Sunday, 5 June 2011

Fethaland; a lovely day for a paddle

All was calm and sunny today as a friend and I headed out from North Roe for a 7 or 8km paddle north to the old Haa Station of Fethaland.

Heading north; Yell in the far distance. Later on we could see Saxa Vord which is right at the northern tip of Unst, what a clear day! And what a day to just have the mobile for photos rather than my camera!!

With in no time we saw an otter in the water (second of the day). It quickly disappeared, but we were to see it out on the rocks eating on the way back.

The were plenty of small channels between stacks and skerries to potter through. The odd seal surfaced and the shags dived from their ledges into the water as we approached.

There were a few shags nesting above the entrance to a rather nice cave, complete with delicate salty stalactites.

The coast up here is a mouse nibbled cheese of geos, bays, caves and stacks, fantastic. The headland here, Kame of Isbister, has remains of an old (iron age I think)  fortification on it's grass banks. Apparently the Time Team lot did a programme here.

Another tunnel through into a beautiful geo. A shag dived in in front of me, giving me a shock when it clipped the boat as it swam under me.

Where are we? 

Finally the beach at Fethaland was approaching. I was tired and felt like a boil in the bag meal in my dry suit on such a sunny day.

I stripped off the dry suit and aired a bit. We counted 23 seals in the bay watching us as we lounged on the warm rocks. It was tempting to head further north to the point of Fethaland, but I was pretty shattered and we knew that the sea would be a whole different challenge once we rounded the point. So chill and rest for the paddle back...

Old Haa houses and noosts on the beach

Someone had built these lovely stone towers in the bay. Something I think is common in Norway, though I've seen a few on my travels round Shetland.

The paddle back should have been easy with  the wind and tide at our back. It was much  quicker, but after yesterdays paddle this was just one paddle to far for me. The sight of some puffins and the otter again on the way back made up for it a bit, but it was a struggle really and now I'm home on the anti-inflammatories and pain killers. One day I really will learn, it's just so bleeding hard when there's days like this and such amazing places to paddle.


  1. I guess there has been Norwegian tourists on that beach... They build those stone towers everywhere, most commonly on mountain tops.. It's something I'll try to remember to take pictures of this summer,, if I don't already have dozens of pictures on file. :)

  2. Yeh, it was your good self who must have had some on your blog some time, real high ones with very thin tops :oD