Friday, 4 July 2014

I may be some time...


Well the big day is upon me. After a long time coming and a lot of planning I'm off to Greenland tomorrow for 2 weeks solo walking and camping. What an adventure and one I never thought I'd ever do.

Just getting there is an adventure in itself. Over night from Lerwick to Aberdeen on the ferry, train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh, brand spanking new tram to Edinburgh airport, Easyjet to Reykjavik, Air Iceland to Kulusuk, and Air Greenland helicopter to Tasiilaq. 


Tasiilaq is an island on the East Coast of Greenland, just over 65 degrees north. As you can see even in summer there are still glaciers up in the mountains, and often plenty of ice in the sea too. 


The 1:100,000 map I'll be using along with a GPS and compass...


My backpack has had it's final pack and weighs in at 19.7kg. Hopefully that's accurate to save and expense and hassle at the airport. I'll have a regulation size carry on bag too with all my camera gear, electronics and other bits and bobs in it; that's 8kg, the limit for the Air Greenland flight.

So that's me ready for the off!

After the fortnight in Greenland I'll be with Clare and Beren for a week in Fife before returning to Shetland, so in may be a month I'll be posting pics of my adventure.

Crikey!



Sunday, 29 June 2014

Shetland Hammock Appreciation Society

Hammocks aren't something commonly seen in Shetland, may be the lack of trees and excess of wind has something to do with that! Anyway after I'd finished cutting the grass I made a hammock from some old polytarp and hung it between the washing line poles to have a little snooze in. Little did I know how popular it would be!



As soon as Beren saw it he had to be in in and was saying he wanted to sleep out in it!


As soon as Clare saw it she had to be in it, as did Beren, which meant I was evicted!


Beren spent an age just lying in it this afternoon, playing with his toys in it. It's looking a a little saggy from the abuse of having a full family in it.


 And he did want to sleep in it too. After his bath we loaded it up with a kip mat, sleeping bag, pillow, blankets galore and some teddies and some how managed to squeeze him in too!




 
And he did go the whole night, though by morning there was't much of him left in the hammock LOL!
 

Friday, 27 June 2014

A ferry trip to Foula...

I'd had a longstanding meeting arranged on Foula to look at access works completed and investigate some new improvements needed, but due to issues with the fire service and insurance all flights with Direct Flight to both Foula and Out Skerries have been cancelled. Luckily B.K.Marine who run the ferry to Foula had put on some return trips, so early in the morning I set off for a 2 hour crossing to Foula.


It looked like we'd be having a good crossing which was good as the seating on board was fairly minimal.

Passing Vaila and it's tower on the way out to sea...



And on the other side, Burrastow with Foula in the distance...


I'd hope we might see some sea life other than birds (puffin, razorbill, guillemot, gannet, fulmar, shag) on the way across, but we weren't that lucky. Any way after an uneventful crossing Foula was nearly upon us...




First job of the day was a look at some refurbishment of the Ham bridge followed by some new boardwalks and gates at the north of the island, before looking at other access improvements for the future including access along the coast north from the harbour.


There were an awful lot of Bonxies about and the most aggressive I've come across for a while...


With good reason though. You need to keep your eyes open above and below at this time of the year!


Heading north to Gaada Stacks I thought I could see a lone tent on the cliff top.


And as we approached I realised it was a FaceBook friend from The Netherlands, Jan, with his Montague folding mountain bike. How weird is that?!


There were also a number of seals hauled out around the island, including some common seal pups...



Boo!


And as you'd expect plenty of sheep!


5 hours later and we boarded for another 2 hour trip back to Walls, a little rougher than on the way out, but nothing to make any of my fellow travelers ill!

Here's a short video of the crossing with a few views from the island along with a bonxie attack...





Monday, 23 June 2014

A Simmer Dim sail on The Swan LK243

The time of my birthday trip on the Swan finally came up, some things are worth the wait, like I'm sure my jumper that I was getting for last Christmas will be!


Compact and bijou, or coffin like, accommodation, but it's only for sleeping...


Hoisting the sails is not for the faint hearted, even when there are 10 of you!






Trimming the sails is no easy task at times either...


We headed out the north mouth bound for a night at anchor in Tresta Wick, Fetlar on a lovely evening. 

We did have time to relax too...


Saithe and Piltocks for tea anyone?




Mizzen sail up too...


Skipper Rory taking in second breakfasts and the view as we head north towards Muckle Flugga...




No idea why they left me in charge...


Coming out of Blue Mull Sound...


Charlie is obviously an invaluable member of the crew with so much local knowledge, history and lore and makes a mean crappin (cod's head stuffed with livers and oatmeal)...


Muckle Flugga...



We had hoped to land on the light with the inflatable, but there was just too much sea. Not enough to stop a few hours fishing though.





As the sun was getting low on Simmer Dim we headed into Burrafirth for our second night at anchor...


Half the ship went ashore for a BBQ on the beach while the rest of us stayed on boat while Charlie cooked his crappin and we talked...

Sunday morning was bright and fine as we headed back out of Burrafirth to go down the east side of Unst and back to Lerwick via Out Skerries.




Bye bye Saxa Vord...



And not much later we had a real treat as a pod of risso dolphins passed us by...






Soon we were paying Out Skerries a flying visit unfortunately without any time to land on this lighthouse...



And that was that. A great weekend on The Swan. Pretty exhausting for me, but well worth it and an excellent late birthday present. Thanks to the Skipper and Crew; Rory, Ailish, Scott and Charlie along with my fellow guests John, Frank, Peter, Nicole and Lee for a fun weekend on the water.

And here's a video too...