Between the Weathers^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
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Mark Gawler
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Between the Weathers^

Post by Mark Gawler » Sat Sep 13, 2008 6:20 pm

We've been back from our holidays for a week now, but haven't got round to posting anything about our trip. Since I've just been nudged to post some photos (and probably some words), here's a teaser for where we've been while I put something together.

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Mark Gawler

andreadawn
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Post by andreadawn » Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:16 am

A real teaser. Searching Memory Map's database for Ireland throws up quite a lot of possibilities from Wiltshire to Shetland.

This looks more Northern Isles (there's an Ireland in both Orkney and Shetland) than England though. I'll go for Shetland. The Ireland in Orkney doesn't have any bendy roads like that in the vicinity.

Andrea.

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Mark Gawler
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Post by Mark Gawler » Sun Sep 14, 2008 5:36 pm

Correct, although I think you may have taken it a bit to far by comparing the topology of the various Irelands in the Northern Isles. It would probably have been easier to search my recent posts.

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Between the Weathers – Shetland

Post by Mark Gawler » Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:23 pm

The title come from the a book of the same name which accompanied us round Shetland. The book by Ron McMillan, provides an excellent background to a visit to Shetland, it is full of amusing anecdotes, café recommendations and it even provided us with a couple of tips for places to stay. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone visiting Shetland.

My second recommendation to anyone travelling to Shetland is don't start from Portsmouth, moreover don't start from Portsmouth on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend. We did!

Our arrival in Shetland on Sunday morning was not an encouraging start. From the ferry we viewed the approaches to Lerwick in big seas and horizontal drizzle and wondered if we should have come earlier in the year. The weather did not give us an easy ride for the whole trip, but we made the most of it by hiding from the worst of it and running away when appropriate. Did I mention there are some excellent Cafés on Sheltand?

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Eshaness, We ran away to the Braewick café after looking at this!

The Shetland Amenity Trust does a lot of good stuff: benefiting from Shetland's oil revenue it's been busy building, restoring and planting things. One of the projects is the creation of a network of Camping Böds, which are essentially posh Bothies. All the Böds are in historically significant buildings. We stayed in two: the Sail Loft at Voe and Betty Mouat's at Scatness. The latter is adjacent to the excavations of the Iron Age settlement round Scatness Broch, which we had a excellent tour of. There is also a convenient launching beach across the road from the Böd.

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Betty Mouat's Camping Böds

Haroldswick on Unst is on the face of it not the kind of place you would choose to spend a day.
It used to lay claim to Britain's most northerly Post Office but since it closed, that claim has moved to Baltasound a few miles south. The weather and bus timetables dictated that we had to spend the day in Haroldswick, by the time we had visited the heritage centre, excellent Northern Lights Café, the boat haven and the Café again we almost missed the bus. In truth we never did catch the only bus of the day as it didn't turn up, but fortunately the Café owners came to the rescue and gave us a lift to the ferry. The boat haven was excellent, and being the only visitors we were given a personal tour. You could easily spend the entire day there.

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Unst Boat Haven

One place we didn't manage to do justice to was the Lerwick Museim despite visiting it three times. The Cafe / Restaurant is very popular with visitors and locals; so much so you are recommended to book for lunch!

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Lerwick Museum
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Boats at the Lerwick Museum



The Braewick café and camp site has possibly the best view in Shetland, it was definitely the best view I've ever had from a tent!
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The Drongs from the Braewick café.

The paddling highlight for us was Ronas Voe. Despite paddling in foul weather this provided some of the most spectacular rock hopping we have ever experienced. You really do have to explore every nook and cranny to get the best out of it.

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Stack in Ronas Voe

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Amazingly this little cave went all the way under the rock, you had to duck to get through!

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Hide and seek just doesn't work in a Sea Kayak.

After paddling the length of Yell and Unst we made it to Muckle Flugga. The original plan was to continue all the way round, but a southerly five to six occasionally seven was not conducive to our plan.
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The Approach to Muckle Flugga.

Yell has a reputation for being boring, which if you view it from the road that runs its length is true, its just beat bog after peat bog. The coast however is far more interesting.
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The Horse of Burravoe

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The White Wife, the figure head of a German ship which was wrecked off Yell in 1924. It was fittingly erected by the people of East Yell within sight of where the ship foundered.

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We found some excellent camping, this was our camp at the mouth of Baltasound.

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It was a bit windy at times.

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This Seal escorted us out of Bressay Sound and along the coast for about an hour.
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You never get tired of seals. We did see at least six otters and a number of porpoises, but sadly I wasn't quick enough with the camera.

One Final recommendation, when breaking up pallets for the stove in the Sail Loft Böd don't stand on the two inch nails!
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This little (but very deep!) hole resulted in a four hour visit to casualty. After two X-rays the doctor extracted a small piece of sock! No serious damage.

MarkG
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Post by Mark R » Sun Sep 14, 2008 10:33 pm

Looks great! Will certainly go see for myself; after this Summer's coitus interruptus, the John O'Groats to Muckle Flugga trip is very firmly written in to my future plans.
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Post by lg18 » Mon Sep 15, 2008 10:31 am

Ah, lovely lovely lovely Shetland!

I already can't wait for next Summer's trip...

Great piccies - I bet it was hard deciding which ones to post, it's such an amazing place you must have zillions of amazing photos!

Lucy

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Post by andreadawn » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:05 am

Mark Gawler wrote:I think you may have taken it a bit to far by comparing the topology of the various Irelands in the Northern Isles.
But I like looking at maps. Did I miss the point of your original post somewhere?

Andrea.

ps nice pics btw.

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Mark Gawler
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Post by Mark Gawler » Mon Sep 15, 2008 11:48 am

andreadawn wrote:But I like looking at maps. Did I miss the point of your original post somewhere?
No you didn't miss the point, It was just a teaser.

I've been told off, apparently my original reply to you sounded like I was telling you off, it wasn't meant to, sorry!

We have loads of photos this was just a taster.
Mark Gawler

ChadHallick
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Re: Between the Weathers^

Post by ChadHallick » Sun Oct 31, 2010 4:15 pm

Looks like you had a nice little adventure. I would love to visit the stack and go in that little cave!
Have you read this Phen375 post it's new.

Geko
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Re: Between the Weathers^

Post by Geko » Thu Nov 04, 2010 12:43 am

Great photos!
My grandfather was born in Basta on Yell and I have been considering taking a holiday up that way to possibly contact some long lost family etc.The photos and possibility of some Kayaking has made me even keener.Any suggestions on hireing boats and gear up that way?
Chris

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MikeB
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Re: Between the Weathers^

Post by MikeB » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:26 pm

Might be worth talking to Shetland Canoe Club - see the Clubs page of the Almanac.

Mike.

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Re: Between the Weathers^

Post by John W » Thu Nov 04, 2010 2:46 pm

Yes, an interesting looking trip. That one might have to go on the 'to do' pile. Cheers

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