Saturday, 22 December 2012

whoop whoop whoop...

Just a quick update to say we left early and made it back sooth for Christmas.It's a bit odd reading about panic in the isles of Tescos and a chartered Hercules plane restocking the shop due to the ferry cancellations. I hope people are ok, I doubt they'll starve and there are other shops than Tescos across the isles. Having said that, well done on Tesco for doing it,great for PR that's for sure, just lucky you have the finacial backing for it.

In other news my lingering lurgy has turned out to be whooping cough. It just moved up a gear and I'm in full whooping suffocating mode at times; it's scary and horrible especially when you wake up at night coughing and suffocating. It must be truely awful to see kids with it. Nothing to do but wait for it to clear up which apparently can be up to 3 months!

Anyway seasons greetings to you all and I hope the weather sorts itself out in time for out return trip to Shetland after New Year!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Kebister Ness

This horrible lurgy of mine has been hanging on so I've not been up to much other than work and resting up. We have had some great frosty weather and clear skies, but Friday and Saturday were pretty horrible with gales and a storm surge that has left damage in a few places. Today, however, was lovely day, so I went for a little potter and some fresh air out along Kebister Ness just north of Lerwick.

Looking south over Rova Head towards Bressay...


Again looking south over The Stacks of Vatsland. There are some small arches and caves here that the water was pulsing out of, but I couldn't get down for a close look as the tide was fairly high...


Looking out north-east to the end of the ness with South Nesting in the distance...


The high point, only 33m. But a great view point...


Looking back down the ness the way I came...


At the end there are 3 distinct sharp ridges that stretch out into the sea with deep geos between them. It's a pretty lovely spot...


From the end of the central ridge...


The northern ridge gives an easy way down to the sea so I went down for a nosy...


The caves and geos along this coast aren't the most dramatic but they still have their moments with this little cove giving a regular spurt of spray along with some impressive sounds...


Quite a nice spot to sit and watch the sea for a while...


I headed back to the car along the north eastern side of the ness to Doos' Cove. There were a surprising number of shags on the rocks around the ness, but I never saw any pigeons, which I guess the cove is named after.

Here's the veiw looking back up the headland from Doos' Cove...


Once home it was time to check the car over while we still had daylight for our trip back home later in the week and a quick run down to Meal Beach with Beren for some more pottering. Kebister Ness is a nice little headland, all the more so for it being sandwiched between some of Shetland's industrial areas. I think I might be back in  the summer with my dry suit for a splash about to look in some of the little caves and arches.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

A quick trip to Sumburgh

The snow wasn't long hanging about (though it's due back), but I've had a pretty rough cold that has been hanging about and keeping me up all night coughing. As a result I've had a pretty quite couple of weeks. 

We decided to escape the house in a clear spell today to get some fresh air and drove down to Sumburgh. We had a sneaky look around the Old Scatness site in a light sleet. Pretty impressive and I was surprised how many remains are there; it looks pretty small from the road.

Next stop was a sneaky look around Jarlshof in a bit sunnier spell.

Sumburgh Head on the left, Scat Ness on the right...


Again it's pretty impressive inside Jarlshof with the old broch remains, lairds house and the like...




There's much much more to the site, but again spell of sleet put the camera away and soon we were back in the car for a scenic trip home via Spiggie and Bigton. We stopped at Spiggie Beach and had a mooch for a while and headed round to a little secret beach near by, disturbing a few seals as we approached and then continued home.

I'm hoping both my chest and the weather improve for next weekend as after that we'll be home south for a couple of weeks, so a weekend out and about before we go would be great.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Out Skerries; second visit and a day of big skies

I had my second trip (First trip) to Out Skerries on a very cold and icy morning that seems to have hit some in Shetland by surprise. The icy start gave some lovely scenes though...


Looking out across the North-East Mouth that the Vidlin ferry comes through...


And the North Mouth...


Out Skerries is a very useful shape with it's sheltered voes and mouths going in between the islands. Across the South Mouth...


Heading down to the south west tip of the island...


The Ward of Mioness is the nipple in the centre and the second highest point on Out Skerries at a whopping 48m...


To get on to Mio Ness involves crossing Trolli Geo. A rope assisted clamber down slippery rocks to the bottom of the geo and a similar climb up the other side. A well timed hale shower made this all the more interesting, but the view looking back up over Out Skerries was worth it...


Looking South-West over the 'summit cairn' with The Benlips and other Skerries in the distance...


It was a biting cold day out today an on the way back I popped into the Church of Scotland Kirk out of interest and for a quiet moment out of the wind with a dry seat...



There are 2 small shops on Out Skerries, though I've not been to either. I was wishing there was a pub with a nice fire while I waited in the dark for the ferry to arrive. But atleast it did arrive!

Tomorrow Beren and I are going to help a friend on Bressay with some sheepy work which should be entertaining before he's rushed back for a party and then on Sunday his own 5th birthday party. Bust weekend ahead...



Thursday, 29 November 2012

Da Brigs o' Vementry

It was an icy one this morning as I headed out West to Vementry, but as you can see pretty gorgeous and the sun not long out of bed.


 There's a path between Vementry and Clousta across some low hills in this land of lochs and voes. Mid-way is Da Brigs, a causeway and brig with a gate on it saying 'Da Brigs' And a very pretty spot it is too...


Though I've got to say not a pretty as the peerie beasties in the water. No it's not Nessie...


