Sunday, 23 September 2012

Clare' first Icelandic Knit


Clare has just finished her first Icelandic knit jumper, the pattern is Afmaeli, and it's pretty mega. The wool is Iceland wool from Lopi, which is very loose spun yarn that's supposed to be warm, waterproof and light. It's knit in one piece with only a very small amount of stitching needed under the arms.

Here it is having it's first drying on a jumper boards some friend's made us a while back...


And the yoke detail..


It's a pity I could never wear something like that, I'd cook, but it's fantastic. She's thinking of making some to sell, but as with all things handmade with quality wool, they'd not be cheap.

In the meantime she's just started on another Fair Isle toorie for me after a couple of years of nagging. Not that there's anything wrong with the first one she knit me, but it's always nice to have a choice!





Saturday, 22 September 2012

A daft laugh on the Isle of Nibon

I met up with a friend today for a little paddle across to The Isle of Nibon up in North Mavine. It was a glorious day. No wind, clear skies and flat water. Not bad for the autumn equinox...


After our paddle round to a sheltered geo we left the kayaks and went to do a little coasteering; climbing and swimming round the rocks and tunnels and best of all jumping in to the deep clear waters.

I've got some video of our fun and games, but it'll take a while to edit. We jumped from various cliffs, swam through caves and tunnels and also along a deep cleft whic runs from one end of the isle to the other and it it we disturbed an otter!

Here's some stills from the video of me entering the green room after jumping in through a roof collapse...







And here's a few stills from the video of me jumping off the highest spot of the day, certainly around the 40 foot mark though the fisheye makes it look less...







As you can see I bloodied my nose a bit, but I'm fine and we had a great giggle...


After a couple of hours slposhing and jumping about we headed back to the car at Nibon and after a brief chat with someone who lives there who kindly offered us a cuppa and some cake we headed home.

Certainly beats a sunny Saturday on Da Street!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Papa Stour, a second visit..


It was a wet and windy Wednesday when I went to Papa Stour this week. Oddly it wasn't that great a day on my first visit to Papa Stour this Easter. May be next time I'll go on a still, sunny summers day!

I knew it was going to be a rough crossing, but was a little surprised when I reversed on to Snolda and was strapped down. The ferryman said he hoped I was a good sailor. I was looking forward to it...




It certainly got a little rocky with water flooding in across the deck from port and starboard at times and spraying over the side at others. I did get out to take a few snaps, but it wasn't a day to be wandering about the deck. A quick photo and then back into cover.

Leaving west Burrafirth...



Arriving in Papa Stour passing Maiden Stack...


Along with the sea, there were a few heavy showers on the crossing, hail at times and it set the tone for the day. Gorgeous sunny spells followed by torrential down pours. As I was there for work I couldn't complain.

After checking out a number of things I parked my car near these presumably recent standing stones an set out to check out the north east coastal route.



Scopa Wick just north of the ferry terminal...


This little headland had a couple of tunnels through it and a small blow hole that was working that day...


The coast is full of intriguing geos and bay like this one. I don't know it's name but it's just north of Geubery Head and on a better day a lovely spot to stay a while..


There then followed a blur of wonderful coast, waves and rain as I headed round to Jerome Coutts' Head and found out that the gaffa tape patch on my waterproof trousers wasn't water proof. Still with the patch at the back and the rain in my face not much got in! And it didn't rain all the time, some time's it was just sea spray!

To the west (far left) is Virda Field, a high point of 87m...


Jerome Coutts' head getting a thrashing...


The cut on the right in the above photo leads into The Creed a wonderful oasis of calm from the violent sea...


Looking back to Jerome Coutts' Head from Unglabreid across the entrance to The Creed...


And off the head there. There were some very big waves out there...


And further inland from The Creed is the massive West Voe which cuts almost back to where I'd left the car. The sea comes in through the centre of the photo and in the smaller area to the right is Robie's Noust, you can just make out the nick of The Creed in the horizon too near the right...


After a bit of a dry out in the car and some lunch I set out to check on some other bits and bobs and walk the coastal path on the southern 'blob' of the island, around the Hill of Feilie.

This stretch was a bit more reminiscent of the north and west coast of my first visit , though no way near as dramatic.

The massive Mo Geo with Sandness Hill in the distance across the Sound of Papa...


Looking west across Mo Geo with Foula just visible on the left of the horizon. Most of the time Foula seemed to have it's own down pour attacking it....


The near by ridge of Shepherd's Taing stretching out to sea...


And the stack with arches in it that is to the right of the photo above...


At this point I went over on my dodgy ankle, a loud crack and a pop a it pretty much popped out of joint and back in. I lay cursing or a while until it eased off and then hobbled on through the amazingly thick cliff top grass. Luckily I was not far from the car and also not far from Clingri Geo...



This geo is fantastic. Totally enclosed with two short tunnels leading into it from the sea, it's more of a 'hole' than geo I suppose. If I wasn't now incapacitated I'd have gone in for a closer look, as it was I gingerly made my way down to the coastal side of the tunnels to a rare feature in Shetland, a flat wave cut platform. The coast back home is covered in low exposed rock platforms, but usually the geology up here is so twisted up that a nice flattish bedding plane is rare. It reminded me of being back home on the rocks at Hummersea...


