Friday, 30 November 2012

Out Skerries; second visit and a day of big skies

I had my second trip (First trip) to Out Skerries on a very cold and icy morning that seems to have hit some in Shetland by surprise. The icy start gave some lovely scenes though...


Looking out across the North-East Mouth that the Vidlin ferry comes through...


And the North Mouth...


Out Skerries is a very useful shape with it's sheltered voes and mouths going in between the islands. Across the South Mouth...


Heading down to the south west tip of the island...


The Ward of Mioness is the nipple in the centre and the second highest point on Out Skerries at a whopping 48m...


To get on to Mio Ness involves crossing Trolli Geo. A rope assisted clamber down slippery rocks to the bottom of the geo and a similar climb up the other side. A well timed hale shower made this all the more interesting, but the view looking back up over Out Skerries was worth it...


Looking South-West over the 'summit cairn' with The Benlips and other Skerries in the distance...


It was a biting cold day out today an on the way back I popped into the Church of Scotland Kirk out of interest and for a quiet moment out of the wind with a dry seat...



There are 2 small shops on Out Skerries, though I've not been to either. I was wishing there was a pub with a nice fire while I waited in the dark for the ferry to arrive. But atleast it did arrive!

Tomorrow Beren and I are going to help a friend on Bressay with some sheepy work which should be entertaining before he's rushed back for a party and then on Sunday his own 5th birthday party. Bust weekend ahead...



Thursday, 29 November 2012

Da Brigs o' Vementry

It was an icy one this morning as I headed out West to Vementry, but as you can see pretty gorgeous and the sun not long out of bed.


 There's a path between Vementry and Clousta across some low hills in this land of lochs and voes. Mid-way is Da Brigs, a causeway and brig with a gate on it saying 'Da Brigs' And a very pretty spot it is too...


Though I've got to say not a pretty as the peerie beasties in the water. No it's not Nessie...


As ever my poorly endowed camera let me down so these are heavily cropped and as you can see by the time I came across these it was drizzling and grey which hasn't helped the photos.



Two of them were pottering about in the loch, in and out the water and usually too far from me for photos, but great to watch.


As you can see they were fairly close at times, but busy doing their ottery thing, not posing for photos for me!


No idea what it's got...



If there was ever and excuse to sit down and sit still for a few minutes, even in the rain, this has got to be it.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Otters Ahoy!

I was going up to my friend Martin Rickard's at Voe today to take some photos of him using his newly carved greenland paddle, but the day has turned out to be pretty dull and grim. Instead we decide to go for a short paddle up Swinning Voe to West Lunna Voe.

You can see my last kayak visit here with Beren and Clare and a few photos of the voe, oddly enough on a similarly grey day.

It was nice to get on the water again for a gentle potter up the voe. We were heading out when I thought I noticed an otter in the far distance, so we cut the chat and gently carried on confirming that there were two in the water doing there ottery thing up ahead.

I didn't hold out much hope for us seeing anything other than them disappearing as we slowly drifted towards them with just the odd gentle stroke of the water. I was in a bright orange/yellow dry suit and though Martin had a black drysuit his deck was also bright orange, hardly camouflage!

Anyway we seemed to be getting closer with out them startling; watching one pop up and munch on it's breakfast once in a while before disappearing under the water for a short time.

We rafted up and enjoyed a good 5 minutes of watching otters between 15 and 30 foot from us. They were obviously interested in us and kept popping up and sniffing/snorting in our general direction, but despite the colours, our stillness and the fact that we were just floating there din't seem to bother them. One disappeared at one moment and we watched it's bubble trail over to a raft of weed and then noticed it taking a sneaky  peek at us over the weed, while it's trail, less sneakily was wagging at the other side of the weed. Pretty comical really.

Eventually their feeding took them off away from us and we carried on, but what a wonderful few minutes of stillness and for all photos would have been great trying to get them would just have spoilt the moment.

We carried on a bit, Martin did some rolling with his new paddle and by all accounts the water was bloody freezing,  colder than greenland he reckoned.We soon headed back towards our put-in, looking out for the otters again on our return trip, but we had no such look this time.

A cup of tea and a bacon butty and all was right in our little world!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Whale Wick , Burra

I was taking it easy today after a busy week so just went out for a little stroll round the Hill of Sandwick on Burra. I set out from near Merkisayre Stud and headed south up the valley to Whale Wick...


It was a windy but lovely moody day with a low sun, a big south-westerly swell and air full or spray and foam at times. After a while soaking it all in I headed back north up the hill and long to a little arch. It was far too rough to get down tot he arch and pretty hard to get any photos at all with the spray but I risked my camera to get these two before just enjoying the atmosphere.



I was planning on a walk tomorrow with my walking buddy and his dog, but my knee's now giving me a bit of gyp, so I'm off to take some photos of my friend from seakayakadventure doing some Greenland rolling with his newly finished greenland paddle. I may even get a chance for a splash myself!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Deepdale, Maywick


There's a walk that goes out from Maywick north up the coast to Deepdale. Given it's name it's not surprising a very deep cut valley, but it you look on the map it also has a waterfall marked pretty much at the end of the route. I needed to check out the path so the falls were a little bonus.


Deepdale is the sharply cut valley at the top of the screenshot from Flash Earth. It's only a short walk there, but  pretty steep with a climb straight up from the car to start with plus other valleys. As you can see there's plenty of interesting coast to explore.

You get a great view from the cliff top of Maywick and out to Little and South Havra along with Burra further north. Here's South Havra in the crook of this bit off cliff. That veiw reminds me of fishing meids and the talk I went to last night at the Lerwick Museum.


Here's a great panorama from the top of Ramna Geo with (left to right) Maywick, Maywick Taing, Little Havra, South Havra, Holm of Maywick and the bottom of West Burra...


