Saturday, 28 July 2012

Broch of Burland, Brindister

It's been a fine day today. Most of the day has been taken up with jobs around the house, mainly tackling the grass cutting, but tonight I got out for a walk to The Broch of Burland near Brindister while Clare had friends round makking and yakking.

You can see the broch on top of the headland...

Looking over the broch south towards Helli Ness...

And across to Bressay...

There were some pretty cool clouds in the sky...

Just after I'd got back to the car John Coutts came down the coast over the broch in his paramotor. It would have been to get a photo of him over the broch on this beautiful evening, but hey ho...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A few pics...

I've been a bit quiet on here what with the lovely summer weather (umph!) and and other commitments including working fulltime now, but I thought I'd just put a few photos up from some places I've been this last week.

Breckon Sands is an award winning beach up past Cullivoe on Yell that I discovered through work not so long ago. And well worthy of an award it is with fantastic dunes, beautiful sands, water and interesting local history. Clare and Beren have not had the chance to go there yet, but they will soon...

While up on Yell I took the chance for a quick snap of The Windhouse; Shetland's most famous haunted house. As you can see it was a fine day so I had no worries that 'The Lady in Silk' would get me. It'd certainly have a different atmosphere there on a dark windy night. Sadly the place is fenced of with barbed wire so I couldn't get in, well it is obviously pretty dangerous as well as a listed building. It must have been a fantastic house in it's day...

The last few of days have been a bit brighter, but this morning there was a fog hanging about so I thought some black and white would suit this photo of the old fishing house 'The Bod of Nesbister'

We live pretty much at the end of the Tingwall valley with Asta Loch and it's golf course just around the corner. I've no interest in golf, but it's a grand location for a course and the valley with Asta and Tingwall lochs and the surrounding hills is pretty special, especially when you can just put on your boots and go for a wander from your front door...

Tomorrow is Clare and I's 10th wedding anniversary. As you can see from the picture ours wasn't the standard church wedding. It was a fantastic weekend we had with friends and family and we're hoping to have a fantastic day out on Noss tomorrow to celebrate and probably have a bit of posh nosh at some point too. I just hope the weather stays fair or it'll be another cancelled trip to Noss!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Stanes of Stofast, an earth cache

Beren and I have gone a bit geocache crazy today, so much so that we didn't get our promised visit to Frankie's Fish Shop until about 2.30pm, by which time we were ravenous!

I made a bit of a school boy error really. Our main destination for the day was an earth cache at The Stanes of Stofast, but rather than just going there we fitted in another 5 geocaches on the way. By the time we actually got there Beren was pretty exhausted and hungry. Next time, we'll do the long walk (for a 4 year old) first and the other less arduous ones after that.

The stones are really one enormous glacial erratic that has been split by freeze thaw action over thousands of years. They're very big and very impressive...

They're in a great setting too over looking sea and lochs. A great spot to camp...

If you're into climbing I hear there are some great bouldering routes on them, but I reckon there'd be a lot of gardening to do, the lichen covering is like a deep carpet on most of it.

We were thinking of a trip to Noss tomorrow, but I'd forgotten that we have an appointment at a BBQ on the afternoon. May be we'll get there Sunday, failing that we'll be up at Vidlin for a paddle on the Spirit Dancer Canoe that is there for the weekend.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Burn of Tingon, Eshaness

I've known for a while that there is a fantastic waterfall Warie Gill where The Burn of Tingon enters the sea. Until I went there though I had no idea how wonderful the rock forms there were as well as the place in general.

It's pretty much off the beaten track, but it's well worth the effort to visit. Here's the view looking inland along The Burn of Tingon...

Other than the rock it's very reminiscent of the Dales back home. The rock is an amazing andesitic pyroclastic rock, a tuff, spewed out of the ancient volcanoes that were in the region something like 400 million years ago. The weathered rock is pitch black with weathered out chunks of rock within it. Here's a pretty fresh chunk where you can see smaller angular rocks with in it, some chunks within the rock are pretty big. You can see the black that it weathers to too...

Approaching Warie Gill at the coast is very imposing. Black walls ascend from the massive boulder strewn floor, not dissimilar to Da Grind O Da Navir, and the small burn vanishes amongst them to reappear in a pool before it makes a long drop to the trapped sea below.

I know there's a burn in there some where...

Today the burn was very gently pouring over the rock ledge to the water, around 10 m below.

The sea mainly comes in through that enormous arch, but also under the massive rock band that is to the left of this photo. It was hard to get it all in and odd to see when you are there.

The paler rock in the bottom right of the photo actually goes straight from one side of the geo to the other(you can see the bed underlies the black rock near the waterfall). To see the sea crashing through here and over the rock band in a storm would be amazing.

