Saturday, 1 May 2010

Shalders, Gjos and Stacks

Had a busy day today with a trip out to Braewick to the beach and a kayaking trip with a friend out from Gunnister Voe.

This morning I went with a freind to Gunnister Voe with  the intention of kayaking out of the Voe round the seaward side of the Isle of Gunnister, going south with the wind and swell down to the south end of the Isle of Nibon before returning north through South and North Sound into Gunnister Voe.

The forecast wasn't the best, but not bad and as we set out for the Isle of Gunnister at around high water. There was some surf breaking on the rocks to either side of the channel out into the Atlantic, but nothing much in the middle so we carried on towards the clear channel.

Sorry the pics get worse as my mobile gets saltier! But the other pics later on are worth the look!

We went out past the island but the swell and wind was really picking up and leaving us pretty exposed to possible swamping with an open cock pit so we headed back in to go round the east side of the Isle of Gunister in the lee of the wind and swell.

We pulled up on a beach on Gunnister to adjust a few things and then explored a few caves and gjos on the way south to the Isle of Nibon

We continued heading south along the coast of the Isle of Nibon finding many little caves and gjos to nose into and a few that if it was low water we could have paddled through to the adjoining gjos.

Eventually we came to a narrow entrance to an inland cove with a swell pulsing through it regularly, but nothing too hairy so we went in to explore.

A steep shingle beach was a great spot to have a breather and a cuppa and some fudge that my friend PA had sent me up from Devon

Although it was amusing to look up from my coffee to see a big wave surging through the narrow gap towards us. Up we jumped just in time to stop getting soaked and grab the yak! And yes I did spill my coffee.

Here's the view looking out to sea from the beach

And here we are just about back out

We crossed South Sound to towards Trumba and then started to head north up the coast of mainland, again nosing into anything of interest. We'd been seeing loads of seals, fulmars were crusing past and threateningly zooming at us head on, we saw eider ducks, scooters and shags, but the best part of it for me was just near Nibon where we saw an otter in the seaweed. It dived and came back up again, then dived and we lost sight of it. We hung about but it didn't re-surface near by, so we slowly and stealthily headed round some rocks to see it hiding and looking out at us, as soon as it knew we'd seen it it turned tail and really did disappear for good so we headed back north and into Gunnister Voe and called it a day. It was only a few miles paddle, but enough for us and a pretty awesome start to the weekend.

I returned home to see Clare and Beren before we headed out together over to the beach at Braewick in Eshaness.

Click the pics to enlarge

Clare and Beren were having fun making sandcastles while I was trying out my new camera

And I spent a bit of time taking photos of a few Oyster Catchers, or Shalders as they are called up here. Also got some pictures of swans, shags and a few other birds but the Shalders stole the day.

Now it's time for a bottle of my Unst Ale I was given as a birthday prezzie last week and 'The Wire'Wonder what tomorrow will bring?


  1. The Island Bere from Valhala Brewieries was a fantastic Ale. I don't usually drink at all as it doesn't agree with my insides in a dramatic way but this real ale went down a treat and had no ill effects. May be the bere meal is fine with my stomach? Not sure if this discovery is a good or bad thing LOL

  2. Man, I just posted a pic of an oyster catcher on my blog. I think mine's better...although it's pretty hard to actually see...and it's mostly black...and...nope, yours are better :-0 Wow!