Saturday, 30 April 2011

Noss and Bressay on the Dunter 111

I took an executive decision on Friday and booked us on the Dunter 111 for the Sea Birds and Seals Cruise as the weather and forecast were so good.

A great decision it was. The boat left a sunny Lerwick at 10am heading north round Bressay.

We stopped at many small un-inhabited island on our way round to look a the seals and birds, both on them and in the waters. As you can imagine taking photo from a pitching rolling boat isn't the easiest, so for all we saw, red throated divers, red mergansers, eiders, puffins, razor bills, gannets, kittiwakes, fulmars, black backed gulls, great skuas, guillemots and black guillemots as well as an otter in the Orkney Man's cave on Bressay the bird photo's are a bit limited.

Going through Noss Sound with Anderhill Look Out Tower of Bressay on the right.

We had a tea stop in the sound before moving round to the East coast of Noss, a land of cliffs and gannets.

Not a gannet! Skua or Bonxie.

After a while pootling around the cliffs and looking at the underwater camera we headed back to the south end of Bressay, the Giants Leg and Orkney Man's cave.

And finally headed back to Lerwick passing the lovely Kirkabister light house and some basking seals.

It might seem expensive at £40 a head (full price adult) for 3 hours, but I can assure you it really is a trip to remember especially on a beautiful Shetland day like today. Later in the year there is even more bird activity too.

Later in the day, me not having had enough of a nautical theme, we took the sailing dingy (GP14) for a 2 hour cruise from East Voe Marina, Scalloway around the west coast of Trondra to the Burra Brig (too low!) and back. 

The day was still lovely and despite the responisbility of taking Clare and Beren out on decent trip I loved it, but I'd pushed fun on the water a little far for them. Beren just wanted a picnic to eat and said it was too windy and Clare was a little perturbed by the nature of sailing a dinghy with tacking, gybing, gusts, lulls and moving about; though for their first time out they both did brilliantly and Clare soon go tthe hang of trimming the jib sheet and adjusting her balance. Sadly I don't think it's going to be a family activity, may be on a rare perfect day, but if I can get a little 2 stoke for the boat and leave the mast in the marina they'd be happy to cruise the islands and explore.

Well, time for bed and a well earned kip!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Bendy Microwaves = Leaves on the track?

Sorry but I had to post his. I think it's hilarious. The internet, which was super dooper  here in Sunny Scalloway compared to Mossbank, has been down right awful lately and now I know why...

Today’s fine weather may have been enjoyable, but it has also caused recurring breakdowns in broadband service in homes and businesses across the isles.
Shetland Broadband experienced problems across the Cable and Wireless network which it serves.
The organisation’s Ian Brown said atmospheric conditions, or “microwave fading”, were behind the problems.He said high pressure, light winds and the right humidity level could often cause communication to break down.
“Atmospheric conditions cause the network signals to be bent, and they are missing the dishes,” he said.

Is that really true? Or is it jut a leaves on the line/wrong type of snow story?

Which dishes are they missing, my red Thai curry in the micro wave at work? It did take a while to cook! 

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Njugals Water, Burradale Hills

It's been lovely up in Sheltand for a few days now and looking to be so for a few more to come.

Today I went for a pootle up The Burn of Njugal from the Brig O' Fitch. The burn is a lovely little run of gentle pools and cascades with primroses, daffodils and ferns along it.

The view back down the Brig O' Fitch

At the top the view of the Burradale Sisters was very impressive and beautiful, especially with a dozen or so circling ravens playing in the thermals over the hills.


I saw about 8 mountain hares too, half way changed back from their white winter coat, but I couldn't get a decent photo of the peerie beasties before they scampered off.

Here's Njugals Water itself. A njugal is a water spirit, half man half horse. It would have been nice to have seen one, but alas I'd have to make do with ravens and hares!

Nearby is an old WW11 bunker entrance. not much to see now as the end has been bricked up, just a dead and smelly hedgehog that was unfortunate enough to find it's way in, oh and Stick Man Vampire waiting in the end for some one, but that's a whole other story of work place silliness...

