Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Lerwick Up Helly Aa 2014

Up Helly Aa Day came in stormy again with ferries cancelled due to gales and driving sleet, but thankfully atleast the sleet and rain eased off for the evening procession.

We had decided not to go due to the weather. Last year it was so cold and wet that Beren was almost hypothermic despite all his clothing, but when we told him he went of and started crying in a corner saying the weather was fine!


My friend's 'Father-in-law' has been stranded here for a few weeks so got to experience his first Up Helly Aa and thought it was great...


The weather and getting to grips with my new camera in the dark meant only a few photos (I need to get the flash speed settings figured out)...


Would you marry this man?! Well he'd just got engaged e; congratulations Kerry and Martin!


Sparks flying everywhere...


Ivor Cluness and the galley Congo Warrior...


 

 It was a great night despite the wind and odd bit of rain.


We all went for an indian afterwards to warm up; a great end to a fine evenings fun!

And here's a video of the procession (best played in HD)...



Hopefuly I can get to some of the country Up Helly Aa's too...



Sunday, 26 January 2014

The Point of Fethaland

In a break in the weather my friend and I went for a walk from Sand Voe, near North Roe, up the western coast of Fethaland to The Point of Fethaland



The walk out there on this route is fairly tough going at this time of the year over sodden steep ground, but it's well worth the effort, especially as it led to us seeing two otters close up. The route we came back on is much more straight forward along a good track. We could have gone around the eastern coast too, that's fairly tough going too, but there wasn't enough daylight for us to do that this time.


Other than enjoying the wonderful coast and seeing the otters, seals and birds we were looking forward to getting to the Point of Fethaland, which is the most northerly tip of mainland Shetland, and also looking at  the remains of an ancient site for making bowls and containers from soapstone on the eastern coast in Clebber Geo.


Once we noticed the carvings we saw them everywhere. These are partially carved out blocks of stone that would be hollowed out to make storage vessels. Other examples can be seen near Cunningsburgh. The rocks were also covered in carved names which was both interesting and disappointing; we didn't add ours to what is a scheduled ancient monument.



By the time we'd explored the headland and carvings it was getting on and we had to get home to get the haggis on for Burn's Night, so we took the easy route back to the car along a few good tracks.

I had intended to do video of the walk with my new camera, but tragedy struck! It was on it's tripod recording us leaving the car park when it fell over! My ultra wide angle lens took a big bash, bending the metal lens hood and the camera initially wouldn't switch back on, and when it did it wasn't working quite right with a line down the LCD display. I really just wanted to cry and go home there and then, but carried on anyway. Thankfully once I'd got home and had a chance to look at it properly it was OK and though the lens hood is well battle scarred and needed straightening the lens seems to still be fine too. Phew!

Anyway here's a rough and ready video of the walk from my action camera...


Once home we got the dinner on and had a rather unique Burn's Night with the haggis being addressed to the accompaniment on Beren on his toy accordion, his friend Barron on drum and me on didgeridoo which was a perfect end to a less than perfect day.

As I type we have force 10 gales and rain again with the promise of snow and no ferries will arrive until 9.30am on Tuesday on Up Helly Aa day. It's not looking good for the evening procession either, fingers crossed...

Sunday, 19 January 2014

It's brally coorse enoo!

 The foul weather has continued for some time now up here and got even worse over this weekend. Ferries have been cancelled, flights too and for all it's not cold the rain and wind have been pretty non-stop.

We went to Lerwick this morning to do a bit of shopping, hoping there was some shopping to do.

Here's the dam at Sandy Loch. I think the water is meant to come down it not go up...



The sea spray near Tesco's roundabout was actually coming over the sea wall and along the Sletts it was pretty wild...


Unfortunately down at Sumburgh a part of the runway apron collapsed leading to a man needing to be rescued and taken to hospital...

Photo courtesy of Sidney Sinclair, Shetland Times

In Tesco's it was quite amusing to see the fresh goods isles. A good opportunity for cleaning the shelves...


We're not going to starve though. Apart from fruit, veg and bread there was plenty there and other shops have plenty too. Still if this weather keeps up we might get a return of the Hercules deliveries of Christmas 2012.

Here's a cheeky little video from my phone of the weather today. As I said, it's a bit grim...


Sunday, 12 January 2014

Frosty morning

Still sleepy from my late night I got up early to go over to Bressay to help my mate who'd moved south get his boat out the water and trailered. The morning sky was stunning withbthe sun not yet up as I passed the Loch of Trebister...


And it was still hiding as I took the ferry across to Bressay...


It was an icy morning with some of the marina actually iced over, not that it bothered these sun bathing seals...



What a stunning morning...


Marred only by the fact that the reason I was there was that my mate is tying up the last few loose ends here. Still an excuse to visit another fairly remote part of Scotland awaits...


Saturday, 11 January 2014

Scalloway Fire Festival, first of the year...

It's that time of year again where the Vikings invade Shetland. Today is the first fire Festival of the year in Scalloway a lovely day for the day time procession , though I had to work the morning I still I got a few photos of the galley Eiluj before the burning...





Beren had been so excited that he would see the Jarl Squad today with Guiser Jarl Guttorm (the Gruesome) Hart leading them.  At 6.30am this morning he came into our bedroom singing The Galley Song and talking about it. One of his class mates was in it too, so I think he was a bit jealous of the cool uniforms. 

Here's a few photos from The Shetland Times of the day's events...

Photo by Dave Donaldson, courtesy of Shetland Times

Photo by Kenneth Shearer, courtesy of Shetland Times

Photo by Kenneth Shearer, courtesy of Shetland Times

Photo by Dave Donaldson, courtesy of Shetland Times

Despite a few drops of rain earlier the night cleared up beautifully for the procession...




And the burning...



For once by good fate I was at the Scalloway Hall to report on the nights events  as the 12 squads strutted their stuff for the entertainment of all, so after a quick 'Hello' at a friends house I headed over to the hall to join in the all night revelry there.

The Cullivoe Band were excellent and didn't seem to flag at all keeping people on the floor all night long between the squad acts.


The acts were hilarious and I was so impressed by the time and effort that had obviously gone into choreography and sets. As usual some were pretty close to the bone, but that makes them all the more amusing.

Miss Scalloway stripped the Miss Shetland title off her competitors and won a well needed extra large box of Veet...


It's all a glow...


Small expectations exceeded expectations...


And kept everyone spell bound.


Amusingly this year's Jarl had had to shave his luscious locks and beard for an off shore contract, which at the last moment was cancelled. How embarrassing for a Jarl to have a close cropped beard!


Creative choreography...


Murder and mayhem...


And of course amusing stories of the year. The DLO made the national news by laying white lines down over a road killed polecat...


It was a great night with 12 fantastic squad acts that finished around 3.30am. I can't remember the last time I was up at that time! And the hostesses at the hall were amazing, deserving of medals no doubt. At that time in the morning they were scrubbing the kitchen down as well as keeping the food and drink flowing for the late night survivors. Thanks to all involved. I hope to return next year with Clare and Beren for a dance and a drink, though I may not see it through until the end...

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Been a fine day...

Just a few photos from my travels today. It's been a lovely day!

Gulber Wick

Mousa

St Ninian's Bay

Looking south down St Ninian's

Looking North on St Ninian's

And I'm hoping for a fine night too as we're expecting so cracking aurora activity. Watch this space...