Monday, 30 August 2010

Norn but not forgotten

BBC Radio 4 just had a great programme about Sheltand poetry and dialect Norn but not forgotten There's some lovely poetry on there, it's interesting too, but only available for a week. Sadly no use to my hard of hearing followers. Another article on it can be found here, but no transcript for this programme which is a real shame.

There's a poem towards the end, second from the end may be,  'Ebb tide' I particularly liked and it even uses the term moder-dye in it! Catch it while you can...

In other news...

I'm now awaiting an appointment for an operation to sort out the cartilage in my right knee. I think that's better than it been my cruciate ligament as initially thought? They seem to have given up on the rest of me!

The nights are noticeably drawing in now and the weather cooling, but it's still grand up here and I'm hoping that the weather is fair for the weekend for another rowing club venture, a long one...

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Vidlin Rowing Club; a peerie row to Whalsay and back

After a horendous saturday, where trips to Da Big Bannock and Walls were just not worth the bother due to gales and pounding rain, it was a suprise to wake to a pretty amenable looking day.

There's been talk of a social row at the end of the season, initially to Out Skerries with an overnight stay, which I thought would be fantastic. Such a venture may be seemd a bit too much of a venture for a first rowing trip for the club so some kindly folk arranged the logistics for a trip to a nearby island, Whalsay.

This was a great idea actually as one team could row out there (about 8 miles) whilst another team could get the ferry to meet us there and row back, while we got the ferry back. Excellent. I was on the team to row there and Clare would meet me on Whalsay to pass over the baton (Beren), while she rowed back.

Here we are just making preparations to launch from Vidlin

The intention was just for a steady relaxed row, no rush and plenty of time to enjoy the scenery that few get to see.

As we rounded The Taing out of Vidlin Voe we got lovely views across Lunna.


Next pause was Orra Wick. The bay that our boat The Orrick is named after.

Even though not far from shore the map was regualrly checked to keep an eye on both progress and points of interest.

Here's the shore at Lunning, a place for future visits

and an old croft that Sandy's (our cox) great-great-grandparents lived in.

There were several small islands between us and Whalsay as we went south down the coast. A following sea and wind gently helping us along before we cut south east to Whalsay.

We saw the ferry from Laxo coming so hung about to let it pass and waved to our team mates who were on it on the way to meet us for their return row.

We arrived at Symbister on Whalsay only to find the shop closed and the sunday tea not starting until 4pm. A point to remember from future trips, but not the end of the world. After a quick chat and wander about the return team were on their way

and so were we.

A lovely sight from the ferry was The Swan out at sea. We saw another modern yacht too, but The Swan did look majestic.

After a bit of a more testing row back the return team arrived safely, if not rather wet, in Vidlin. Not only were they rowing against the wind and swell a fair bit of the way, but the tide was running against it building it up a in places. A time or two they had to pause and ride the swell as it was breaking over the bow when they rowed into it and coming on board. Nothing too worrying, but also not a thing to ignore.

So, a successful and enjoyable first outing for the club and a nice change from racing and training. I hope to persuade people to do another one before the weather and days draw in so I'd better get planning a tempting venture...

Friday, 20 August 2010

A pause for thought and renewal

I've been thinking for a while about my blog, it's nature, direction and why I started it.

The title moder-dye (a shetlandic expression) seemed to mean something to me even though in a strict maritime sense it's meaning doesn't hold true. It touched me with a slightly deeper meaning to do with my life and the move to Shetland helping me to re-gain my self from amidst the clapotis of life that had built up around me. How ironic then to hear that it never was meant to be a physical phenomenon, but meant more of a homing instinct that draws you home.

This blog never had a set direction. It started out as a way to let folks back home know what we were up to in our new life and a bit of a way for me to have some 'occupation' whilst I was unable to work. I had thought's that some of my personal philosophies may creep in, I had no intention of being a photo-aholic!

Whether it's a settling in to life here, work or the seemingly rapid change in the season I find myself feeling that the flavour of the blog may change, I don't know how, but after reading Rev Mugo at Jade Mountain commenting on Rev Alicia at Reading Priory's  post about renewal:

Renewal is a different concept to rest. Renewal is a change of pace, time out from the usual routine of work, an opportunity to relax, yes, but in skillful ways that keep the training going and allow it to be expressed in other ways. It is a chance to ask 'what would it be good to do that would renew/refresh me in mind and body?'
I feel a change is a foot, a change reflected in a changing me.

