Shetland (1) – A Circumnavigation of Houssness

After a busy morning doing all the housework and admin that had been left abandoned whilst I was on a long run of shifts, I headed up to Aberdeen to take the M/V Hjaltland (aka the North Boat) up to Shetland. After a delightfully peaceful train journey with some lovely views of the coast, I was treated with a calm passage and the glories of a cabin to myself. Despite leaving our berth at Aberdeen harbour 15 minutes ahead of schedule, we didn’t actually leave Aberdeen itself for a while, thanks to the requirement to swing the boat’s compass, which basically mean that we performed slow pirouettes for the best part of two hours. As a bonus though, we did see some dolphins, or possibly porpoises, in the distance whilst we were waiting.

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Once underway we made good speed and caught up all the time we had lost, arriving in Lerwick at our scheduled arrival time of 7.30am. The light was glorious and as I drank a cup of tea out on deck, it felt like the perfect start to my holidays. We stopped for breakfast at the Fjara cafe/restaurant and watched for seals (no joy) before braving the supermarket and heading back home. I spent some quality time working on the sock I’m (re)knitting and then just before we headed out for a late afternoon walk we had a fantastic otter sighting.

Our walk took us widdershins along the coast and we flushed an incredible number of snipe along the way, along with seeing bonxies (great skua), curlew, cormorants, great black backed gulls, northern fulmars and a couple of ruddy turnstones.

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