Friday, 20 March 2015

Solar Eclipse

After lots of waiting the day of the eclipse arrived. 98% totality forecast for here, the best in the UK, but the weather kept us all on edge!

In the end I got to see the eclipse though gaps in the cloud and the odd shower. To be fair the thinner cloud probably made it a bit easier to see. Any way no more for us until 2090, so I would expect it's my last!

Here's a few photos and a short video of the event...

Saturday, 14 March 2015

What a beautiful day yeh!

Friday 13th, unlucky for some,but not for me!

Friday was a lovely day, a bit windier than I'd have liked but a good choice for a day off. I drove over to Park Hall near Bixter and set off for a 40km ride out to the Dale of Walls, around to Burrastow and a few other places.

Just over two and a half hours of hilly riding later I was back at the car and well and truly shattered. 2 mars bars, 2 muller rice, a clif bar and a couple of bottles of water and I was still exhausted and pretty dehydrated. A great ride though. If only I didn't need to up my mileage to 80km for the Simmer Dim Sportive!

After a lazy afternoon of recovery it was out again for South Mainland Up Helly Aa or SMUHA  It was an amazing evening with clear skys, stars galore and no wind as the squads processed to St Ninina's beach for the burning of the galley. This year led by the first lady Guiser Jarl which adds a bit of (un-necessary) controversy. A poll on whether women should be able to be Guiser Jarls in Lerwick is currently running at 69% in favour.

We did have tickets for Cunningsburgh Hall, but our baby sitters son had a stomach bug. As it happens I wasn't exactly jumping at the thought of a long night dancing after my ride!

Here's a few photos from the procession...

And a short video of the proceedings...

And that's that for Up Helly Aas for 2015. Hopefully I'll get to an isles one next year...

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Taking advantage of a spell between the weathers

The mix of windy, wet and sleety weather has continued far too long! I seem to manage to get out occasionally for a walk or a ride, but nothing of any significance as the wind has hardly left us this winter and neither has the rain.

Having said that I got out for an hour or so this morning around Sundibanks on the bike.

It was a mix of riding, trying to ride and pushing due to the waterlogged ground and lack of traction. My fitness possibly didn't help either, but that's OK the bike is a multi-purpose mode of transport and sometimes that means an all-terrain zimmer frame for me!

I had intended to go along the hills to Wester Quarff and back along the road, but the wind on top was too strong. I just couldn't ride in a straight line and follow the sheep tracks. Eventually I decided to cut it short and enjoy a nice descent on the way back home.

Here's a short video of my trip out.

Hopefully the weather will improve enough in the near future that I can get out for some decent walks and ride along with a camp or two!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Not the best idea!

Despite being ill all week with stomach troubles I felt I'd best make the most of a sunny and still Sunday morning to stretch my legs and clear the cobwebs.

I headed south for Burra thinking to try out my camera attached to my helmet. Well I got lots of footage, but I'd got the angle of the camera wrong so most of it was the front wheel and a bit of ground; none of the wonderful scenery!

Stopping above Meal Beach I decided it would be good to cycle round Fugla Ness. I've no idea why it seemed like a good idea, other than the weather making me giddy. I was already exhausted with a very high heart rate in no small part due to me still being run down. Anyway on I went.

I had a great ride, but blimey I suffered for it!

Later in the day and somewhat recovered we headed out to make the most of weather before the forecast wind and sleet arrived. A short mooch around Kergord Woods and a scone and tea at Bonhoga Gallery were just the ticket.

And the weather really did change for the worst! Apparently we've had the wettest winter for an awful long time. Let's just hope we have a decent summer to make up for it and dry the ground out a little. The banks and hills are beyond boggy just now.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

First sail of the year

For once the forecast window in the weather held true and it was on a Saturday. Time for the first sail of the year!

Saying that it wasn't quite as nice as forecast, pretty overcast and grey, but a nice wind and dry, so no real complaints. We headed out of Voe with no plan other than to shake out the sails, blow the cobwebs away and may be set our record west (not a hard one to beat!).

We ended up having a great sail out past Vementry and down the coast towards West Burrafirth before we turned around to be back before the weather was due to build. Here's a rough idea of our route...

Martin who owns Märta...

Heading back towards Swarbacks Head and The Guns of Vementry...

Muckle Roe Light behind us...

I hadn't brought my camera, so just took a few photos on my mobile and a few video clips to make this short video when we were out past Vementry...

Gales and rain today, possibly up to F10 by the end of it so I doubt there be much happening other than a session of Sufferfest on the turbo trainer and may be a swim with Beren.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Happy Birthday Clare!

We'd both taken the day off for Clare's birthday (21 again), so after a rather yummy breakfast at the new cafe, Fjara, in Lerwick we headed north to go for a walk around The Stanes O Stofast and Lunna Ness.

Parking at Outrabister we headed off over the moors passing what I call The Bear Stone, Well if you see it from a distance, with the wind in your eyes, in the fog at the end of a long walk it kind of looks like one!

Looking over The Loch of South Stofast...

And up to the stanes...

And back to the stanes looking over Fugla Water...

The dizzy heights of The Ward of Outrabister, 90m, without oxygen!

We saw a lot of hares around The Loch of Ward.

I'd not brought my telephoto lens, so I didn't get close enough for any photos, but sadly we got close enough to this one to use my mobile...

It had a bad back leg. I doubt a white hare with bad legs will last long out here, but let's hope it does!


Looking towards the end of Lunna Ness with Yell in the far distance...

We wandered back towards Outrabister into the wind hoping to, but failing to, see otters. Plenty of seals though!

Once back at Outrabister we popped in to say 'Hi' to Frank who has Outrabister Antiques and enjoyed a cuppa with him before heading back south to collect Beren from school. But before we did we popped in to Blydoits to collect some mussels for a birthday tea and a surprise for Beren. He'd decided his New Year's resolution was to try new foods so we bought one oyster for each of us.

He looks happy here, but it didn't last!

We checked out how to shuck an oyster on youtube and then set too. Sadly these weren't little poncy clean oysters of some fancy restaurant, they were mutant monsters of the deep, the size of brick and requiring pneumatic drills to gain entry. After failing miserably with a humble knife I used to screw driver/knife combo to release them from their shells and prepared to gulp them down.

Beren went first and I think he liked it at first, but they were just enormous. Far to big for him to keep in his mouth and swallow never mind chew, but he gave it a valiant effort!


Clare faired no better than Beren and she's had them before, so it fell to me to step up to the plate (or gnarly oyster shell). Not bad, but far too big, even I struggled to chew and swallow them. It tasted fine, but I'll not be rushing to have them again...


After the fun of the oysters it was time for me to don my pinny and cook up a big pot of moules mariniere with crusty bread...

And though we were pretty stuffed after all that we did manage a slice or two of birthday cake. What a fine day!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The Cannon, Eshaness

 I was lucky enough to be out on the coast at Eshaness today as The Cannon was going off...

It's a horizontal blow hole near the base of the cliff that blasts out a stream of air and water, un-surprisingly it's reminiscent of a cannon. I think the sea was a bit too high and wild today to see it in it's full glory as the swell was covering it a lot of the time. Still it was a pleasant surprise to watch it for a few minutes, though it was too windy to risk hanging about for long so close to the cliff edge.

Here's a little video of it taken on my mobile phone...