I sit here now thinking why am I writing this? What am I saying? Do I need to say anything? Probably not, it will be what it is and always has been, a reflection of what is going on in parts of our life. The parts that are reflected may vary more though.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Vementry; a little kayak camping

This weekend was a first for us, a kayak camping trip! How to fit 3 sets of everything in a tandem kayak including 2 adults and a child was a bit challenging, but we did it!

Beren doesn't seem so sure he'll fit in...

The plan was to paddle a short way from Brindister, near Clousta, to Suthra Voe on Vementry, camp the night and explore a bit, before paddling back. More than enough adventure for a little boy of less than 3.

Just about ready for the off

Here we are unpacking after arriving at our little camping peninsular, hopefully sheltered, but not too sheltered to let the midge get us. Beren actually fell asleep as we paddled over!

Home for the weekend

Some views of Suthra Voe

Beren had a great time exploring our little piece of paradise

Hunting for shells and crabs

Spotting seals

and playing clap sticks

We were lucky as there weren't too many midgies, but they chose their time to attack, basically went we sat down to eat. However, I can now attest to the midge deterring power of Avon Skin So Soft. The little blighters still annoy the death out of you, but the skin product really does stop them biting. It's great!

Here's Clare slapping it on while Beren watches his Grandad cook up a curry

On the evening we had a big fire of collected wood and plastic debris from the area, yucky smoke for a while, but we left the beaches a bit cleaner.

Saturday was a great day and in the evening we went to sleep looking forward to the next day.

The morning was another gorgeous one and we got ready to go for a paddle to get some respite from the ticklish midgies.

Clare's Dad and Sue went out to circumnavigate Vementry and had a walk up to the old gun placements on the outer headland. Being in a less able craft and with Beren in tow we explored a few of the small islands in the more ssheltered voes of the area, watched the seals and birds before returning to strike camp and paddle back to the car. Beren had another sleep on the paddle back, obviously not a stressful event for him!

On our way home we spotted the rowers on the Brae to Aith yoal race just heading in towards Aith. A journey of around 8 miles that Clare would have done a couple of weeks back if it hadn't been cancelled then due to the weather. I think she was glad she couldn't make the new date due to our camping trip!

So where next, decisions decisions...

Friday, 13 August 2010

Culswick Broch and coast

Clare took a day off today, so evil parents that we are we left Beren in nursery to go for a walk with her Dad and Sue. Don't worry he'll be having fun too, we're going on our first kayak camping trip tomorrow!

We drove out west towards Culswick and parked near what, judging by the rank grass around it, must be one of the least used, yet remaining, red phone boxes in the UK. Clare tried it. It was dead.

The track led away up the hill along a track cut deep into the peat in parts and then all of a sudden the broch appeared.

A causeway takes you across a small burn and up to the broch

Looking north towards the island of Vaila. There were some interesting stacks and arches such as Gaada Stacks below

We turned and headed south to wander along the headlands back towards Culswick when Kaptain Kalamity Kev struck. Not only was my left leg still feeling distinctly odd from yesterdays numbing experience, but now on a piece of perfectly flat and smooth sheep mown grass I went and badly turned my 'bad' ankle. I really do feel like a liability at the moment.

The views the rest of the way round were stunning, but now with a couple of miles of ankle twisting terrain I was at the point of giving up all hope. God it was painful getting back to the car and still is.

Anyway the coast was amazing, as ever. Here's a couple of views of Burga Stacks, one with Fitful Head in the distance.

And a few more interesting pointy things...

As we carried on we saw a few more pointy things. I wanted to add more to them but decided to just leave them be as they were. Knowing me with my current luck I'd knock them down!

We passed a head called The Nev on the O.S. with a very deep and inviting gjo

The caves in the gjo headed through the next headland to a beautiful little cove with the remains of a watermill, noosts (boat shelter) and some other buildings, so we rested there a bit.

 The Mill remains

A noost and the cove

We also got a great view of Giltarump, a small island/stack off another headland called The Nev that Clare and I had previously kayaked near on a trip from Westerwick.

The weather had been pretty Shetlandic all morning with sun, cloud and rain in a random combinations and just after we got here it decided to rain just that bit heavier. What with the rain, the steeply angled terrain and my ankle making me feel ill I put my camera away to concentrate on getting back to the car without further trauma.

Thankfully not much later we were safely sat in Bonhoga Gallery again where I happily sampled their cakes to aid my recovery.

Now Clare, her Dad and Sue are out at Hillswick at a fiddle frenzy concert and dance, I'm here and Beren's in bed. The plan for the weekend is a short paddle to Vementry for a nights camping and exploring the island, though I'll be taking a book not my hiking boots!