Sunday, 26 June 2016

Family wild camp on Bressay


After the Shetland Wheeler's Sportive on Saturday the plan was to pack and have a little family wild camp on Bressay followed by a trip over to Noss. 

We needed to check packing our rucksacks and camping gear for our forthcoming Norway camping holiday so despite the mist we head off on the ferry...


Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Bear Grylls Bear ready to go...


We headed south along the coast a short way from the Noss car park... 



I can't say Beren was the most enthusiastic walker!


Clare hadn't walked this coast before. Pretty spectacular isn't it?


The location was great, but the burn I'd hoped to get water from was bone dry. Despite having a water filter with me I didn't fancy it from the bonxie and black back gull infested loch, but we had just enough water to do us anyway.


 Nearby was a great perch to enjoy the views, watch seals, birds and porpoise and escape the few annoying midgies.


Though Beren had his own midgie defences!


Looking up to the Loch of Grimsetter and Gorie...


Clare cosy in her sleeping bag...


Someone had to get up and make breakfast, so I did. It was a real chore...


And I enjoyed a quiet cuppa on our cliff top perch while Beren and Clare sorted themselves out...


A few pretty flowers...



 We packed up and were planning to get the ferry across to Noss to look around the cliffs, but Bear Grylls Bear was a  lazy moaning bear this morning. Rather than spend a day being frustrated at him we decided to head home. Mission accomplished, we could pack and carry our gear and get us and it in our new lightweight tent.

Norway here we come!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Father's day trip to Mousa

Father's Day started off with a personal best on the Laxfirth Loop Time Trial with The Shetland Wheelers for me and was followed by a lovely roast dinner courtesy of Clare before we headed off to Leebitten for a sunny afternoon on Mousa.


The Mousa boat coming to take us away to the isle...


The isle is an RSPB nature reserve and covered in birds and seals, but it is possibly best known for the broch...


And Beren was in a hurry to explore it. He was last there when he was about 3 and couldn't remember it.


Pretty imposing...



We walked anti-clockwise around the isle to avoid the crowds going clockwise on the guided tour. Bonxies and terns were every where with red throated divers on a loch and 2 day old common seals in The West Pool.

Looking across the East and West Pools to the lighthouse...


East Pool, would be a nice place to swim if it wasn't to disturbing for the wildlife...


Another view of the lighthouse on the distinctive Peerie Bard...


I guess I had to post on shot of some wildlife from the trip. Here's a bonny looking shag that we watched while we had a bit of a picnic...


 Ooft! Busy busy busy lately, but the weather is to change tonight, so I might get a rest!








Saturday, 18 June 2016

A swim where the smuggler's lie...

After noticing how calm it was at the entrance to the Smuggler's Cave on Burra I decided to go back this evening for a swim and take Beren and his friend with us.


I had a few hiccups though. 

  • One; the kids thought it was just too cold, though it was obvious they really wanted to come in.
  • Two; my camera packed up on me!
On the plus side I did get to swim in and out of the cave, have little fish swimming all around me, and have the company of a seal swimming under me. That was pretty cool!

Here's a little snippet of what I did get off my camera, but sadly no seal...


Out Skerries by the south mouth

I've been to Out Skerries a number of times, but we always went in the north-east mouth to the harbour. In fact I had been told the the south mouth was too risky due to some buoys being misplaced by the council. Well this time with a strong north-easterly wind and big swell we weren't going to be going that way.

Would you like to go through that in a ferry?


Jan, a facebook friend (now real one) and blog follower, from Holland was accompanying me for his first trip there and giving me a hand with a couple of jobs I needed to do.


Sadly it was rough enough that he started to feel a bit rough too. But he soon recovered.


Just two vans and the two of us...


 Approaching the south mouth (see the video below)...


 It was a nice, but blustery cool day.


But it was remarkably dry. A rare day for trainers...


A very nice craft working of the lighthouse in the Kirk...



We had a little shelter in this boaty house which was very nice inside and good enough to stay the night; well in my books!


Here's a short video of some of the 90 minute crossing. As you'll see it was a little rough...


