Sunday, 26 February 2012

Out and about...

This morning we had a plan, like most plans it went a little awry, but all for the better really.

After an early start we decide to head out to Westerwick to walk some of the coast heading north. As we headed west up Weisdale it was starting to look grim. The plan was to go to Westerwick and be heading back in time for the Souper Sunday Teas at Bixter Hall and then go in to town to the museum. 

Trying to stick to our plan and rough timetable we carried on vainly hoping for the best. Then I saw an otter feeding in the ebb stones as we whizzed along side of Weisdale Voe, so we turned and headed back down the road, couldn't see it, so turned again heading back the was we had been headed and there it was! Sat on a rock not far from the shore either feeding or eating at that time. My camera was in the boot (grrr!). Beren jumped through to the front seat to see it. I switched on the indicator so we hopefully wouldn't get hit and funnily enough the otter slinked in the sea and that was that. It was great to see it though.

As we got further west the rain came on stronger so we had an idea to head to Micheal's Wood near Aith as Beren likes playing there. Even rain it's not so exposed as the cliffs. So we parked up. Got sorted and went to go for a walk in there only to notice a sign saying it was closed for the winter! Fair enough they wanted to try to stop the paths being damaged with the wet weather, but it's not been closed before. 

What to do now? There was still an hour until the Sunday Teas and we weren't going to just head home. Eventually we decided to go to the Burn Of Lunklet. Good idea, we all like it there. Clare even joked I could have a skinny dip again as no one would be there on a day like this, but I didn't fancy it, it was pretty cold and for a change we did actually see some people. So we had a nice wander up  and beyond the falls and down another nearby burn hopping and skipping over bog, stones and burn until it was time for grub.

We had a great lunch at Bixter Hall; cullen skink, lentil and ham soup all washed down with tea and home bakes. We could even feel good about it as it was to raise money for the Walls Show in the summer! At least one success!

Now... off to town for our final event of the day; the the trowie fun day at  the museum in Lerwick. We hunted the trowies, coloured them in, made trowie masks, listened to some wonderful fiddle musicand trowie stories and finally enjoyed the fantastic needle work exhibition there before heading back home for a rest!

All in all a pretty packed day and to finish it off I headed down to meal beach on Burra as the evening was drawing in to try some long exposure photography of the waves.

Left end of the beach...


Right end of the beach...



I really would like that very expensive wide angle lens so I could fit all the beach in!


Looking across the bay...






Other than 'needing' the landscape lens I'm after I need a better tripod than the second hand cheap one I have that would be no real use as a pea pole never mind a tripod. Cheap neutral density filters off ebay are rubbish (just like cheap tripods). And I really should wait for the right light to take nice photos!


Any how it's been plenty for one day. I think tomorrow we should laze about...  We'll unless the sun's out!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

A first venture up Fitful Head

Well today is a bit of a change from yesterday when we had gales that left me wondering if Clare would be stranded on Yell. Today there's a light breeze and for all the day started off misty it's cleared up to a beautiful spring day.

I feel for the folks over on Bressay last night. It was their Up Helly Aa, ferrys were limitted to the island and later on it came in with sleet and hail. My usual walking buddy lives over there and was joining in the celebrations so for all it was looking a great day for a walk I knew he'd not be coming.  So alone I headed south to Quendale Mill with the aim of having a stroll up and round Fitful Head not sure whether I'd actually get to see anything up there today. Atleast I wasn't going to get blown off!

I parked at Quendale Mill (still closed for the winter) and headed North-West up the near by farm track aiming to join the service road for the radar station on the hill top about 1.5km later. 



For all the service road to the radar station is an excellent road it's still a pretty steep pull up there. The benefit is the views that open out as you ascend, when the mist parts that is!

Looking north; St Ninian's to the left and Ward of Scousborugh to the right...


Noss Hill in the mid ground looks like a place to visit some time. I presume there are some old military buildings on it...



South-East over the ness with Sumburgh in the far distance and The Bay of Quendale cutting inland...


One good thing about the mist was the odd rainbow as the sun was breaking through, but I'm not going back down now for the pot of gold!
 

 Sadly as you gain the summit this is the view. Very necessary I'm sure, but not very inpiring...


Luckily a hop skip and a jump around the corner and you get this wonderful view...


It was worth it after all...


 Looking North from The Punds you'd hardly notice the radar station...


Not far along the cliff is this hefty block of granite. It commemorates the crew of a Halifax bomber that crashed in to the cliffs on it's way back to Kinloss after an attack on the German battleship the Tirpitz...


Heading on, Siggar Ness is peeping out of the now clearing fog and the sun is blinding...


It's pretty much all down here from here back to Quendale and with the sun now fully out there's plenty of view to soak in. Scat Ness and Sumburgh stretch out south in to the sea, but I couldn't see Fair Isle in the south due to the sun and glare.


Looking back along Siggar Ness...



The last ankle breaking knee screwing bit of the walk is the very steep descent down from The Noup to Garth Wick. Thankfully it's only short, but it is very steep and on the wet grass I'm grateful for my new boots. 


Looking over Garths Ness to Sumburgh...




I noticed a lovely waterfall spouting out on to the beach below...



