Thursday, 28 November 2013

Viking Unst...


Up on Unst I stopped as I passed the Viking long boat and Long House reconstructions at Haroldswick. The long house roof was looking good with it's hair-net hardly visible now, unfortunately it was all nailed shut for the winter, hopefully next summer I'll get a look inside...





Near to Belmont I noticed a new signpost for a Viking Longhouse near a path I was going to look at and at the site was a shiny new information panel...


I only had a quick look about and I failed to see any of the cup marked stones that are supposed to be there. It'll be interesting to see what has been found here...


Between the ferry terminal and the new signpost to the Viking Longhouse is a track that goes up around the quarry the terminal sits in. Access Route ARU03 runs along the coast from here around 5.5km to Uyeasound. It's a steady walk, a bit wet in parts, but no hills and great views.

Approaching the Holm of Heogland with Fetlar in the distance across the sea...



The Ayre of Heogland and Gerda Baa lead out to the island...


As the tide was out I took the opportunity to go out on to the holm. Looking back to the mainland of Unst...


And looking across to Fetlar from The Kirn...


The holm is around half way to Uyeasound with more easy walking along the coast. I hoped I might see an otter, but not today. I did see plenty of seals and a couple of herons though. 

Uyeasound in the distance...


And the beacon...


Having looked in to a few issues all that was left was to walk back again to the car at Belmont as the sun sank ever lower on what was a lovely day up north.


Monday, 25 November 2013

Grey seal pups

I was out west today doing some path works and came across a few cute grey seal pups down below in a geo...




And a mummy too...


When I passed there a number of ravens flew up. I soon saw the reason for the gathering. A less than cute and fluffy pup was their main course for the day. A bit sad but everyone's got to eat.


 At another location there was another large number of ravens hanging about, but this time there was a happier ending. A lovely coloured shetland sheep had it's head stuck in some rylock fencing and if it wasn't for us would be feeding those ravens too. With a bit of pushing from one end and pulling from the other we managed to free the sheep and watched it as it wobbled it's way towards a group of sheep, occasionally stopping for a feed. 

Good deed for the day done, but we got no thanks from the sheep!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Scrae Field

Clare and I were lucky enough to have the chance of a decent walk this morning as Beren had stayed over at his mates. It was pretty icy and,with the wind, a little nippy, but we set off for an 11km walk via Bersa Hill, Scrae Field, Sundibanks and the Hill of Easter Houll.

Looking north from Bersa Hill (~170m) ...


The views on these ridges are great, but with the low sun it was hard to see where were going as we headed south never mind take photos.

Looking down on Sundibanks, Trondra and Scalloway...


A rare 'selfie' near the White Stone of Toufield (182m). By the way I've no idea where the white stone is...


And the high point of the walk at Scrae Field (216m)...


And a great view over towards Bressay...


Not far from the summit are the remains of an old wartime radio station I visited some time ago. It was cold and there was little shelter so we didn't hang about. A quick bite to eat and off we went...


Looking back up to Scrae Field and the radio station from the Clift Sound side of the hills...


The Clift Sound looking north...


And looking south...


What a lovely day!

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Out Skerries

It was a grey day as I headed out to Out Skerries, so I had none of the lovely skies I was hoping for on the ferry ride over. As it was warm, dry and the sea was pretty calm I'm not complaining.


With the recently reduced timetable it's not the easiest place for a day trip any more. You're limited to a Friday or a Sunday and even then it's only half a day on the island before you're returning.It's not cheap either. The other alternative is flying, but that is more restricted and much pricier. It is worth the trip though as it's a lovely spot.

Lighthouse in the distance...


Looking into the South Mouth. The ferry used to be able to come in this way as well as the north-east mouth, which gave more options when the seas are up, but apparently it's too risky for the boat now.


I'm always fascinated by the water way that encircles the Ward of Bruray leading into the reservoir. Quite inventive and simple yet effective. It was certainly working well today though since it was built it's slightly redundant as springs have been found and bore holes sunk for a more reliable supply.


Looking across the North Mouth and South Mouth. The ferry actually comes in through the North East mouth which is on the far side of Bruray. There's plenty of evidence of the salmon farming which the Skerries are know for as you walk around the place; pity I hate salmon!


I spent my time waymarking paths, looking into a particular path issue and talking with a community representative about future path improvements and promotion before an uneventful trip back to Vidlin.Not a bad day at the office!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wintry waves

 Just a few photos of the stormy skies and waves at St Ninian's. The waves were actually crossing the tombolo, first time I've seen that and cutting away at it a bit. Brrrr... pretty chilly...





Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ellen Gray's Bottom is really rather nice!

With head down into the hail I set off from Lera Voe near Walls along a peat road on my way to see Ellen Gray's Bottom!

I've been bemused by the name of the burn/valley at the end of Core Path CPPWS01 for sometime. I still don't know the reason for the name, so if you do let me know. I do know a bottom is a valley as opposed to a top being a hill, but who is Ellen Gray??

Anyway here's her bottom, with Foula looking on...


You can continue north to Footabrough, though for some reason the core path stops here...


My way was south-east, back towards Burrastow. Thankfully the hail had stopped.


Looking out to Foula from The Skerries of Easter Paill...


Barni Loch...


The Peak...


The Peak and the Voe of Littlure are real gems. Intriguing pools and rock structures with lovely banks that long to be camped on. The tidal pool is also pretty inviting...


I expected/hoped to see seals hauled out on the beach, maybe even some pups, but I wasn't that lucky. They were in the water though...


On the Head of Uskiegeo is a wonderful small stone hut with a seaward facing bench at the back. I wish it was mine...


It was a cold, but gorgeous late afternoon with the feeling of snow to come...


The view of Vaila from Fogla Geo...


And Vaila from Quinni Geo...


All too soon I was back at Burrastow House with just a short road walk back to the car...


But thankfully a handful of reasons to get back out there in the near future!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

A foray into Kite Aerial Photography

I came across something on the internet some time ago about Kite Aerial Photography or KAT (using video is KAV) and thought it would be great to play around with up here for different views of lighthouses, brochs, headlands and the like, not to mention getting some aerial shots of the boat while sailing.


Basically you hang a camera from a fairly stable kite with it recording video or on a timer or intervalometer to take photos every so often and hope for the best. There are very complicated and ingenious ways of taking the photos using radio control and live video feeds, but basic will do for me. Stills aren't bad at all...


It was pretty gusty down at Voe, but not too bad for a first attempt in between messing about with the boat...


Here's my rough and ready pendulum rig. Now that I know it's pretty much OK and safe I'll make one out of aluminium some time with a few minor improvements...


Here's some views from the other pier...


 

And here's a short video. You can see how blustery it was. I hope you don't feel sick watching it! On a better day and with some slight changes to the rig it should be possible to get some decent video, if not the unique stills are worth the effort.



And here's a short video of a blackcap in our front garden this evening...



Woody the great spotted woodpecker keeps turning up just when I least expect it and when it's too dark to take photos, so I think I'll set up the XS100 on the fence and leave it running some time!