Sunday, 31 May 2015

We're free!

Beren is away at Beaver camp this weekend. Well when I say camp it's a camp Shetland style, they put tents up, but inside a community hall! I can actually see a lot of sense in that.

Sooo... with a reasonable forecast, and after a hearty breakfast at Fjara,  Clare an I set off for a Mr & Mrs bike ride around Burra...



Minn Beach...



And had some lunch in the shelter of the old croft museum at the road end...


It had all the makings of a great grown up only weekend...



 However...


Rather than romantic evening meal we'd hoped for it was cauliflower cheese and chips for two at A & E in Gilbert Bain Hospital! And it was free, result!

You see what I didn't mention was on our way to Burra, at a very sedate pace, my old ticker went doolallytap. Actually more like a full on drum solo with a racing heart rate of 226, nausea and a horrible throbbing pain in the left side of my neck..

It lasted for around 5 minutes before settling  down. Not wanting to ruin the ride I carried on in the interests of seeing how it went. The rest of the ride actually went fine other than feeling a bit out of sorts and my neck still aching  a bit.

Once home I deliberated a bit, phoned NHS 24  and was told to go to A&E. Thankfully after a few hours of ECG, monitoring and blood tests they sent me home. Some levels in my blood confirmed my heart had obviously been stressed with it being so high, but not damaged and the reason why remains a mystery really as heart, lungs and everything seem to be fine.

Now I have to milk it as much as manly possible as the cardiac consultant said I have to rest up for the weekend and definitely no cycling for a couple of days. Clare ...

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Puffins and ponies

We have a friend up for the best part of a week so we took her to Sumburgh Head on a fine day. The things she wanted to see when she was here were puffins and ponies, as well as us! We didn't disappoint...


 










And a few other birdies too...





 And a feral Beren...




Friday, 22 May 2015

I was lucky enough to need to go to Papa Stour the other day to meet a crofter and contractor as well as check on stile, gates and the like around the isle.

To save my knee and back from the worst of tromping around the isle I took my bike for the visit. It was fun too!

Securely lashed and in no danger of exceeding the weight limit...


Ready for adventure...


I worked my way anti-clockwise around the island up to the highest point of Virda Field (87m) where I had some lunch...


The views from the top are pretty good. That'll be why there used to be a watch station up here during the war.

Looking towards the Horn O Papa...


Looking back to Sandness on the mainland...


Lyra and Fogla Skerry...


Aesha Head...


And here's a short video of the trip...


Fishy goings on at Hillswick

I was up at Hillswick the other day. There's been a project been going to with a garden around the public toilets for a while with this lady keeping an eye on things...


However. today I noticed some other fishy goings on, I guess mammalian really, but it doesn't sound so good!



It's a whale, it's a whale...


With a big fishy tail...


A living willow sculpture! I hope it survives and thrives as it will look pretty cool when it's established.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Hike-a-bike on Muckle Roe

I've had a desire for a while to mountain bike around the coast of Muckle Roe; no other reason that it seems like a good thing to do! The problem is there's not much in the way of paths and the ground is very steep and boggy in lots of places. Sheep tracks only get you so far and as my cycling buddy for the day said 'Most people think walking around is bad enough!'


I should have been out getting some longer miles in for the sportive, but I fancied a change and despite a stiff breeze it was looking to be a good day. I met my friend at Muckle Roe Brig, little did he know what he'd let himself in for...


Obviously some stunning scenery...



But it was hard work. I had warned him that there'd be a fair amount of pushing the bike due to the ground underfoot and terrain in general, but neither of us expected quite so much of it!

Photo by Brian Gray

It was slow going but fun.

Photo by Brian Gray

But there were lovely bits of riding too...

Photo by Brian Gray

In the end we didn't do the full circumference. We did the west coast to the Hams and then went back via the central track. We were both pretty tired and had had a good enough time to call it a day. The next section back around to Otter Ayre probably has less ride-ability than the section we did, but I'll be back for it some time!

And here's a short video of the ride. Best watched in HD if you can....


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Grotty Picnic

After a morning cutting tidying the garden, cutting grass and cleaning out gutters in the sunshine we decided to go for a picnic on 'The Grotty Buckie Beach' on Burra; Sand Wick.


By the time we got sorted and got there the weather was taking a turn for the worse with the wind building and cloud thickening and darkening too. It had been gorgeous earlier.

Still they didn't mind...


Probably knew we'd soon be off their beach...


I had a quick experiment with some long exposures and a 10stop ND filter, but I could see my companions were ready for the off and just in time too.



We got home just in time to get the washing in before it got a second wash!

                                                         ------------

If you're a regular here you'll know I've been busy trying to get fit to ride in the Simmer Dim Sportive (50 miles) in 6 weeks time. It's the main reason why my posts have been thin on the ground lately. I've been doing a long ride each weekend to build up my distance and fitness for the hills on the route, so it's left me recovering for the rest of the weekend with little time for anything else.

After the ride is done I'll be out and about more and hopefully doing some camps on my bike, both in Shetland and on the mainland of Scotland.

Here's my bike complete with an Alpkit Possum frame bag at the top of Collarfirth in Delting, our latest hilly conquest.


We set off from Kergord and heading west towards Bixter. Sadly before we got to Bixter we had a bit of a pile up. My friend got his wheel in the gutter on the road edge and flipped him and his bike in to the road in front of me, and I road over him and his bike to land further down the road.

We were both very lucky. There was no traffic other than a distant oncoming car that kindly stopped to check we were OK. Both bikes were OK, but I hurt my foot and ankle, got gravel rash on my knee and hip and a nasty bash and lump on my elbow.


I thought my friend had broken his collar bone at first and he'd bashed his  head, but luckily his helmet saved him. Pretty shook up and sore we decided to carry on our ride that took us through Aith, over the 'Alps Road' and up to Collarfirth. We had planned to come back via Nesting but by the time we'd got back to Voe we were both stiffening up and in pain from the crash never mind the riding so we beat a retreat to Bonhoga and a restorative hot chocolate and scone!

Here's our route...


Here's some of our other routes in case you're every up here and fancy some scenic rides on the mainland, though there are plenty of other options.