And that was more or less that for my second whizz around Papa Stour, now home to only 8 people. But I have the still standing offer of a cuppa from one of the residents next time I'm over, which I fully intend to take up and hopefully on a slightly drier day. Though I've got to say Papa Stour on these blustery days is pretty gorgeous, it would seem odd to have a flat sea and no wind!

Tomorrow I'm off to Nibon with a friend and ex-colleague. A little bit of kayaking with him to see how my sciatica fairs with a view to may be going back to a sit on top kayak next spring and a good bit of coasteering and cliff jumping to prove there's still a big kid in me!



Monday, 17 September 2012

Eshaness, Tingwall and a little experimentation...


Despite another mixed day today I seemed to get to Eshaness at just the right time for a great view up the coast.


The storm lashings of the previous weeks had died down, but it was still an impressive view...


I was also lucky enough to see two otters in the sea next to the road at North Roe this afternoon, but as usual I had no long lens. It was great to see them though. One day I'll get a decent photo of them!

On Sunday morning I went out for my constitutional around Tingwall and took my camera despite the threatening weather. 

Going up Berry Lane I watched a man working his two dogs on a group of half a dozen sheep, but felt a bit anxious of just photographing them; I wish I had. It's great to see them work though.

A bit further along I got stopped by a local crofter as I was crossing a field and felt a little worried; why was he heading directly to me on the quad, had I done something to annoy him (I am a bit paranoid)? He actually wondered if I was checking his lambs out before they go to mart! After reassuring him that I wasn't a sheep spy we had a brief chat before we both went off on our ways. 

Here's a view of the Tingwall Valley looking North from about where I was stopped...


And down by the loch where I am getting a stile and footbridge put in soon. Everyday's a busman's holiday for me!


Going back to Saturday, which was grim, I had decide to go out in a relatively calm spell to blow the cobwebs away and try out my welders glass filter on my camera. It cuts out a lot of light to allow long day time exposures so water gets all dreamy looking. Welders glass isn't a great optical improvement, but it should be fun until my proper Hiada 10 stop filter arrives. 

It really was far too windy for long exposures and avoiding the rain was a challenge, but I quite like the vintage quality I ended up with with these few exposures along John Boyne's Burn which leads into The Burn of Fitch. 




When my proper filter comes, and I choose a sensible day I might actually have a few nice photos to show!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Muckle Ayre, Muckle Roe..

Muckle Roe is still one of our favourite spots on Shetland and on it Muckle Ayre, just a hop skip and a jump from the car but a lovely spot over looking Vementry.


The sea had a quite different feel to it yesterday with little dumps of surf on the wonderful red sands and then whooshes of lacy foam...




There must be some great waves in other places with the often gale force winds we've been having, but the balance of wave and glide, yin and yang, here was quite relaxing.



 Some one else obviously values a little time pondering here too...


So it's the weekend again and it's more baby weather; though with chance of just the wind without the wet for spells atleast. There's house work to catch up on, but surely a chance to get out somewhere...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Here and there and a few panoramas more...

What with the mixed weather and a lingering lurgy in the household we've not been straying too far. May be we're just settling early for the winter!

Anyway I've been trying a few more panoramic photos roundabout and even messing with HDR with a plugin for Lightroom, L/R Enfuse which I quite like as it's pretty simple!

Here's a view of Scalloway I took tonight from up on Gallows Hill just as the sun was starting to set and shine on the Clift Hills. We'd been up for a stroll with friend's in a lovely spot in the evening. If you click on the pics you should be able to see them full screen size...



I took a lot of photos at Hamnavoe on Sunday trying to get a collection for HDR photos. Sadly most had to be ditched as my camera had moved enough to stop good alignment of the photos for the HDR. I don't have an auto bracket facility on my camera and in dialing in the exposures must have nudged the camera too much. Anyway a few came out. This one is made of 8 sections from left to right and 3 photos for each HDR section, so 24 merged photos. Not sure if they are worth the effort, but with some effort I might get better eh?


 HDR panorama of Hamna Voe and Hamnavoe...


And another HDR pan of a small inlet on the west side on the way out to the Burra Light...


And here's a pan of Sand Water from Friday from the road down to Stromfirth. The house in the left is 'the halfway house' that you on the main road north. I love the road disappearing into the horizon...


I've not been out around the far west much, but it's somewhere I need to get back to to explore. Here's one over looking Walls from when I was out near Burrastow and Watsness recently...


Mareel is not long opened after nearly a 3 year build. I went there last Thursday to see Val McDermid talk about her new book 'Vanishing Point', her influences and career. She was great, as was Mareel. I was only in the auditorium, but had a wander through the rest of the place. The auditorium was great for that sort of intimate talk and looked like a great space for music and plays. We tried to get tickets to see a film or two with Beren but were obviously far too slow off the mark as the screenings we've wanted to see are all sell outs. It's been a controversial project up here, but hopefully now it's here it will be well used. It's certainly busy enough just now.

Here's the north boat just leaving Lerwick past it on Thursday before I went in for for the talk...


And a closer shot of the Mareel...


Hay dock with the museum and Mareel...


And finally a late night shot down at the Malakoff slip in Scalloway before I go to bedibyes...