Thursday, 16 June 2016

A swim with the Selkies

 Well, I finally took the plunge and got myself a cheap wet suit and went along to the weekly meeting of the Shetland Selkies at The Sletts Pier for an open water swim. 


I love messing about in the water, but never really just swim in the sea, so this was a chance to see how it was. And it was great. 

To be fair it took a lot of getting used to the wet suit feeling and floating in the water and legs feeling so high, so there was quite a lot of floating and not much active swimming. We worked our way slowly across from The Sletts Pier to Hole Rock and looked about at a few things. I tried swimming down to the bottom, but these suits are so buoyant! I'll definitely need a weight belt if I want to try to get scallops or anything. On our way back to the pier a seal came close to us which was really cool. To see it swimming under us was amazing; they'r so graceful and effortless in the water.


Here's a photo of our little group of Selkies at the Hole Rock...

Photo courtesy of Chris Towers

And here's a short video of the fun we had with the seal making an appearance at 2.10...


It was great fun and I can't wait to go again and do more swimming now I've got more idea of how it is in a wet suit.

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Sail and a century

I achieved a big goal of mine yesterday, to cycle 100 miles or a century as it's known. I really wasn't sure if I could do it, but took the day off work anyway to do my best. The route was planned- north to voe then two loops around Mossbank, Brae and North Roe junction, then back home- the weather was fine and not too warm with a reasonable north-easterly.

I was up at 6am and on the road by 6.45am with what turned out to be 6 hours 45 minutes of cycling ahead of me at an average of 15mph. That speed and time was much better than I had hoped. I paced it just right too, getting home obviously tired, but certainly not on my last legs limping across the line. All fuelled by a couple of Scalloway Meat Company egg and bacon quiches, 1 snickers bar and 3 double deckers. I didn't even stop at The Sizzle Sisters butty van at Voe or Frankies chippy at Brae; I was on a mission.

Mission completed 101.5 miles or 163.7km later I was so chuffed. I sold my bike not long after moving to Shetland, convinced with my health issues I'd never ride one properly again. 6 years later after lots of private sports phyiso, chiropractors and lots and lots of self-help and determination I've cycled further than I have ever done and achieved so much more than I ever thought possible. Plenty of people have done much more, but plenty do so much less. Pat on the back for me!


And in way of a relaxing reward, as I could still move today, I met my friend Martin at Voe for our first sail in a year!


The conditions were pretty much perfect with a force 3-4 wind, clear skies and no one else about.



We had no particular route planned, it was more of a shake down after so long off the water, but the first leg was down wind to Vementry. Smooth and stable sailing down wind, Martin got some breakfast on...


We saw plenty of bird life including lots of puffins that dived just before we ran them over, but despite trolling with mackerel feathers we weren't to have and fishies for dinner.


It was a glorious 4 hours sailing, though beating back up wind home took it's time!


  Here's our route from a screenshot of  i-boating (UK) a fantastic phone app...


 Nice day...


Sunday, 5 June 2016

It's been a bright and breezy weekend and Saturday saw me and Clare off for a walk near Fladdabister while Beren was at a football gala.


It was only a few miles. Parking on the north road into Fladdabister we headed north around The Loch of Fladdabister for the coast. But stopped for a little wander down Mill Burn to see the excellent remains of the old mills there.




 Then nipping across the Bonxie death zone to Dourie we continued down to Scarf Taing on the coast before heading south along the coast. Some impressive coast it is with stacks, goes, caves and some pretty big cliffs along the way.



A breezy walk, but a good one. Once, back in Scalloway we had intended to go to the new cafe, The Cornerstone, but it was jam packed. It's been very popular, too popular for us to get in each time we've gone!

Sunday saw me out early in more strong winds for a 80km/50mile ride out round 'The Alps' and Nesting with a friend.


I'm trying to get some miles, hills and speed in for the Simmer Dim Sportive on the 25th June that follows a similar route. Heading north was a killer with the head wind, but 'The Fridge' on the roadside near The Burn of Lunklet offered some tasty treats to refuel us for the hills ahead.


And the strong tail wind home was just ace!

The sunny dry weather is set to continue a while yet with the wind dropping too; so here's to more walks, cycles and adventures over the summer!