Thursday, 5 July 2012

Da Grind o da Navir and there abouts...

Yesterday despite the fog I decided to risk a drive up to Eshaness for a walk around the coast and to visit Da Grind O Da Navir, an impressive storm beach up north from the lighthouse.


It's a funny thing that for all I usually go for a wander in an area because something about it has caught my interest I rarely know. It's when I return and write my blog that I find out all sorts of interesting things. So yesterday I returned with a few things to look up via the wonder that is google and discovered a the sad tale of an accidental death and a family shunned.


I set off north from the lighthouse car park past the enormous Calders Geo. The tide was out and the foliage was spectacularly verdant. It's on a long list of paces I want to get into at some point.



The view as you walk north on these high cliffs is nothing short of fantastic...


Looking back to the light house is pretty good too though...



This is Moo stack...


...with a yacht and fishing boat out in the distance...


The cliff tops make lovely walking, close cropped grass and only the odd soggy boggy bit to hop.


Two weeks after we first arrived in Shetland we actually came up here on a frozen gale on New Years Day. Beren was just 2 and in a super off-road pushchair we had, we managed not to blow a way and made our way as far as this...


At that point, being frozen and it being pretty impossible to get a map out we though this was may be Da Grind O Da Navir. A very impressive place, but I remember being confused at the lack of massive beach rubble that I expected.


Now we know that this is Da Grind O Da Navir. A mouth in the cliffs that the atlantic ocean comes racing up and through in a storm and deposits blasted blocks of rock at the back of the cliffs.


This video from youtube shows you what it can be like!


Sadly there's nothing for scale in this photo, but trust me it looks like piles of quarry blasted rocks and on a day like today when the sea's calm and the tide is low it's hard to imagine the sea blasting up through the mouth in cliffs and brining rocks of this size all the way back there.


Looking back south from the top of one of the rock sentinels of the grind...


From here the coast descends to be a lot more gentle. I had intended to walk all the way round to Hamnavoe on the coast and the walk or hopefully hitch back to the lighthouse, but as I sat for lunch at The Burr near Croo Loch the weather started to close in some what. Knowing how quickly the wind can pick up and the rain descend I decided just to head back up towards the lighthouse up the valley.


Here's another place I want to get down in to. The Holes of Scraada is just in from the coast and fed from the nearby The Loch of Houlland. The seaward entrance is enormous, I think I just need a wetsuit and the right day...


Again there were lots of young birds about, mainly wheat ears like these two...


The remains of the broch on the Loch, of Houlland...


Typically as I got close to my start the weather was clearing again, so I carried on south over the road towards the southern coast.


Noticing the remains of Cross Kirk on my map I decided to check it out. The Kirk is gone other than a base, but this memorial,The Cheyne Monument, stands rather brutishly in front of where it was.



Of more interest, to me, is the grave of Donald Robertson:

 born, 14th January 1785,
died 4th June 1848, aged 63 years.
He was a peaceable, quiet man and to all appearance a sincere Christian.
His death was much regretted which was caused by
the stupidity of Laurence Tulloch in Clothister (Sullom)
who sold him nitre instead of Epsom salts by which
he was killed in the space of 5 hours after taking a dose of it


What a sad tale of an accidental death and the guy who caused it.

Up above the Kirk remains are the remains of Sae Breck broch...


The archaeological digs obviously found plenty of interest, but all that remains to the casual eye is the mounds of the broch interspersed with the remains of a more recent fortification...


This octagonal structure and various concrete anchors round about are the remains of Sae Breck RAF radio station from the war. There's a great view from here on a clear day.

As it was I headed down towards the coast and still had some great views. Another wheat ear with the Isle of Stenness in the background...


The coast from Stenness around to hear is pretty tame and very beautiful until it fairly suddenly rises up to the lighthouse. we saw otters not far from here some time back as we sheltered from the wind and rain behind a derelict wall.


Here's Dore Holm in the distance...


Told you, wheat ears everywhere...



And so I was soon heading back up hill to the lighthouse after around 5.5 miles on a misty, but lovely day. The boat I'd seen behind Moo stack earlier was now motoring about down here doing it's fishing thing, but the yacht of earlier was long gone...







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