After a while pottering here it was just a short splodge across the headland to join the farm road that would lead me back to the mill. The water in The bay of Quendale was looking luscious, but not inviting enough for a swim. One guy was happy to be in there though, sensibly clad in his wet suit he was having shot at some surfing...


By this point it did look like a summer day, but even with the warming gulf stream I doubt many would want to spend long in the Atlantic in February.


Pity I don't have a telephoto.


Fingers crossed for another lovely day tomorrow so we can all get out some where for the day, may be even camp as we're off work until Tuesday!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Snowy day on No Ness

The forecast for this weekend had been horrendous, but then we woke up Saturday morning to a gloriously calm and sunny day, even midgies were out! It wasn't to last though and by noon there was snow creeping up Shetland soon to stay for the weekend.

I'd not given a thought to getting out for a walk with the forecast so I was a bit surprised when my friend phoned to see a bout a short walk on Sunday down Sandwick way. This morning we awoke to a light covering of the white fluffy stuff and after a lazy morning making pizza dough and other bits and bobs I met up with my friend for our snowy wander.

I'd actually fancied a stroll round Fitful head from Quendale Mill as the wind was no where near the gales forces forecast and it was a nice clear day. Probably for the best we decided not to go there and settled for a less strenuous, but no less lovely walk, around No Ness near Sandwick to Burraland Broch.

As you can see despite the lovely day there were still some large flurries of snow heading in at the south end.


Looking back to Noness and Sandwick was another story...


 Mousa with Bressay and Noss beyond...


Overlooking Burraland Broch and on to Mousa Broch...


Mousa Broch from Burraland Broch...


It was nice to get out and enjoy the snow and sun. When we got back home Beren and Clare had baked some gorgeous fairy cakes, which we soon washed down with a cuppa. The snow is forecast to be gone again tomorrow, but you never know we may get a 'snow day' yet this year!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Da Moul of Eswick

Between showers we got out today over to Da Moul of Eswick in South Nesting. I had heard via twitter that there was a big pod of porpoises around Nesting today, but it's a big area with lots of water, so they could be anywhere.

We had intended to go around the moul and carry on around Linga Ness, but a slow coach Beren and day light put pay to that. Never the less we had a lovely walk around this part of South Nesting; another place we'd love to live.

The ground was pretty guttery so Beren chose to tackle this gate way in his own style (it was resting on the ground at the far end). We just jumped and splodged...


Whalsay looked inviting in the distance on this calm day.


 We had great views of Linga Ness on the walk. next time we'll actually get there!


Eswick itself, nestled between gentle hills. We parked just past the houses.


From the top of the Moul of Eswick the views were fantastic on this pretty clear spell in the day. Here looking to Noss and Bressay in the distance over the top of Hoo Stack. 




And over Gletness towards central mainland.




As always Beren had a gun with him and his binoculars too, though today they were lazer gun binoculars! Here he is spotting for Mummy sniper. Bang I'm dead!


 Heading north around the headland. North nesting straight ahead.


And looking back to the lighthouse on the moul with Noss still visible in the distance.


This beach in Es Wick became the end point of our walk due to lack of time and a slow Beren. that was fine though, we'd had a great time.



A large area of the beach was covered in otter prints (top two) along with those, I presume, of a dog that had been running around sniffing them. We never saw any though, not even any people, just lots of Fulmars gearing up for the year.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

The Ness of Hillswick

It was a grey drizzly start to the weekend to day, but luckily as my friend and I drove north from Lerwick heading for Hillswick up in North Mavine the sky started to clear to leave us with a lovely day for a walk.

Just after passing The Magnus Bay Hotel, a magnificent wooden building, we turned left down a little road past the shop to park on the East side of Hillswick Ness, near The Booth, which is known as a sanctuary for injured wildlife.



My friend had his daft cocker spaniel 'Teddy' who swam the first few hundred yards as we set off south around the ness. Sadly for many reasons Goose has returned to his original family.


The view looking back was pretty spectacular with Ronas Hill as a wonderful backdrop to Hillswick.


As were the views as we headed down the coast. It's about 5 miles around the ness.


This little bay was pretty cool with under cut rock as the only way in and out.


As was this one.


The whole coast is pretty impressive...

 

The folds in these rocks and the symmetry of the stacks caught my eye...


Soon we were near the southern tip of the ness and a lonely automated lighthouse...


There are hidden gems of nature everywhere like the little arch down below the light house tot he right...


Heading back north on the western coast The Drongs soon came into sight as well as a great view over to  Dore Holm and Eshaness...




And all too soon it was the last leg back down to Hillswick. We knew this was a fairly easy walk and had thought about an additional wander while we were up north, but decided to quit while we were ahead and my knees were still in working order.


Once I'd dropped my friend off, returned home and pottered a bit Beren and I went for a stroll along Maa Ness in Scalloway hoping for a spectacular sunset. Clouds setting spoiled that, but it was still a lovely start to the evening.


The dredger was still working to clear the main channel in to Scalloway Harbour...


And Beren got rid of a bit of excess energy clambering about on the rocks that line the track out to the headland.


A pretty packed day. We've no plans for tomorrow, other than to hope the weather holds and get out some where while we can...