As ever my poorly endowed camera let me down so these are heavily cropped and as you can see by the time I came across these it was drizzling and grey which hasn't helped the photos.



Two of them were pottering about in the loch, in and out the water and usually too far from me for photos, but great to watch.


As you can see they were fairly close at times, but busy doing their ottery thing, not posing for photos for me!


No idea what it's got...



If there was ever and excuse to sit down and sit still for a few minutes, even in the rain, this has got to be it.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Otters Ahoy!

I was going up to my friend Martin Rickard's at Voe today to take some photos of him using his newly carved greenland paddle, but the day has turned out to be pretty dull and grim. Instead we decide to go for a short paddle up Swinning Voe to West Lunna Voe.

You can see my last kayak visit here with Beren and Clare and a few photos of the voe, oddly enough on a similarly grey day.

It was nice to get on the water again for a gentle potter up the voe. We were heading out when I thought I noticed an otter in the far distance, so we cut the chat and gently carried on confirming that there were two in the water doing there ottery thing up ahead.

I didn't hold out much hope for us seeing anything other than them disappearing as we slowly drifted towards them with just the odd gentle stroke of the water. I was in a bright orange/yellow dry suit and though Martin had a black drysuit his deck was also bright orange, hardly camouflage!

Anyway we seemed to be getting closer with out them startling; watching one pop up and munch on it's breakfast once in a while before disappearing under the water for a short time.

We rafted up and enjoyed a good 5 minutes of watching otters between 15 and 30 foot from us. They were obviously interested in us and kept popping up and sniffing/snorting in our general direction, but despite the colours, our stillness and the fact that we were just floating there din't seem to bother them. One disappeared at one moment and we watched it's bubble trail over to a raft of weed and then noticed it taking a sneaky  peek at us over the weed, while it's trail, less sneakily was wagging at the other side of the weed. Pretty comical really.

Eventually their feeding took them off away from us and we carried on, but what a wonderful few minutes of stillness and for all photos would have been great trying to get them would just have spoilt the moment.

We carried on a bit, Martin did some rolling with his new paddle and by all accounts the water was bloody freezing,  colder than greenland he reckoned.We soon headed back towards our put-in, looking out for the otters again on our return trip, but we had no such look this time.

A cup of tea and a bacon butty and all was right in our little world!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Whale Wick , Burra

I was taking it easy today after a busy week so just went out for a little stroll round the Hill of Sandwick on Burra. I set out from near Merkisayre Stud and headed south up the valley to Whale Wick...


It was a windy but lovely moody day with a low sun, a big south-westerly swell and air full or spray and foam at times. After a while soaking it all in I headed back north up the hill and long to a little arch. It was far too rough to get down tot he arch and pretty hard to get any photos at all with the spray but I risked my camera to get these two before just enjoying the atmosphere.



I was planning on a walk tomorrow with my walking buddy and his dog, but my knee's now giving me a bit of gyp, so I'm off to take some photos of my friend from seakayakadventure doing some Greenland rolling with his newly finished greenland paddle. I may even get a chance for a splash myself!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Deepdale, Maywick


There's a walk that goes out from Maywick north up the coast to Deepdale. Given it's name it's not surprising a very deep cut valley, but it you look on the map it also has a waterfall marked pretty much at the end of the route. I needed to check out the path so the falls were a little bonus.


Deepdale is the sharply cut valley at the top of the screenshot from Flash Earth. It's only a short walk there, but  pretty steep with a climb straight up from the car to start with plus other valleys. As you can see there's plenty of interesting coast to explore.

You get a great view from the cliff top of Maywick and out to Little and South Havra along with Burra further north. Here's South Havra in the crook of this bit off cliff. That veiw reminds me of fishing meids and the talk I went to last night at the Lerwick Museum.


Here's a great panorama from the top of Ramna Geo with (left to right) Maywick, Maywick Taing, Little Havra, South Havra, Holm of Maywick and the bottom of West Burra...


The 'official' path as such stops at Deepdale, but you can carry on up the coast, or where ever you want as long as you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. I went a few hundered yards inland to look at the falls and have my dinner. It was a very windy day with rain to come so it wasn't long before I headed back, but as you can see it's a nice little spot...



I'll likely be back in my own time to explore some more and hopefully get down to the beach there, may be even this weekend weather providing...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Here and there on Unst

It's been a bit grim at times lately so it's nice to get out and about in between the weather. I had a trip up to Unst, a great isle with loads of places to explore. Sadly I never seem to get up there enough to do it justice. Here's a site with some details and links to do with the archaeology.

This standing stone near Lund is one of my favourite and just down the road from it is Lunda Wick, a great sandy beach that we camped at some time ago.


Next I was over towards Mu Ness, passing this other standing stone on the way...


South of Muness Castle is a little bay, Scolla Wick, with some great looking rocks. here's the little burn running down to the sea over them...


And the little waterfall at the top of it...


North of the castle is The Ham of Muness with a long sweeping shingle beach...


And not far away a little north east is Easting's Beach (Sand Wick) where there are lots of Viking settlement remains along the back of the long sandy beach and the remains of an old Haa at the southern end. It's a fantastic beach, not one I've visited before and certainly one to return to and find out more about it's history.

Looking north up the beach...




And south...



I didn't see the furry critters, but obviously I wasn't the only one enjoying the beach today...


The weather is back to near gale wind and rain again, but hopefully it'll ease enough to get out tomorrow ...