Friday, 26 June 2015

Isle of Gluss


I've been meaning to take a walk around the isle of Gluss near Ollaberry for years and finally I did it.


It's a pretty unassuming place with a great view of Sullom Voe, low cliffs and banks and a a humpy heathery interior. The main reason I went was in the hope of seeing some otters. I saw plenty of spraint, but sadly none of the little furry blighters.

Still I did see some other things...




 




I can't say I'll be in any great rush to go back, but I know the bits I will be visiting if I do!



Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A ride around Burwick

Being a fine evening I decided to go for a little spin to loosen my legs up after the Simmer Dim Sportive at the weekend.


Setting off from home I went up and over to Burwick and then around the coast and back to Scalloway (7km)...


My poor legses were still a lot more tired from the weekend's ride than I'd expected. Exhausted I would say. That combined with some areas of boggy ground, drains and the odd steep and narrow path on the banks made it a bit more of a challenge that it should be.


In fact I wouldn't recommend riding around there. I think I've ran it in a faster time and I've not taken much longer to walk around there. Walking is the best way to enjoy it that's for sure!

Here's a little video of the ride on a rare (this summer) fine evening...


Monday, 22 June 2015

Semblister Kirk Path

Semblister Kirk or Sandsting Kirk is on the edge of The Firth, South of Bixter with  old The Kirk Road leading from the road to Sand along The Loch of Semblister and to the old kirk.


The sign off the road to Sand points the way to the loch and the 'road' continues beyond...


The remains of a track can be seen but it's pretty covered over and boggy along it's length. Here passing The Loch of Semblister...


And on towards the Kirk on the shore of The Firth...



I don't know if this enclosure was once a cemetery. It's suspiciously next to the Kirk and has been a walled off enclosure though I didn't go looking in it...


The Kirk is a B listed building and dates from 1780 and has been added to since. You can see the  boat noost for it in the bottom left of this photo. Lots of people would arrive by boat in the past and many Kirks are on the shore line in Shetland.


I guess you could call this a work in progress. The altar is pretty fancy...



What a great location. I assume some lucky person has the intention of converting it to a dwelling...


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Simmer Dim Sportive

 Well I've just finished my first Simmer Dim Sportive. 50  hilly miles from Lerwick up to Voe, across the 'Alps Road' to Aith, Bixter, Whiteness, Scalloway and back to Lerwick.

Me and my friend brought up the rear (someone has too) but I still finished in a time I'm very pleased with 4.18 overall and 4.07 moving time. When I started on my plan to do this ride I didn't know if I could even finish it, then I thought I probably could in around 5 hours and today I did it in just over 4 hours! 

Here's the strava data for anyone who's interested.



When I started to to try to get back in to cycling last November I couldn't manage 10km with out major pain in my hips. Physio with Injury Shetland and lot and lots of hard work on and off the bike has got me here. 

The highlight of the ride was a little surprise feed station near The Burn of Lunklet. A road side double fridge filled with cakes and drinks! When we first got there though we thought the cake allocated to the Sportive had all been eaten by the racing snakes in front and we'd just have bananas. Luckily there was still a load of cake left on the shelf below. VERY nice cake too!


I'm rather spaegie now. Sitting down, lying down and standing up is fine, but moving in between those positions is a world of hurt. Hopefully I'll be a bit more mobile tomorrow after a rest and a soak in the bath!

So, what's next? Well the pressure is off now, but I do want to do the Frankie's Sportive at the end of August. That's only 40 miles, less hilly and has fish and chips at the end. However, there has been talk of a Eshaness Lighthouse to Sumburgh Lighthouse ride, but if I do that I'll be doing it as a much more leisurely ride!

I had plans for a Simmer Dim night on the hill top in a bivy. Sadly I won't be doing that, but if I can get out later I might get a few Simmer Dim night photos...



Saturday, 13 June 2015

Out Skerries

I recently paid a trip to Out Skerries and, as luck would have it, it was a wonderful day. Even the 90 minutes ferry ride was flat calm.

Here's the view of the harbour from the old watch hut...



Out on Mio Ness terns were busy defending territories and I was busy trying to avoid them.


Out Skerries is a small low lying set of islands, but well worth the trip if you get weather like this...


If you don't and there's any sort of sea you'll have an interesting ride out there, especially the last run into the harbour!

I came across this old work boat...



Great colours...


One day I hope to get across to the lighthouse. I'd need some on on this isle to run me across as the only way there is by boat. And then I'd need the key to the door, if it has one, because to get to it and not be able to get up it would just be no fun!