I've high hopes of a kayak with a friend from Sound over to Bressay and along to the Orkney Man's Cave and Giant's Leg tomorrow after work, but one swallow doesn't make a spring, and a few calm days definitely shouldn't lead to complacency with the weather up here, and certainly not on the water!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Summer must be here!

Today didn't get off to a good start, head over the toilet, ill!

But it got better. The sun came out and Shetland, or atleast Sunny Scalloway, was transformed into a place of sun and warmth, is this summer? It's 10c pushing 11c according to the Shetland road stations.

The front garden is looking splendid with flowers out and the hawthorn in leaf; the May Blossom might be June Blossom though. 2, two, TWO TWO hours to cut the grass on Friday night (front and back), without a break for a cuppa or anything. I think I need a goat!

Out back it's lovely too...

The hens are happy...

as hens in dust...

So I've spent the day resting up, dozing, swotting up for an interview tomorrow, ironing a shirt and trousers and other than feeling a little churned up, pretty good.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Smuggler's Cave, Burra

Finally I've found it! With the help a some local knowledge, it has to be said, but even then it's easy to walk right past the landward entrance.

So, I'm not going to tell you where it is, but if you're out and about in that area and interested you'll figure it out. Some things are worth the search.

So here's a little video that should give you a few clues as to where it is. Mind, there's no smuggler's loot in there!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Bressay 2

Clare needed some more 'Beren' free time to get her OU assignment finished, so off we went out on tour to Bressay again.

Note: the Bressay ferry doesn't take cards like the rest, only cash. Useful if you're the first car on with no cash and the ferry has filled up behind you!

Our first port of call was a rough beach near Setter, on The Voe of Cullingsburgh. The reason being it is listed as a good launch point for kayaking round The Isle of Noss nature reserve; the other launch at the bottom of a long steep hill where the little ferry  (RIB) to Noss goes from.

The look out tower on top of the hill is later on our agenda for the day.

Along this track are various archaeological remains such as a burnt mound, broch and St Mary's Church, none of which we visited as Beren pee'd himself!

After a bite to eat and fresh clothes back at the car we detoured up to The Hill of Setter. A lovely view point, just pity about the various concrete remains of an army station up there. We returned to the main road and parked up at the end of the Noss road. It's a short steep walk down to the ferry point, but we were headed up to Ander Hill and the old look out tower. Be warned it's a steep climb up the heather hillside. On a day like today with force 6 gales up there and a 3 year old on your shoulders much of the way it's more like Everest.

To be fair to Beren, I pretty much had to carry him, as even holding my hand walking he was getting blown over. I really was very glad when we got to the top for respite from both the wind and my screaming legs.

More stunning views, what a day...

The Isle of Noss

The Ward of Bressay

We did have plans to go up the Ward of Bressay to complete a sort of mini 3 peaks of Bressay, but after the buffeting getting up Anders Hill it can wait. As it was we descended towards the Noss ferry point and kept out of the worst of the wind.

There are interesting remains  all over the place, but this old croft has to be the hairiest of them!

Beren decided it was time to serve ice creams

The length and thickness of the lichen was amazing

After another steep climb into the wind up to the car, a snack and other essentials and then we headed off to Kirkabister Light House again and the old harbour and arch there. Ward of Bressay, you'll have to wait, I have special plans for you involving a scary decent on mountain bike and possibly video!

We passed my friend's croft, beeping a 'Hello' as they picked horse poo in the paddock, a sparrow hawk on the road side fence and finally pulled up at the light house.

On the way down to the old harbour a few sheep greeted us, they were oddly friendly.

A group of grey seals were basking as we approached the old harbour, but they soon flopped into the sea when they got wind of us.

There are some really great views from Bressay of Lerwick and Sound

Hoping the fun police weren't about Beren and I then set about a bit of rock climbing (for him) down from the  lighthouse to inspect the fantastic natural arch that is just below it. We saw a couple of shags too; getting nests ready by the looks of it.

It's hard to get a photo of the arch from the land, but it's really worth the effort to see it close up

Here's the light house with the arch below it. It's scale isn't really apparent, up close and personal  is what you need.

A quick cuppa at my friends place, a few carrots for the neddies and it was time to return to a finished assignment, a lovely curry and a sofa!