Saturday, 23 May 2015

Puffins and ponies

We have a friend up for the best part of a week so we took her to Sumburgh Head on a fine day. The things she wanted to see when she was here were puffins and ponies, as well as us! We didn't disappoint...


 










And a few other birdies too...





 And a feral Beren...




Friday, 22 May 2015

I was lucky enough to need to go to Papa Stour the other day to meet a crofter and contractor as well as check on stile, gates and the like around the isle.

To save my knee and back from the worst of tromping around the isle I took my bike for the visit. It was fun too!

Securely lashed and in no danger of exceeding the weight limit...


Ready for adventure...


I worked my way anti-clockwise around the island up to the highest point of Virda Field (87m) where I had some lunch...


The views from the top are pretty good. That'll be why there used to be a watch station up here during the war.

Looking towards the Horn O Papa...


Looking back to Sandness on the mainland...


Lyra and Fogla Skerry...


Aesha Head...


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


Fishy goings on at Hillswick

I was up at Hillswick the other day. There's been a project been going to with a garden around the public toilets for a while with this lady keeping an eye on things...


However. today I noticed some other fishy goings on, I guess mammalian really, but it doesn't sound so good!



It's a whale, it's a whale...


With a big fishy tail...


A living willow sculpture! I hope it survives and thrives as it will look pretty cool when it's established.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Hike-a-bike on Muckle Roe

I've had a desire for a while to mountain bike around the coast of Muckle Roe; no other reason that it seems like a good thing to do! The problem is there's not much in the way of paths and the ground is very steep and boggy in lots of places. Sheep tracks only get you so far and as my cycling buddy for the day said 'Most people think walking around is bad enough!'


I should have been out getting some longer miles in for the sportive, but I fancied a change and despite a stiff breeze it was looking to be a good day. I met my friend at Muckle Roe Brig, little did he know what he'd let himself in for...


Obviously some stunning scenery...



But it was hard work. I had warned him that there'd be a fair amount of pushing the bike due to the ground underfoot and terrain in general, but neither of us expected quite so much of it!

Photo by Brian Gray

It was slow going but fun.

Photo by Brian Gray

But there were lovely bits of riding too...

Photo by Brian Gray

In the end we didn't do the full circumference. We did the west coast to the Hams and then went back via the central track. We were both pretty tired and had had a good enough time to call it a day. The next section back around to Otter Ayre probably has less ride-ability than the section we did, but I'll be back for it some time!

And here's a short video of the ride. Best watched in HD if you can....


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Grotty Picnic

After a morning cutting tidying the garden, cutting grass and cleaning out gutters in the sunshine we decided to go for a picnic on 'The Grotty Buckie Beach' on Burra; Sand Wick.


By the time we got sorted and got there the weather was taking a turn for the worse with the wind building and cloud thickening and darkening too. It had been gorgeous earlier.

Still they didn't mind...


Probably knew we'd soon be off their beach...


I had a quick experiment with some long exposures and a 10stop ND filter, but I could see my companions were ready for the off and just in time too.



We got home just in time to get the washing in before it got a second wash!

                                                         ------------

If you're a regular here you'll know I've been busy trying to get fit to ride in the Simmer Dim Sportive (50 miles) in 6 weeks time. It's the main reason why my posts have been thin on the ground lately. I've been doing a long ride each weekend to build up my distance and fitness for the hills on the route, so it's left me recovering for the rest of the weekend with little time for anything else.

After the ride is done I'll be out and about more and hopefully doing some camps on my bike, both in Shetland and on the mainland of Scotland.

Here's my bike complete with an Alpkit Possum frame bag at the top of Collarfirth in Delting, our latest hilly conquest.


We set off from Kergord and heading west towards Bixter. Sadly before we got to Bixter we had a bit of a pile up. My friend got his wheel in the gutter on the road edge and flipped him and his bike in to the road in front of me, and I road over him and his bike to land further down the road.

We were both very lucky. There was no traffic other than a distant oncoming car that kindly stopped to check we were OK. Both bikes were OK, but I hurt my foot and ankle, got gravel rash on my knee and hip and a nasty bash and lump on my elbow.


I thought my friend had broken his collar bone at first and he'd bashed his  head, but luckily his helmet saved him. Pretty shook up and sore we decided to carry on our ride that took us through Aith, over the 'Alps Road' and up to Collarfirth. We had planned to come back via Nesting but by the time we'd got back to Voe we were both stiffening up and in pain from the crash never mind the riding so we beat a retreat to Bonhoga and a restorative hot chocolate and scone!

Here's our route...


Here's some of our other routes in case you're every up here and fancy some scenic rides on the mainland, though there are plenty of other options.









Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Lunch time viewing...



Parked up at The Dales Of Walls I left my camera taking photos for a time-lapse while I ate my lunch and talked to a visitor to Shetland about places to visit...

Monday, 27 April 2015

Team Kevlar are GO!


Way back in 2006 I lost a job I loved as a teacher due to illness. After a lot of toing and froing with doctors I was eventually diagnosed with ME/CFS and ended up out of work for a number of years before gradually getting my health back and back in to work. It's been a one step forward, two steps back ward progress, but always going on and improving to some degree.  Frustrating to say the least!

Anyway on Sunday I had a bit of a milestone. I've been trying to get back in to cycling since before Christmas with the help of lots of physio on my legs, following on from physio and chiropractoring on my back last year.

This Sunday I took part in a charity duathlon with Laura,a work colleague, doing the running sections. The Jake Porter Duathlon with 2.1mile run, 13mile ride and 2.1mile run to raise money for CHAS, or Child Hospice Scotland.


It wasn't the best of days with cold strong winds, but thankfully it didn't actually hale or sleet during the race.

Here's me just on my way back to the transition zone at the end of my bike ride...


And here's us doing the last few metres to finish as Team Kevlar...


Quite an achievement for me after so long. I've ridden further since getting back into riding, but not as a race that I need to be OK for. I'm hoping to do some sportives in through the summer and keep improving, but I still need to watch myself and pace things. Not something I'm good at; last years attempt to get back running saw me with major back problems. Hopefully returning to this cycling lark will work out much better!

Anyway I thought I'd blow my trumpet (because I'm right chuffed with myself) and thank Laura for partnering me for the race and Clare and Beren for all their support and faith in me.