Monday, 30 September 2013

Into the west; a sail towards Papa Stour...

With southerly winds and good tides we set out from Voe at 6.45am with the hope of taking Märta to Papa Stour and may be even round her. The limiting factor we thought would be the daylight and  relatively slow speed of the yacht.

The tide was with us and the with a strong, but gusty wind we were making good time and averaging around 5 knots as we headed out west...


We had one reef in the sail and by the time we were out past Vementry and into more open water the other one went in too. It was good sailing and we were making excellent progress, but with the gusty wind over the tide it wasn't the most comfortable ride with the odd Atlantic facial thrown in for free.

Here's the view looking back to the guns on top of Swabacks Head, Vememtry about 8.45am as we headed out Papa bound...


As we headed for the Sound of Papa the ride got more uncomfortable and the wind more gusty. We headed in closer to the coast of the mainland a bit to try to get a bit of shelter from the gusts, but eventually decided to call it a day and retire to the shelter of our favourite mooring on Vementry for an early lunch.


Here's Martin enjoying a steaming plate of chilli con carne I'd cooked the day before...


 After lunch we had a stress free sail back in to Voe. We didn't make our destination and there'll not be another opportunity for us to make it this year, but hopefully next year we will, possibly during the summers long days. Still we had a good sail and we got out well past Vementry, so it was the furthest from base we'd been.

And here's a short video of our trip out there...


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Kettla Ness

I've been a bit poorly sick with man flu lately, but I thought I'd post a few photos of a walk out along Kettla Ness, a headland out past Bannamin beach on Burra.

It's a great walk out along the coast especially on a day like this. Looking out across the bay with Foula in the distance...


The western coast is great with it's craggy cliffs and stacks that lead down to The Heug. Here's Fugla stack with The Heug in the distance...


The Heug from the high point of 58m...


And looking back up north...


The Heug with Foula in the distance...


And looking back north from The Heug...


Also recently we got out for a trip on Seabird and Seals' Dunter III, seems we had a trainee skipper that day...


He showed a few good sights though, like this elderly gent near Shetland Catch...


And a less haggard looking friend...


Most of the summer bird life had left the cliffs of Noss, but there were still cliffs full of gannets...



And there were plenty of young still about, sadly a few were hanging caught in nest material and one in the water being pecked at by bonxies and herring gulls...


And a final photo of last night's sunset over Foula...



Well, I'm hoping to get out for a sail this weekend on Märta with plans, weather providing, to make a long day trip to Papa Stour and back, may be even around it. Märta only makes about 5 knots at most, but with the southerly winds forecast we should be able to do it without spending hours beating up wind which will make a nice change especially with our self-steering now operational. If we make it it'll be our longest trip so far and a venture in to more open waters. Who know's we might get to Foula one day soon!

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Here and there..

I've been a way sooth for a few days this week with work and come back feeling a bit under the weather so not been up to too much, though I did get out to Fethaland the other day which gave me a chance to ear in my new and thankfully waterproof boots. They're Lowa Mountain Boots, not cheap and a bit over the top for up here really, but I can't walk in wellies, my old boots are goosed now and these have plenty of support for my dodgy feet and ankles.

It was a fine day out there, just wish I'd taken my own camera rather than just the works point and snap. Still this panorama of the old haaf station seems to have come together well...


Before I went away I had a short sail out from Voe and around Papa Little with my friend Martin to see if we could get the self steering mechanism sorted on Märta. It took a little fiddling, but we got there in the end and were delighted to see that we now had a way to set course and leave her to it. It'll probably take a little while to get used to trusting it, but it will make life easier if we go on any longer trips freeing us up to do other things like rest and eat without being constantly at the wheel.

Here's a short video from my phone...


Now all we need is the time and weather to go for a weekend away, may be Foula first?

Friday, 13 September 2013

Muckle Roe Circular

I fell in love with Muckle Roe the first time I ever went there and still love visiting various parts of it. If you like a bracing walk there's a great circular walk from Little Ayre at the end of the road around it's rough western coast to the North and South Hams and then back to the start via a good track.

Here's the wonderful beach of Muckle Ayre at the start of the walk...


And next comes Bungil beach; one I've yet to get down too...


There's plenty of short climbs on this stretch of coast with good sheep gaets to follow much of the way. Here's the view looking over Muckle Roe lighthouse to a popular haunt of late, Vementry...


The paths winds around the coast under outcrops, over headlands and around geos with stunning views...


The wide angle lens doesn't do the scale of some of the cliffs justice. They're big...


And there's some great sea stacks too...



Soon enough the landscape settles down and you're approaching South Ham...


Looking down on South Ham where we were moored with Märta last weekend...


The junction at Town Loch for  South Ham and North Ham...


North Ham...


