Sunday, 24 February 2013

A bit of a run for Earl...

Wow what another wonderful day it's been in Shetland; sunny, with light winds if some what chilly. I'm pretty flaked out today after the fun on Märta. Despite the good weather it's been a pottering about day, but we did take Earl for a short walk up from our house to a bit of hill where there are no sheep at present and he's able to have a run.


We didn't want him to over do it as he's still young but we had him race between us for treats a number of times. It's great to watch him run . Beren tried to race him too, no surprises who won!



 He's looking very much the long dog now...


And still very cute...



Saturday, 23 February 2013

A trip on Märta round Bressay and Noss

I'm just back from an overnight trip with my friend on his yacht Märta around Bressay and Noss with an overnight stay in Aith Voe, Bressay on the anchor.

We knew there was going to be light winds and we might need to motor , but they were lighter than we'd anticipated.

Heading out the sooth mooth past 'The creel' at North Ness. Actually Solar Hus, but as the roof is goosed it has a load of netting on it, hence the name...


After playing chicken with the Bressay ferry we got the sails up and got on our way. The Bressay light...


My friend Tom was out giving the Dunter III a run and gave us a buzz...


We got past the lighthouse and around to near the Orkney Man's cave before the wind pretty much died leaving us the option of motoring the long way round to our overnight anchorage at Aith Voe and risking running in the dark or returning the way we came to go the short route. We decided to motor sail back through Bressay Sound and round that way was the sensible option and put the kettle on. As you can see it was a pretty cold day...


On our way to Aith Voe. Motoring along at 3 kts is pretty slow and a little tedious at times...


As we worked our way around to Aith Voe there seemed to be an awful lot of shags...


We've got a notebook with a GPS receiver and chartplotter software on it. It's great, seems accurate and easily runs off the batteries on the boat. It's usually in the aft cabin, but as it was dry and we were motoring it was easier to have it in the cockpit to look for the channels...


Anchored in Aith Voe with a buoy on the end of our tripping line. Time for tea!


And a toast to Lars Rehn who built Märta. We found 4 cans of carlsberg in the boat, drank two when we were clearing it out and saved one each for our first night out...


We played cards, listened to the radio and talked for a while before turning in for a thankfully uneventful, if not noisy, night on the anchor. The sun rising in the morning was stunning, but there was no wind. 


See you another day Aith Voe...


Out past the Outer Score on Bressay we picked up a bit of wind and got all three sails up...


Sadly it was very inconsistent and we were too much in the lee of the islands. After persevering for a while and a bit of motor sailing we decided to drop the sails and just motor on to Noss.


We eased the motor off a couple of times to see if there was enough wind to get under way, but it just wasn't going to happen. Meanwhile Noss came closer...


Already there are masses of gannets in the air on the cliffs and water along with large number of guillemots  The fulmars did their usual bombing runs, skimming over the water towards us and veering of at the last minute. What a day...



I love to see the squadrons of gannets running up the coast...



Easy to take a photo of a big bird, but it takes real skill to take on of a thin wire shroud LOL!


Soon we could see the Bard on Bressay in the distance, our next point of interest...


The sandstone cliffs on Noss are very impressive and the honey comb weathering is lovely, reminds me of the sandstone back on the North York Moors at home...




Bye bye Noss...



Hello Bressay...


The arch on the left is The Giant's leg...


The Bard Gun is atop the Bard headland...


You can see the remains of part of a hoist that I believe they used to haul ammunition and provisions up to the base at the top of the cliffs...



We had hope that once we got round here we would hit some more wind and possibly sail on down to Mousa for the night, but we had no such look and the prospect of another 10 slow miles on the motor didn't excite us, so we enjoyed the sights as we headed back round to Lerwick.

Kirkabister Lighthouse and Sound in the distance as we enter Bressay Sound...




A few times we stuck the motor in neutral to slow and see if there was any wind to work with, even just for a sail in the bay outside Tescos, but it wasn't to be. The boat only makes about 3-4kts on the outboard without thrashing it and goes a bit better under sail, but under sail is more fun and engaging. Still we had a great couple of days with fine weather, but next time we want wind too!

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Strom Ness, Binna ness and Jackville...

Earlier in the week I took a walk along Strom Ness from Whiteness down to the end of Binna Ness. It's a walk of about 8 mile there and back by hill top and coast.

Here's the first high point on The Hill of Olligarth. There's usually a great panorama up here but as you can see the early morning fog was shrouding that...


A fairly rumbly holding with some large slabs in it which are presumably part of the archaeological reaming of the area...


Looking down the ness towards my destination...


And back up towards Whiteness...


This dressed stone square 'building' is a top South Stromness, very enigmatic, but I don't know anything about it. The far side of it is very precipitous. Great view anyway...


Beautiful day...


From there I dropped down to the coast of Stromness Voe, a voe I've sailed down a few times. There are a number of old croft houses and byres in ruins along it's length. I met a couple of crofters from South Whiteness near here. They were across in their dinghy to check on the condition of their hill-sheep  I think we both surprised each other as we appeared out of the mist in what is a pretty inaccessible spot.

This is the timber rib off an old boat, an odd sight in the fog...


Approaching the narrows at Jackville. The walk along the coast here is pretty ankle breaking along narrow sheep gaets on steep banks. I was glad of some flat ground!


Looking over to South Whiteness from Jackville...


Jackville. What a place to live! It's not lived in now, but boy if Beren didn't have to get to school and us to work, it'd be the place for me!



Nearly at the end of Binna Ness. North Havra is the island on the right where I lunched on my kayak sail from Kalliness to Scalloway some time back...


North Havra...


End of the road and a meeting with the crofters again...


I've got to admit I was pretty tired by the time I'd walked back to Whiteness, but it was a useful trip and on a perfect day. We're lucky to get such good days in summer never mind mid-February.