The 'official' path as such stops at Deepdale, but you can carry on up the coast, or where ever you want as long as you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. I went a few hundered yards inland to look at the falls and have my dinner. It was a very windy day with rain to come so it wasn't long before I headed back, but as you can see it's a nice little spot...



I'll likely be back in my own time to explore some more and hopefully get down to the beach there, may be even this weekend weather providing...

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Here and there on Unst

It's been a bit grim at times lately so it's nice to get out and about in between the weather. I had a trip up to Unst, a great isle with loads of places to explore. Sadly I never seem to get up there enough to do it justice. Here's a site with some details and links to do with the archaeology.

This standing stone near Lund is one of my favourite and just down the road from it is Lunda Wick, a great sandy beach that we camped at some time ago.


Next I was over towards Mu Ness, passing this other standing stone on the way...


South of Muness Castle is a little bay, Scolla Wick, with some great looking rocks. here's the little burn running down to the sea over them...


And the little waterfall at the top of it...


North of the castle is The Ham of Muness with a long sweeping shingle beach...


And not far away a little north east is Easting's Beach (Sand Wick) where there are lots of Viking settlement remains along the back of the long sandy beach and the remains of an old Haa at the southern end. It's a fantastic beach, not one I've visited before and certainly one to return to and find out more about it's history.

Looking north up the beach...




And south...



I didn't see the furry critters, but obviously I wasn't the only one enjoying the beach today...


The weather is back to near gale wind and rain again, but hopefully it'll ease enough to get out tomorrow ...

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Wintry Westerwick...

As we set out from Scarvister down Skelda Ness I did wonder about the worth of bringing my lump of a camera along. With a biting wind straight off the sea, hail, sleet,rain and spray it didn't seem like I'd be taking many photos. And I didn't but it was a grand walk and the sun did come out at times.

Getting the map out wasn't really an option and standing still was a challenge too, so I'm not too sure of the name of this stack, but it was taken from near Squidel on Skelda Ness...


We were heading in a generally North West direction toward Westerwick along a coast with no protection from the whipping winds, but with fantastic scenery.

Here's Sil Wick with a bank of hail disappearing to the right. A couple of times we had to just stand with our backs to the hail and it still stung through over trousers. I felt sorry for Ted, my friends' dog, his fur was good protection, but a hail stone on the nose obviously nips!


Looking back from the western side of Sil Wick...


And that's it for photo's, the weather was just to rough for it to be worthwhile getting the camera out, but rest assured if you are up in Shetland it's a stretch of coast you've got to visit. Use the search function on the right hand side for blogs of other visits to Westerwick.

After getting back to Westerwick we intended to end the walk with a civilised pint at the Westings Inn on the way home. It was closed when we got there though, so rather than loose the impetus for a well earned pint we popped into the Scalloway Hotel for a pint of Caledonia Best and the end to a nice outing.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Ling Ness

I met up with a friend today for a short wander round The Moul Of Eswick to Ling Ness. We seemed to manage to miss the showers, but catch the rainbow over Ling Ness...


Ling Ness is without doubt the gold at the end of the rainbow; one of my favourite places up here. I get serious envy whenever I go out there and see the homestead at the end with it's own little beaches, amazing views and pond with swans.

As we were heading there we were treated to the view of a pair of otter on the bankside. My friend saw them disappear into the bankside first, so we stopped and waited only to see them cautiously reappear a minute later and wander down the banks into the sea. It's wonderful to have moments like that, but a photo of them would have been nice too.

Here's the view looking out onto the ness itself...


After a bite to eat on the beach and much musing about dream homes and locations we headed back up the main track and home. Not much of an adventure but a wonderful wander on a sunny day.

Here's a J D Rattar photo of Ling Ness from the Shetland Museum and Archives Collection...




Friday, 9 November 2012

Down Sumburgh Head...

I though I'd just post a few photos from a recent trip down to Sumburgh Head. it was pretty wild and windy, as it is now, but a great afternoon.

Here's looking north along The Slithers (fantastic name) towards Compass Head from the carpark at Sumburgh Head. It was windy enough to take your breath away up there and the view did that too...


Along the coast from Sumburgh Head back towards Jarlshof there are a number of these stone cairns. Very well built and interesting. I don't know their story but I'm assuming they are some modern arty project. Fitful head is in the distance...


Approaching Jarlshof...


Jarlshof is now closed for the winter, but you can still get a good look in there if you want too...


 It's howling outside now with a gorgeous clear sky, but no aurora forecast. I'm keeping a close eye on the forecasts now...

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Mu Ness coast, Dale of Walls...

The west coast of Shetland is something else. Amazing cliffs, stacks and arches. I always thought Westerwick  and Silwick were about as good as it gets, but after heading along the coast north from Mid Dale they've got some competition... 


It's a short walk from Netherdale along the burn of Dale to the coast. The burn is very pretty and has the odd cascade hidden away. Worth a nose in itself, but I was heading around the circular walk looking for wobbly stiles.


 Looking over to The Ness of Bakka from the stony beach there was a monstrous wave breaking...



Pretty wicked stuff with big booms as it collapsed...



The views up the coast from here are magnificent with Papa Stour just visible in the north and ever present was Foula, out to the west and shrouded in cloud.

This interesting headland is Weinnia Ness. Sadly I didn't have time to explore, just a few photos as I was working after all...


 I came across the 'fairy ring on the cliff tops too...


I think they are a waxcap, some sort of hygrocybe and not something to munch on...


After checking the stiles and gates on the circular walk it was back to the car for some dinner. The aurora was sounding promising for tonight, but as the rain's returned I won't be seeing that. I've fingers crossed for some better weather at the weekend though so I can get out for an explore somewhere...