In this weeks 'Times' (Shetland Times of course, what other could there be) a couple have been setting records in the Ham radio world by transmitting and receiving from remote uninhabited islands up here. Obviously a challenging and fun venture for all involved.
However this pales in to realms of a quick nip out to the shops in comparison to Walter Scott's Shetland project. Now I love to try to visit to of the way places, but would I catalogue lists of all these 'features' of Shetland (below) and see how many I could visit? Erm...no!
My interest in the botany of Shetland began in 1955 when I was fifteen years old, and has continued to the present day. For some thirty-five years my travels in search of plants took me to many parts of Shetland, often to remote corners and islands where the flora had not hitherto been examined. In the early 1990s I decided to fill in the gaps in my coverage of the county by identifying a number of projects, namely, things to do, see, or visit. Many of these ventures, eighteen in all, have been completed or nearly so. Some, like holms in freshwater lochs, had a purely botanical basis. Others were chosen, not for their botanical value―although my interest in plants was always in the background―but because they provided a predetermined and finely gridded basis which gave me a uniform coverage of all parts of all of our islands.
The first number is how many features he has listed; the number in brackets is how many of each category he has visited so far. VERY impressive and nice to note he's had a pint in every pub in Shetland in 2004!
01. Islands 2487 (1226).
02. Ruined houses 2461 (2461).
03. Kilometre squares 2248 (2238).
04. Coastal walking 1270 miles (1270).
05. Freshwater lochs 526 (526).
06. Plants, native 354 (354).
07.Holms in freshwater lochs 348 (348).
08. Main roads 240 (240).
09. Hillsummits 115 (115).
10. Plants, alien 107 (107).
11. Brochs 78 (78).
12.Churches 81 (81).
13. Triangulation pillars 76 (76).
14. Lighthouses 55 (54).
15. Cemeteries 52 (52).
16. Public houses 34 (34).
17. Standing stones 28 (28).
18. Geographical extremeties 4 (4)
If you check out his website he lists the criteria for accomplishing each category. One example is...
Kilometre squares. To stand on (or touch by hand when sea conditions or the shape of the available land precludes a safe landing) as many as possible of the 1 km squares of the Ordnance Survey National Grid within which there is some land, of any size, and which is above high water in calm conditions. There is a total of 2,248 such squares...
A lot more fun than train spotting (not a viable Shetland hobbie!) and dare I say it , Munro Bagging (sadly not available in Shetland either!)
However, if I had a list like that I'd have a nervous breakdown trying to finish it, preferably yesterday. The second Noble Truth 'that suffering arises from attachment and desires' would be very appropriate for me!
I'll look forward to having a nosey through some of the detail at my leisure for places I might fancy visiting and if I have any queries it's useful to note that he only lives 5 minutes walk away in Scalloway.
Mmm... I notice he hasn't got a list of noosts on there...