Sunday, 18 October 2015

A little fishy...

Well, after we got sorted this morning we decide to go out for an hour on Märta with Martin and see if we couldn't catch ourself a few little fishies for our tea...


And that's exactly what we did!


Lovely mackerel...


Some whole ones to grill for tea with salad and new potatoes and the rest filleted for a later date...


And Beren had a great time, though he was absolutely exhausted after our weekend's fun. Actually I am too!


Still we thought a final treat would be a sausage supper from Frankies before heading back to Scalloway...


By the time we got home Beren was a sleep in the car and I wasn't far off. Time to chill now...

Big boy little boy overnighter on Papa

With fine weather forecast and Clare and her Mam off to a yoga weekend on Unst Beren and I decided to set sail for Papa Stour for a little over night camp.


Beren was determined to carry his own stuff. That's a first; normally I carry everything and he his own rucksack full of toys. This time he managed to carry one of my smaller rucksacks with his sleeping bag, kip mat, clothes and toys!


 We also took the bikes across...



It was dark when we arrived and I decided to put the tent up on the patch of directly just in front of the ferry terminal. It fitted, just!


Before it was light Beren was wanting to be up to go fishing. I'm no fan really, but I persuaded him to wait a little while and have some breakfast first.


With all the seals about there wasn't likely to be many fish, though we did see some that were too small for the hooks we had. We did catch lots of crabs though! Probably a dozen in all, though we put them back...


Beren was happy enough catching crabs, though he said he likes catching the fish so he can look at all the colours on them. Eventually even he had got bored of it, phew...



Looking to Maid Stacks and North House from the pier...


Beach combing on Kirk Sands...


We were amazed by the size of some of the limpets we saw; very high cones...


After a bit of beach combing we went for a ride to the airfield and some other beaches nearby.

While out we met a family from the island with a little boy a similar age to Beren and went back to their house for a cuppa while Beren and the boy played. He showed us their Quail chicks, very cute!


On the long red beach that stretches from the ferry terminal to North House there were around 26 seals hauled out! When they saw us coming they soon scarpered, but that left the beach free for some more wandering with Beren collecting all sorts of tat that I hoped he'd forget and leave behind.


It also gave us a chance to do a bit of stone skimming with good flat stones that are on that beach...


All too soon it was time to be packing up and getting the evening ferry back to our nice cosy house, not like these little darlings...


You never know we might get away again this year, but it's going to be a lot more night than day soon and all that time in a dark tent with a 7 year old would be a bit challenging!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Here and there...

Wow, what a day! It's like summer again with hardly a breath of wind. Beren, Clare and her mam were off to the pictures to see 'Inside Out'. I wasn't fussed about seeing that and paying for the privilege, especially not on such a stunning day, so I headed out on my bike for a little off road exploring.

I decided to go up to Scrae Field, a hill near Scalloway with an old wartime radio station and great views. I knew it would be challenging with a bike as I've walked up a few times, but I like a challenge and a bit of hike-a-bike is no problem. 

Bersa Hill with Foula in the far distance...


I did just over 30km with probably half off road and half on. The stretch up along the ridge to Scrae Field was mostly pushing, but I did get to ride some bits.


Scrae Field with Bressay in the distance...


The view from the old radio station...


The day before we'd had a bit of a drive out with Clare's mam with a picnic in Kergord where Beren enjoyed playing on the swing...


There was quite a variety of fungi about, but I'm not sure what...



From Kergord we had a scenic drive from Voe over 'The Alps Road' to Aith and out to Vementry. And once there a little potter around the coast.

Here's the burn that leads out from The Loch of Hostigate to the sea via an old mill. A lovely spot.


And the small harbour at Vementry...


From Vementry to the Isle of Vementry is only a short hop across a narrow bit in Uyea sound...


I've kayaked and sailed through there, but I wasn't feeling the urge to swim across today! Maybe one time with a dry bag and camping gear though...


Well I'm back at work tomorrow so I'd best get out and make the most of what's left of this gorgeous day!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

A wander around Spiggie

Clare's Mam is up for a week so we decide to have a trip down to Spiggie and a wander around the sands and Northern Ness.


It was grey and cloudy on the hills, but a nice mild day none the less.


Looking out to Colsay...


And north to St Ninian's....


A close up of the hole in the rock spur near the bottom middle of the photo above...



Spiggie with a little secret beach on the right...


The beach was full of seals until we came along...


After our little bout of fresh air we retired to Sumburgh Hotel for sandwiches and chips and giggled at the number of birders wandering about seemingly aimlessly with their scopes and bins. There have been some rarities turn up lately, but I'm not sure what's about just now in that area.

