Saturday, 3 April 2010

St Ninian's Isle and Scousburgh Sands

Make hay while the sun shines they say and in Shetland you really seem to have to do that; ignore any weather forecasts. So when we got up this morning and the wind had dropped and it was sunny we decided on the spur of the moment to pack some sarnies and head down to St Ninian's Isle on the west of southern mainland.

By the time we got there it was turning grey, a colour that seemd to suit the very poor photos of my phone. Beren was obviously feeling keen, on getting out the car he said 'No beach, no beach'. May be we're over doing it?!

Viewed from the car park at Bigton

Bigton viewed from St Ninian's

Unfortunately it's the scene of a local kayaker's recent disapearance. He went out on Thursday and is still not found today, in fact the rescue helicopter flew by the area when we where there. I really hope he's just out camping somewhere.

Clare piggy backed a tired Beren across the tombolo that links the isle to the mainland.

There are caves, geos, stacks and arches all around the isle and some oddly high cliffs. Definitely a place for us to explore on a good day when our kayak arrives.

As well as it's beauty and the tombolo, the Isle is known for the remains of a 12th century Chapel. Packhorse Clare had to give Beren another ride, but here's he is giving her a breather. Sumburgh Head is in the clouds in the far distance. He's not usually this tired, but a week of fun and games with his mates at nursery seems to have worn his little legs out. If you're wondering why I'm not carrying him, my knees and back were bad and I'm a bloke, so that makes me close to death!

The remains themselves are interesting as there was a building here before the chapel and as well as Christian burial cist there is a pre-Christian (Pictish?) burial cist too. Also a young lad found a hoard of treasure here. In the foreground of the photo is a pile of stones which is the remains of the altar, the small standing stone in the centre marks the location of the treasure which is now in National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland.

Before heading back to the car to escape the rapidly building rain, with a flask and some fodder, I took one last photo of and enormous lump of quartz on the hillside.

Then it was off to Scousburgh Sands a bit further south for some more pottering and soaking up the rain.

Beren danced and sang 'King of the castle'

 And I enjoyed watching the small but smooth clear waves come rolling in

Then is was back to the, now damp and steamed up, car for more tea and snacks before a scenic drive home via a friends house in the lovely bay of Gulberwick. Trouble is there are just so many beautiful places to explore up here, roll on tomorrow and what ever it brings...


  1. Thanks Kev.
    You manage to portray the image of Shetland, that I think too many Shetlanders have long since forgotten.
    It's a beautiful place, when seen through your eyes/camera. Keep up the good work.
    Kind regards,
    Da Auld Een

  2. Cheers Auld Een.

    Mean to check out properly do some work on that site Oddrun sent me a link to to get some grid squares filled. Wonder if I can do some grid bagging the others do Munro bagging!