The view from the top of one of the buttresses looking south to Da Grind O Da Navir.

The paler rock is the rock band that seems to have a subterranean passage through it and separates the plunge pool of the waterfall from direct access out to the sea.

That very circular pot hole is probably around 3m across. I wonder when  those trapped rocks will drill though the rock band, may be they already have?

Sadly with out a rope I couldn't see a way to get down to the base of the waterfall or the rock band and it's not as if you can easily approach it from around the coast as the cliffs are a little daunting!

Looking south...

And north across the geo...

There are some other geos nearby that will be worth visiting in the future too, may be during a spell wild westerlies if I'm feeling brave!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

There be a dolphin was in Scalloway today!

I was down at Sumburgh Head today when I got a tweet from Shetland Wildlife that there was a common dolphin in East Voe at Scalloway. It actually said north of the marina , which seemed odd as there's not a great deal of water north of the marina and where I was down south it was low tide. But north of the marina it was. There's also been a sighting of a humpback whale off the north of Unst!

 There were a fair few people there watching it as it lazily circled around in the voe.


As usual I was feeling a little embarrassed at my lack of technology, but luckily my boss who also happens to be the photographer Austin Taylor was there. I was mentioning that I was trying to decide what long lens to get and he kindly offered me the use of his Nikon 300mm F4, cheers! The only problem is now I know what I'm missing.


There have been a few dolphins seen around Shetland this last week, all common dolphins, so I wonder if the three we saw a Quendale Bay the other day were common ones too.

Though they can't compete for my attention with dolphins this little fella caught my eye while I was down at Sumburgh Head. In and out it's burrow doing a little house work!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The Slithers

It's been a bit of a wild one today. Dry, foggy, but blowing a hooley. I went out for my constitutional this morning (around the Scord, Hill of Easterhoull, Sundibanks) and couldn't believe the gale blowing down the Tingwall valley, up on the top it was eye watering, but sensibly I'd gone clockwise so it was at my back on top.

We've had various plans for the weekend. First if was to be camping on Out Skerries with friends, I don't know if the ferry was even running there today with force 8 winds. Then it was to be Noss open day, but that was cancelled; due to the high winds that small RIB ferry couldn't run. 

In the end we settled for some geocaching down south, followed by Beren's friend's for tea. We found a cache on the way and then a lunch at The Sumburgh Hotel went down well (the club sarnie with chips is ace).

After that we did a dash and grab cache near by, before heading up to Compass Head. The wind up top was pretty strong, though the sea wasn't as rough as I'd hoped for.

This is the picture looking from Compass Head towards Sumburgh Lighthouse across the aptly named 'slithers'. What a great descriptive name for this grassy, slabby, slithery slope eh?

Up next was a walk from Toab to visit a cache at Quendale Beach, somewhere Clare and Beren had not been before. As we walked down the track to the beach something dark kept catching my eye out in the bay. Getting excited I stopped and watched a while. There was a dolphin or something. We all watched and definitely saw something. Annoyingly we'd left the binoculars in the cars as we weren't expecting to see anything much and it was so windy. But we headed down into the shelter of the banks and watched for a while as 3 dolphins of some description came closer to us. I say dolphins as they were much bigger than porpoises and were behaving like the risso's dolphins I'd seen up at Catfirth, but I don't think they were that size. Sadly they didn't come close enough for a clear identification, but wow, it was great to watch them hunting around the bay. After that finding the geocache was a bit of an anti-climax!

The forecast is pretty grim for tomorrow at present, so it may be a house work day. Grrrr...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Muckle Loch; a fine night in Hamnavoe

As the fog hung over the edge of The Clift Hills this evening Scalloway was getting a spot of sun for the first time in a few days and it was lovely and warm, so after tea we headed off to Burra. There's a great place there called 'The Muckle Loch' where rumour has it kids from Burra used to be taught to swim. The dam on the end of it says 1960, an ideal length of pool, deep in the middle and shallow at the sides with a great view.

Beren wasn't sure whether to join me or not, but definitely wanted me to jump in.

I had hope it might be a ad warmer than the adjacent atlantic what with the rocks and the trapped water, but it was a real surprise that it was actually pleasantly warm. In no time Beren was stripping off to join me!

Laying back eyes shut on this wonderful evening was just shear bliss!

After lots of cajoling Clare even came in for a dip...

It's not a bad spot for an evening dip is it?

We wandered back to Hamnavoe via The Smuggler Cave to check on our geocache and then just soaked in the evening sun...

Our little King of the Caslte had a great time and can't wait to go back with his friend...