Be warned though if you do go, there is no fancy waiting room like on Papa Stour or Fetlar and no cafe as a couple of fellow travellers found out. I usually take my car so that I've got some where to hide out if the weather decides to take a turn for the worse before the return ferry.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Lamb Hoga, Fetlar

After checking on some stiles and gates being installed on paths on Fetlar I went off to look at the path over Lamb Hoga for ScotWays, the Scottish Rights Of Way and Access Society. They have a project called  Heritage Paths  and the track over Lamb Hoga and then down to Moo Wick on The Head of Lambhoga is one of them.

The track up there leads from Tresta Beach, a wonderful beach...


It was obviously a stone track at some point, but now it is grown over. In fact on the top a lot of it is now flooded and boggy.


Looking back down to Tresta Beach and Papil Water...


And out over Tresta Wick...


The track ends as shown on Ordnance Survey maps but there should be a path carrying on to The Head of Lambhoga and down to Moo Wick. Buggered if I could even find a sheep track, never mind one heading in the right direction.

That splodge centre of the photos is the track end and Whalsay is in the distance across the sea.


After weaving my way across heather and bog -with dozens of dive bombing Bonxies- waving my walking pole to fend of the birds I got within sight of The Head of Lambhoga. It was so frustrating though! I didn't have time to risk going further in case I took too long getting back and missed my ferry. I was just making my way across un-marked heather and bog, not so bad going down hill, but coming back up from The Head would be a lot slower.

Sadly exploring The Head of Lambhoga and a way down to Moo Wick will have to wait for another day...


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Birrier, Yell

I wrote this some time ago, but didn't publish it , but after today's investigations thought I would...

I've had a busy day out and about up on Unst checking on access improvements that had been carried out and then down on Yell looking at potential new route that a local group would like to develop and promote.(The route will not now be developed or promoted at the landmanagers wishes)

The new route would take you from West Sandwick, a very popular beach on west Yell to a headland called The Birrier.

Looking south with The Birrier on the right and The loch of Birriesgirt to the left...


At the moment the route there from where I parked my car is pretty straight forward. Follow a peat track then try to follow a sheep track until you reach the grassy headland. The route back on the coast however has a number of fences to cross at present. Still it's a walk with good potential and great views. 7.5km and probably worth giving yourself a couple of hours to soak in the scenery. If you do check it out I'd recommend just going there and back via the peat track for the time being; it'd make my life easier!


Looking over the Loch of Birriesgirt towards the Birrier with Fetherland in the far distance...


One of the many geos there...


The headland is made up of some interesting geology...


And that sloping lab is were the Culdee monastic site was. An ascetic hermit type Christian tradition. There are other such sites in Shetland, one funnily enough is probably visible from the Birrier. That is if the monks had binoculars!



What a stunning coast...


A couple of days in a tent here wouldn't go a miss!


Looking across to Fetheland where there were hermitage sites on the Kames of Isbister...


 A couple more office days and then I'm in Out Skerries for the day on Friday. That's 90 minutes ferry each way so let's hope I have such good weather!

The Birrier, Yell

I wrote this some time ago, but didn't publish it , but after today's investigations thought I would...

I've had a busy day out and about up on Unst checking on access improvements that had been carried out and then down on Yell looking at potential new route that a local group would like to develop and promote.(The route will not now be developed or promoted at the landmanagers wishes)

The new route would take you from West Sandwick, a very popular beach on west Yell to a headland called The Birrier.

Looking south with The Birrier on the right and The loch of Birriesgirt to the left...


At the moment the route there from where I parked my car is pretty straight forward. Follow a peat track then try to follow a sheep track until you reach the grassy headland. The route back on the coast however has a number of fences to cross at present. Still it's a walk with good potential and great views. 7.5km and probably worth giving yourself a couple of hours to soak in the scenery. If you do check it out I'd recommend just going there and back via the peat track for the time being; it'd make my life easier!


Looking over the Loch of Birriesgirt towards the Birrier with Fetherland in the far distance...


One of the many geos there...


The headland is made up of some interesting geology...


And that sloping lab is were the Culdee monastic site was. An ascetic hermit type Christian tradition. There are other such sites in Shetland, one funnily enough is probably visible from the Birrier. That is if the monks had binoculars!



What a stunning coast...


A couple of days in a tent here wouldn't go a miss!


Looking across to Fetheland where there were hermitage sites on the Kames of Isbister...


 A couple more office days and then I'm in Out Skerries for the day on Friday. That's 90 minutes ferry each way so let's hope I have such good weather!