We and the friends with which we have shared many great holidays started talking about
a holiday for 2012 sometime in the summer of 2011.
As we all have a liking for Scotland and between us had visited many areas and islands we decided on somewhere new and Shetland seemed an interesting place.
Fairly quickly we found a cottage to hire and then sorted out the ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick. We had never been on a ferry journey of 12 hours before so it was a bit of an adventure, even though we left on a grey Friday evening
The ferry journey was uneventful other than the ship being followed by fulmars. Perhaps it is easy for them to ride the air from around the ship.
Arriving at about 7am gives an extra day on the island and as we were not due to get to the cottage until 4pm we had plenty of time to explore.
From Lerwick we headed south towards Sumburgh Head. During the summer the cliffs are home to thousands of sea birds – guillemot, razorbills, puffins and many more.
The puffin burrows are at the top of the cliff so the birds are easy to see, often within a few feet of the road.
Sumburgh Head lighthouse is being developed as a visitor centre, due to be completed in Spring 2014.
The limited flat space on the island means Sumburgh Airport occupies all of the available land between two bays, including a small part of the A970 between Lerwick and Sumburgh
Close to the airport is the archaeological site of Jarlshof. The site appears to has been occupied from about 2,500BC to the 17th century and contains remains of Bronze Age, Iron Age wheelhouses, a broch, a Viking long house and a fortified manor house. Although the journey to Jarlshof from many parts of Shetland could be long, it is well worth the effort.
After leaving Jarlshof we made our way to the cottage at Hillswick. The cottage is an excellent converted barn in a wonderful location on the west side of Ura Firth.
The view from the cottage
The following photographs are of a few of the places we visited during our stay. They do not do justice to Shetland which has a huge variety of archaelogical sites, geology and wildlife.
Gordi stack and the Drongs, from the walk around the Hillswick penisula.
Gannets around the cliffs on Noss
Thrift growing above one of the geos at Eshaness
The volcanic surface around the Eshaness lighthouse, the last manned lighthouse designed by a member of the Stevenson family - David Stevenson
Hillswick penisula from Ronas Hill
The Shetland Bus memorial at Scalloway
Rainbow over Hillswick
Sunset over Fair Isle