Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Noss and the Noup

On a blustery day I finally got a chance to go to Noss National Nature Reserve and check the paths , it was a bit wet a times, but it didn't spoil the trip. After crossing Bressay it's a short walk down a track to the jetty. Pretty soon the wardens were on their way across in the little ferry for the short trip onto Noss. At £3 for an adult it's not bad and it goes some way to supporting the warden service on the reserve.


Noss visitor centre...


Outside are various collections of whale bones and inside are some great displays and a range of information and leaflets...



I set off round the island going anti-clockwise as recommended. In clear spells in the weather I got some good views like this one over to The Bard on Bressay from Turr Ness...


Heading around and slowly upwards I got to The Holm of Noss, a large stack just before you go up The Noup (which is just peeping out above the slope on the left)...


Looking south from the holm I spotted this arch in Feadda Ness which I remember from my boat trips around Noss...


The cliffs are well known for being spectacular from a boat, but they're pretty good from above too. I wonder how long it will be before this large block makes it's way down to the sea...


And soon enough the view of The Noup with it's fantastic gannet colonies is revealed; you can smell it too!


It's getting towards the end of the breeding season now with some birds already gone, but there were still plenty of gannets and chicks...




As I reached the top of The Noup the weather came in so I carried on and waited for it to clear whist watching out for the odd diver bombing bonxie. I didn't get hit, but a couple came pretty close.

I was soon back on the relative flat of the island and heading back to the visitor centre and the weather had cleared again. This is the view looking west towards Papil Geo as I headed back...


The walk around the island with the other bits I needed to check out is about 6 miles and the ground is pretty good with just the odd damp area to cross, though it's obviously a climb up to The Noup and back down. I spent about 3 hours, but on a better day if you were bird watching you would spend a lot more time. The ferry runs from 10am until 5pm depending on weather during the summer; you can check whether it is running by ringing the Noss ferry line 08001077818

If you fancy a little adventure with some great scenery and birds it's one not to miss.

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