Saturday, 25 February 2017

Bressay bash...

Today the weather is pretty common Shetland weather of wind and rain, but the last two days have been still, bright and cold while the rest of the UK 'battled' with Storm Doris.

Yesterday was 'The Curry Club' meet at a friends on Bressay, oddly for a curry club it was a Mexican night, though that is more to do with the origins of our host and the fact that we all like flavoursome food.

Being a fantastic day and a Friday I took the afternoon off and took me and my mountain bike across to Bressay to work up a little appetite for the evening's feasting.

I'd hoped after two cold days or icy weather and snow flurries the soggy boggy ground between peat tracks would be frozen and a joy to ride over. As is usually the case I was disappointed and it was just very wet and very cold! Still I had a great few hours riding.

Here's a little snazzy animation of the route I followed; a mix of peat track, heather moor, peat bog and the single track quiet roads of Bressay.


The climb up to the top of the Ward of Bressay was a bit of a leg slayer even on a mountain bike, but there were some great views. Here's Lerwick across the Sooth Mooth...


And Noss from the other side of the Ward...


It was pretty nippy with plenty of icicles on the peat banks, but the ground itself was far from frozen, just very cold when you dipped your feet in it as was unavoidable in parts with hike-a-bike through bog that even a fat bike would sink in and sections of heather grinding through my gears.


I worked my way down the heather and bog from the ward to the old settlement of Wadbister...



 An headed out past Gorie to the Noss ferry crossing. Where I met a local old guy who lives in an old croft house I've long admired. We stood a while with him filling me in on local history of old settlements and the characters who lived there, before I ha to make my excuses to move on as I was getting a bit chilly. It's always great to hear the history of a place first hand from a different generation and the history that had been passed on to him too.


I explored a number of tracks, a stretch of coast and lochsides before heading on to the road and back to the venue for the feast.

Of course I should mention tat it was also the day of the Bressay Up Helly Aa and on the way back I passed the galleys. I say galleys because they seem to have a 'posh' boat that is rolled out for ceremonial purposes...


And a rather less spectacular boat (oddly having a turkey's head mask) that is actually burnt! I guess being a small island with a small population there aren't the people and financial resources to build and burn a posh boat every year. To be fair I do always feel it's a shame to burn the wonderful galleys that are built each year.


Back at our hosts I was early, but in good time to help prepare some of the food; chopping peppers, onions and salad. And we had a great night...





Roll on the next curry club!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Winter wonderland

Well, after months of gales and rain we've had the most amazing weekend. Cold, still and sunny. It's been amazing.

Today Clare, Beren and I decided to go for a walk and some lunch at The Hams O Roe on Muckle Roe. Beren's only been there as a baby in his old off road pushchair about 5 years ago. Today he walked!


A little shelter for lunch...


Various burgers on the go...


Happy family!


There was some impressive ice about and some weird sounds from stone skimming on it on the video below.


 

It was a grand day out!


And here's a little video of it...


Yesterday I also got out for a walk on the hills around Burwick. Deep heather with deep snow in parts too.


 The Bod of Nesbister on the end of the ayre down in Whiteness...


And by contrast ponies enjoying the sun on the banks in Scalloway...


That's all for now folks!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Bike some hike some. The Clift Hills

Well, I'm sorry I didn't get any coverage of Up Helly Aa. This is the first year we've not gone! The weather was awful and Beren didn't want to go, and to be honest neither did we. We did watch the live stream of it via 60N though, complete with snacks.

Today the weather was fairly reasonable for a change, so I decided on a bit of a crazy plan to cycle down to Maywick with my walking gear. Leave the bike there and then walk back to Scalloway over the Clift Hills, something I've been wanting to do for years.

Approaching Maywick after an 18.5 miles ride into a headwind. I was already fairly tired!


The straight forward route on the road from Scalloway...


Bike chained up and ready to set off up the hills...


I'd left a little note to stop someone sending a rescue team out for me...


There's no paths, hardly even sheep tracks on these hills and there's lots and lots of bog. It's pretty hard going. 

Look north to Royal Field, my first summit on the route, but a few boggy steep valleys between us...


South Havra off Burra...


East and West Burra...


 Royal Field, the second highest hill on Mainland Shetland at 293m. Ronas Hill is a bit higher, but lots easier to get to.


Looking back top Royal Field across some soggy ground...


Holm Field 290m...


I took lots more phone photos, but I've got a new phone and messed them up. Seems like it doesn't auto-focus or something and with the sun and my tired state I was just snapping a pic as and when with out paying much attention.

Looking south down Clift Sound...


Nearly home and very tired after 11.5m miles of rough hills and the 18.5 mile ride to get there!


And here's the route I took back to Scalloway...


A great walk if you're feeling fit. I'd advise taking walking poles as they came in very handy!

Til the next time...