Saturday, 25 August 2012

Shetland Isles

So who knew that there was a small Island right in between Orkney and Shetland?

It wasn't until I was on the ferry going from Orkney to Shetland that I was looking at the map on my GPS, when I discovered there was a small island that sits pretty much right in the middle of the mainland islands of Orkney and Shetland. I had nothing that told me anything about it, just a little dot on my map with the writing "Fair Isle" next to it. I didn't have any other information and had no means of getting any, but I was able to work out that the Ferry would be sailing passed it about 4am.
So I set my alarm.

The sun had not quite risen yet, but you could see a little bit of light coming from the North East horizon. I didn't know if the island would be flat or have cliffs or even if anyone lived there, but when it appeared I was quite impressed with the big sea cliffs. It really set me off in a good mood for the rest of that day.

A few hours later the ferry arrived in Lerwick and I was on my way North to the most Northerly point in the UK, which is close to an area that I sailed passed a short time before while on the way back from Iceland.

I had 2 more ferry crossings before I could get to this most Northerly point. 

My mood for the day was about as laid back as you can get. I arrived at the ferry port at the North end of the mainland of Shetland to take the ferry to and island called Yell. It was about then I discover I had no cash left, so I headed south again in search of a cash point. Back at the ferry port now with some cash, some bacon and some eggs for breakfast. I relaxed in the sun and cooked and replied to a back log of emails with the free WIFI at the ferry port. I probably missed 6 or so ferries in the process.

Waiting For The Ferry To Yell in scotland

It was early afternoon before took the short 15 minute ferry ride over to Yell. I rode to the North end of the island and took another ferry over to another Island, Unst, and rode to the North side of it.

It's times like these that I envy car drivers a bit. When it comes to leaving my bike to go walking, it is never a simple operation. My camera gear always comes with me and the empty space it leaves is taken up by my motorbike clothes. It sounds simple enough to say here, but the whole operation of moving this gear over and getting changed never seems to happen as quickly as I think it should.

I was walking towards the most Northerly Lighthouse in the UK. I had no way to actually get to the lighthouse as it was built on top of a rock which is several hundred metres North of the most Northerly part of Unst. The path I followed took me around the west side of the peninsula. Puffins! Wow, I saw hundreds of Puffins. They also don't seem to be too bothered by human presense as you can get quite close without them getting scared. Of course you should always respect them and give them some room to do their nesting chores.

This place is a haven for sea birds, there are thousands of them! Some large rocks off shore are completely covered in nesting birds. Puffins have got to be the most entertaining of them to watch.

Puffins near Muckle Flugga in scotland

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