North and South Ham are very different in character for all they are so close. Both are great places though. Here's a panorama of North Ham...


The road back through the island is very different with the hills enclosing it either side until you arrive back at Little Ayre...


Around 8 miles and just under 3 hours later I was back at the car and well ready for fish and chips at Frankies!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

A day trip to Fair Isle

It always seems a day trip to Fair Isle is fraught with uncertainty as to whether the plane will go, and if it does whether it'll bring you back on the same day. This trip was no exception, so we sat for a while in the waiting room at Tingwall while they checked and re-checked the forecasts before declaring that we 'should' be able to get back no problem.

I arrived in Fair Isle to a beautiful day, t-shirt weather in September up here is a rare pleasure...


There are a couple of these turbines that some what dominate the expansive view at times in the south of the island. Behind in the distance is Malcolm Head and the South Lighthouse...


South Harbour with the lighthouse and head again in the distance...


There's a great little stack and arch in the South Harbour, I'm sure it has a local name, but I've not come across it yet. Makes a lovely picture anyway...


And again near the South Harbour is the Old Haa; looking lovely with it's traditional hay stacks and tattie riggs...


 I've not managed to get up Malcolm's Head before due to the fog, but I did see a structure of some sort on the top in clearer spells. Today I went up there eager to see what  sort of tower was there only to be sorely disappointed. One thing that didn't disappoint from up there though was the view. Simply stunning...


Looking north from Malcolm's Head across and amazing bay of geos and stacks with Ward Hill, the highest point, in the cloud...



Looking down South Haaversgill with Ward Hill in the cloud again. Having some spare time I went out onto the long spur of Burrista along a narrow rocky ridge mobbed by fulmar soaring on the slope edges...


Here's the view on the East side of the island looking north from Sheep Rock to the Bird Obs. As I walked in this area the bonxies were oddly aggressive for this time of the year and there was some many of them. My arms were aching with waving by the time I got across the moor.


And here is Sheep Rock... 


I was admiring the view and wondering if it was at all possible to get across and on to it in any way that didn't require some serious rock climbing when I turned around to find a thick fog racing across the island! 2 hours until my plane and I couldn't see 100 yards! There was a slim chance of a bed at the Obs if I got stuck, otherwise it would be a cold night in the air field waiting room. Luckily an hour before the plane was due the fog lifted as quickly as it had come in and we got away OK. It was a great day but I could have done with out that last minute excitement!

Monday, 9 September 2013

A motor to The Hams O' Roe

On a beautiful morning my friend and I set off on Märta from Voe with the hope of sailing to South Ham on the north-east side of Muckle Roe. There wasn't a lot of wind, but enough to have us gentle sailing along out of Olna Firth and around Linga on our way. It didn't last long though and despite many pauses to see if the wind was back we ended up motoring there and back. As it was a stunning morning we weren't too concerned as it gave us plenty of time to admire the views and cook a manly breakfast as we cruised along the coast.


Muckle Roe lighthouse. After here we turned north up the coast. I'd not been up there on a boat since I kayaked there a few years ago, a trip that included an unintentional swim!


With Ronas Hill in the background we came to the last headland; round that and we'd be heading into the South Hams....



Märta and Martin on the jetty. The water was crystal clear and there were a few seals hanging about that we'd displaced from their sunbathing on the jetty when we landed.



And here's a short video of our trip. It was a wonderful day out...

Best in HD



On the way back it started to cloud over and the wind built a bit and by the time I'd got back home it was just starting to rain. This black and white shows the change in the weather coming as we headed back down the west coast of Muckle Roe...


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Brae Wick, Eshaness

We'll have been up here four years come December. I'm out and about quite alot, but there's still no shortage of places to discover and explore. I was told about how amazing Brae Wick was some time ago and again more recently by a fellow happy snapper when I as up at the Grind O Da Navir.

I need to explore the cliffs more and get down to the beach, but as you can see it's a very impressive place, reminiscent of Da Lang Ayre, but slightly more accessible.

Looking out through Brae Wick with The Drongs centre of frame...


Looking towards the Heads of Grocken and Hillswick Ness...


And back west with Dore Holm in the distance...


I'm still experimenting with macro, especially when the weather is poor and I've discovered a great way to light my subjects...


The pringles tube sits over the on camera flash and has some kitchen roll under the cap to act as a diffuser and it works fantastically even if it looks a bit naff. Damn sight cheaper than an off camera flash too.

I didn't take the following with it, but wish I had. Round leafed Sundew coming into flower...


The colours are actually quite accurate even if they do look a bit day glow. I found a large area of them when I was out near Hamar...


 On Monday I'm off to Fair Isle for the day to check on a large number of stiles we've had replaced or repaired so I hope the weather's fine. I also hope I have the chance for a few pics on my travels...