Sunday, 28 February 2016

Stunning winter wonderland walk around Ronas Hill


Knowing that the forecast for this weekend was due to be stunning I organised a a walk with some colleagues from work. It was always going to be a tough one going around Ronas Hill, along the top of Da Lang Ayre to Lang Clodie Wick and back via Roer Water, but it should be worth it. 

Looking at Ronas Hill for Eela Water at about 8.45am. It was looking to be an ace day!


The walk started off with a climb from the main road as the road to Collarfirth Masts was just too icy to drive up. A bit of an early morning shock for the legs and lungs!



The usual start for Ronas Hill at the Collarfirth mast carpark...


Foula was looking amazing in the distance. What a day!


It was hard going, up hill through deep powdery snow with me breaking trail, so we just plodded along with plenty of stops to 'admire the view'. First landmark was Roga Field...


And then it was onwards in a pristine snowy landscape...


Mid Field...


It was tea and snack time at Mid Field. I brought my bothy bag for a shelter,but it was too hot and who'd want to be snugged up in a big orange bag on a day like this, so we just sat on it. Ronas Hill in the background...


The world to ourselves...


We started to notice some big snow showers coming in over the sea. However, we were lucky to only get caught in one fairly short lived one and it was dry powdery snow, so not bad at all.


Approaching the summit chambered cairn...


We wanted to write in the visitors book at the trig point but it was totally buried in snow.


We also planned to build a snowman...


But we couldn't be bothered! We did eat lots of chocolate though...


Then it was off down to the cliffs above Da Lang Ayre...


And down...


And wow!



Next was the trek along the cliff tops and broken rocky ground to Da Lang Clodie Wick and Lang Clodie Loch, our next tea stop...


Lots of frozen lochans. And otter prints everywhere. We even saw an otter toboggan run where it had slid down a steep bank! There was a grove for it's fat tail and a groove either side for its legs. God only knows why I didn't take a photo of it, it was brilliant!


Approaching Lang Clodie Loch...


Some cliffs and caves!


I knew the next leg to Roer Water and the track back to the main road was going to be a tough one, and it was.


A mixture of rough ground and semi frozen bog and peat hags made the going the hardest yet. Of course we were also pretty tired by now.


But the views continued to be stunning...


And we saw a couple of hares and continued to see otter tracks every where, but no otters. A shame as they'd have stood out like a sore thumb in this landscape, unlike the hares, who for once were actually camouflaged in their white coats.

By the time we got to the Roer Water track we were all seriously flagging and it was starting to get cold as the sun got lower. After 8 hours and 20.5km through snow, hills and bog we reached the cars.

All we had to do now was peel ourselves out of the cars for a fish supper treat at Frankies. I think we'd earned it!

Friday, 26 February 2016

Broch of Burra Ness

I took advantage of the clear icy day the other day to have a look at a route to the Broch of Burra Ness. It's a Walk Shetland walk, but not one that I have any thing to do with. However, it would be good to have in 'on the books'. So, land managers permitting, we can hopefully do the small amount of work required to make it more usable and add it to the formal network of paths on Yell. 


If I remember correctly the broch is the place where otters were first filmed live in the wild in the UK. I didn't see any otters, though I know this coast is good for them.


Tomorrow I'm of for around an 18km walk with some colleagues from work. The forecast is light winds, clear skies and a crisp day so we're off up Ronas Hill for a walk along the top of Da Lang Ayre to Da Lang Clodiewick and back via Roer Water. Hopefully a day for cracking snowy views and photographs so watch this space...

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Lazy slug day

I'm tired, very tired and achy and feeling like I'm on the edge of getting something, so I decided to have a lazy slug day. The problem is I'm not very good at these things, so I was still up and sorting the hens out around 7am, a fair bit of stretching too and a few other house hold jobs. Oh and I crawled about on the floor putting seam sealer on my trailstar tent that I made a short while ago. That left me even achier!

But, I did try to be lazy. I spent  fair bit of time on the sofa, watching tv and youtube videos until they drove me mad and I decided to stretch my legs with a little wander out past Port Arthur. I though I might catch the sunset, but too much cloud came in as I got there...



But I did catch the moon rise...


And I did catch a big snow shower on my way home. Luckily it was at my back so quite pleasant walking back with soggy flakes wafting past me.

Plans for tomorrow are to try a lot harder to embrace my inner slug. Other's in the house seem quite adept at it; I'll have to ask for some tips!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A valentine's wander on Muckle Roe


Clare's birthday is the day before Valentine's Day which is always a bit tricky for organising things, but this year I managed to organise a sleep over for Beren at his friend's and a splash out night at Busta House Hotel for us. After a lovely meal and relaxing evening we were off for a walk around the coast of a very icy Muckle Roe on Valentine's Day morning.

Clare relaxing in The Longroom...



The air temperature was at freezing and no gritters had been out, so we left the car before the end of the Muckle Roe road to ensure we didn't get stuck getting up the last hill if there was no thaw before we got back to the car. Of course just as we set off walking the gritter passed us spraying us with salt and grit, and just to be sure it got us again coming back out the road! Thoroughly de-iced we set off for the hills!


Muckle Ayre...


Looking back from Burki Hill...


Heading out along the wonderful west coast...


The guns on Vementry were clear in the distance with a snowy Hill of Sandness in the far distance...


Clare's never been out here so it was a nice day for a first visit.


Lighthouse ahoy!


 We had a little look around and into The Hole of Hellier. Took a photo through the window of an old shelter and then carried on our way. It was far too cold to hang around with a strong icy northerly wind.


After leaving the lighthouse we were heading inland via the Hill of Tongues and Muckla Water to join the main track across Muckle Roe. It was only a short walk as we had Beren to collect later.


Looking back across Gilsa Water...


And back along Muckla Water...


As we approached Lefle Scord where we'd turn east to rejoin the main track we could see the Drongs off Hillswick in the distance...


A gorgeous cold day and the place to ourselves, as usual...



Not far to the main track and fairly easy walking with the frozen ground. Any other time it would be a welly sucker of a walk across here!


The track back to the car was solid ice.


And the lochs were pretty solid too. Not that I was about to test them, they weren't that solid!


Once back to the car we noticed that there was a convenient Sunday Tea on at the hall. Despite our earlier breakfast at Busta House all that fresh air had built up an appetite so in the interests of supporting the hall we filled our bellies with tea and cake before heading home to pick Beren up.

A cracking weekend!