anyway after that we decided to go for a little walk as it had turned out a bright and breezy start to the New Year. Beren has a chesty cough so we didn't want to aggravate that either so we went for a wander to the old settlement of Symbister on The Ness of Houss on East Burra.



We walked around the coast. There is a track a little further inland, but it very wet and not so scenic.


Looking across to Bannamin...


Clare's many polar layers created the odd challenge!


 Symbister...

 
From the adjacent burnt mound...


And the near by ayre that is teeming with terns and other bird life in the summer...


Beren found all manner of dead things and rubbish to drag around, but only succeeded in returning home with a few old sticks...


Returning to the start at Houss...


If it stays clear there's some chance of an aurora tonight. There was a good one last night, but I was snug in bed!