Sumburgh Airport is right at the southern most tip of Shetland mainland, and full of character. Approaching the airport by car, you have to cross the runway, which is closed by barriers when a plane is landing or taking off. As you drive onto the runway, there’s a big sign advising “Straight ahead only” – but how tempting it would be to take a left turn, and drive down the centre of the runway as fast as you could. Of course, without the ability to take off, you’d very quickly find yourself in the water, as the runway stretches at both ends right up to the sea – as you drive across, you can see the waves breaking at the tip of the runway!
The airport is wonderfully short of taxiways, none of the Schiphol Airport 15 minute taxi to the Polderbaan here, instead you trundle on to the runway somewhere in the middle, lumber along to one end, turn on your tail, and then put your foot down – definitely the best sort of take-off experience!
Looking behind you after take off, there is a great view of the airport, and its rather precariously looking location. If only my camera had been working…
After Sumburgh, an exciting 3 hours wait in Aberdeen Airport, home of 3 shops and a small cafe, which is packed full to bursting. For want of anywhere better to sit, I made my way to the cafe, where I took advantage of what may be my first and last opportunity to sample a haggis pizza (is this what’s known as fusion cuisine?).
The bonus of Aberdeen, though, is the selection of airplanes that come through here – most are propellor planes, and there are also helicopters which run out to the oil rigs. Although it’s an international airport, your options for exotic travel are limited – Stavanger, Amsterdam and Dublin being your only choices.