Fingers crossed for more settled weather!

Starry night

When I picked Beren up from cubs the other night the sky was crystal clear with the milkway clearly visible along with a faint aurora.

Once he was wrapped up warm we headed up The Hill of Berry for a better look.


The aurora wasn't doing much, but we saw shooting stars and spent a little quiet time up there enjoying a still night and looking at the night sky.


Of course, as soon as we got back to the house I was getting notifications that the aurora  'had kicked off', sods law!

Monday, 5 October 2015

Orkney by bike...

As a last blast before the autumn gales strike I was lucky to get the OK from Clare for a quick weekender to Orkney to do a bit of cycling.

It seemed pointless touring for the two days so instead of my bike packing gear I managed to pack a 35l rucksack with everything, helmet in there too, and headed south straight from work...


The plan was to camp at Pickaquoy campsite, a central location with a ride out west on Saturday and one out East and South on Sunday. It's a great camp site for those times when you want a camp site and at only £6.35 a night for my tent not bad in deed!


My first ride took me on a loop out west and ended up being 112.5km; it was supposed to be more.  Here's a strava link if you want the details. I was just taking it steady wanting to enjoy the views and sites along the way, but the weather was much breezier than expected and a bit drizzly at times, nothing too bad though.


The view at Finstown...


My first real port of call was The Rendall Doocot, and full of pigeons it was too.


And not too far away is the Broch of Gurness. Luckily for me it was all closed up for the season (or maybe I was too early),  so I just wandered in and had a little look around the site. Very impressive and better than sites like Jarlshof in Shetland.



A little walk along the Sands of Evie and I was on the road again...

 
Next stop was the Brough of Birsay, but the tide was in so I couldn't get across the causeway...


And when I got to the most excellent Birsay Bay Tearooms I was too early for them! Still I only had to wait 20 minutes; a wait worth it for the fresh cheese scone and toastie I demolished for second breakfasts!


 Next followed the Bay of Skaill and I had thought to pop into Skara Brae, but at £7.50 I wasn't going pay out for that; I only wanted to have a quick look around and then get on my way. So the next stop was the Ring of Brodgar...



The plan was now to go to Stromness for dinner in a pub before taking the long way back to Kirkwall via Orphir. I had a nice pub lunch in The Ferry Inn and then set off, but before I go out of town my seat rail snapped leaving one half of my bum 2" lower than the other. Not good!



Some kids told me there was a cycle hire place and eventually I found it. Sadly no one was home, it was all shut up. I set off for Kirwall again thinking it'd be just a slow uncomfortable ride and then spotted a likely looking chap and asked if he knew of anywhere near by to get a new seat; he didn't other than the cycle hire place. But he did shout after me as I cycled off and offered to try to fix it in his shed! Some bodging later it was fixed with a bent nail, hot glue and gaffa tape! 

Now this fix seemed pretty good, but I didn't want to risk it going again at an inconvenient moment so I cut my ride short and took the direct route to Kirkwall and got to Orkney Cycles  before closing time where I became the proud owner of a second hand Selle Italia SL saddle. Phew!


Sunday dawned a fantastic day; less wind and t-shirt weather. I set off out west with a plan for a proper Sunday dinner in St Margaret's Hope. I did 94.8km that day; here's the strava link again if you want details.


I followed a few dead ends to nice looking beaches around Tankerness and Deerness and then came across Mine Howe and it's 29 steps. I knew nothing of it but it looks like a very interesting site. Again being early and out of season no one was about so I had a little wander and found these steps steeply descending into a man made mound. I went down, but didn't have a torch so came back up! I did realise I could get the headlight off my bike, but by then I was wanting to be off again. You soon get a chill when you stop cycling and cool down. One to go back to...


On Deerness I also headed out to Mull Head and The Gloup a large collapsed cave...


I was then off to the Churchill Barriers which lead you over a few small isles to South Ronaldsay...


And The Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm...



The final stop on the tour south was St Margaret's Hope...


The plan was my long awaited and well earned Sunday dinner, probably in The Murray Arms, but both that and the other pub/hotel were closed! Thankfully the cafe close by was open so I was able to have a nice big breakfast, still not a Sunday dinner though. A tail wind saw me head directly back to Kirkwall and after packing, a tea of fish and chips and a film at The Pickaquoy Centre I was back on the ferry at 11pm and sleeping my way back to Shetland.

Quite a whirl wind of a weekend and a good one at that! Thanks for reading :)