Saturday, 11 March 2017

SMUHA (Up Helly Aa)

Finally the weather held last night and we took the short journey over the hill towards Cunningsburgh to see the South Mainland Up Helly Aa (SMUHA)

It was interesting the see the squads process through the village from our vantage point in the lay-by just up the hill

I think it is always better to see the galley burnt on the sea and this took place at Mail beach

After the usual songs the torches started to be thrown into the galley

Most traffic i have seen since moving to Shetland. The cars held back until the procession moved onto the beach

The Galley launched into the sea

A few fireworks after the event

A good night and looking forward to next years Up Helly Aa's, it seems to have passed very quickly this year.

The facebook page Shetland Aurora Hunter is now doing well with over 700 members, please send me a request to join.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A while ago

Its been a while since my last blog, this has been down mainly to having to develop four illustrated talks to give to the Royal Voluntary Service (2), SWI and Shetland Photographic Society as well as build a new 6 session (3 hours Per session) on Night Sky Photography without a telescope for the Shetland Adult Education.

Storm at Quarff

                                                                    Moon at St Ninian's tombolo

On top of this we have been out at a variety of music events. Having already missed out on two Up Helly Aa events we hope to see our local one down in Cunningsburgh on Friday.



The weather has been mixed for the past few weeks with one day of snow which lasted three days due to the cold conditions. This did allow us to get out on a fine day and get some photographs in the south mainland and several storms have passed through.

                                                                                     Spiggie (Foula in background)

It was nearly a tragic day when the Ocean Way sank several miles east of Whalsay in calm conditions. The fishing nets had become fastened on something then it release sending the tackle into the back of the boat causing damage. The Coastguard helicopter and lifeboat arrived just in time as the boat suddenly began to sink so the crew jumped into the sea and within a minute the boat had completely disappeared. The crew got hypothermia but got aboard the lifeboat safely. Its a dangerous job even on calm days.

                                                                                                    Scousbough Bay

                                                                                           Looking west to Spiggie


Our new face page  `Shetland Aurora Hunter ' is going well with nearly 700 members joining in the first 3 months. Please send me a request if you want to join . This is not just for Aurora photos but anything in the Night sky.

                                                               Just north of Boddam

 I have had a number of photos published in the Shetland Times recently and I have just found out that two photos have been selected for the Shetland Times Bookshop calendar which should be out soon


If you are thinking of moving to Shetland here are a few pieces of information that you may be interested in.

Sullom Voe has laid off most of its workforce and is not going ahead with the other gas plant, this has resulted in numerous construction staff leaving. Work is also more or less complete on the new Anderson High School and the new Power Station is yet to start. Most of the Voluntary sector is having funds cut from April but there are a few jobs in the fish processing plant.

The shops down Commercial Street are very quiet and a number such as the Hydro have closed down. The council tax has just gone up by 3% but this is still a lot cheaper than down in England and also includes water rates.

House prices have leveled out and a few properties are on the market but most start being advertised from April when its easier to get up to Shetland to view. Saying that a few people buy off the internet without ever having been to Shetland- a risk if you don't know the Scottish laws. Please let me know if you want any most specific details.

You can view more photos on my website at

Friday, 10 February 2017

Up Helly Aa and beyond.

January is generally dull, wet and often foggy but in Shetland we have plenty of things to brighten the days.

Apart from the Aurora's which can happen anytime (see- or Shetland Aurora Hunter (face page) which will lift any gloom, its also the start of Up Helly Aa season.

Scalloway is the first venue and this started on Friday 13 January, but it was snowy and icy so we missed out.

Then the last Tuesday in January (31) is the biggest Up Helly Aa  held in Lerwick. which turned out to be very bad weather. Some of those in the squads had to hold onto the person in front as they couldn't see very far with the driving rain and sparks flying towards them.

As we moved into February we had more gales with some properties suffering damage and then today we had the first snow of the winter. the gales also forced the cancellation of a couple of ferries, which meant that Tesco has less and less food on the shelves.

I don't mind snow if you can get about and i was fortunate that most heavy snow arrived just as i got from work

The skies have been superb this winter, lots of colour and drama

Winter is far from boring, besides the fantastic skies, Up Helly Aa, Aurora, star filled skies, superb wildlife and great music nights its a time for planning. I am preparing another intermediate photography course - this time 6 sessions on Night Sky Photography, which i will be delivering later in the year for Shetland Adult Education.

There are a few places left on the Beginners and Intermediate photography courses in Scalloway in Spring - see Shetland adult Education website for further details

Also i have been preparing various talks for the WI, Women Guild, RVS and Shetland Photography club and another one for our visit to Sheffield, again on Shetland.

don't forget to visit (Canvas Prints) and also send me a request to join a Facebook page - Shetland Aurora Hunter

Thanks again for looking at my blogs, which also include

Friday, 6 January 2017

Second Christmas day in Shetland

We survived Storm Barbara and Conor together with a few severe Gales, but several houses close by sustained damage mostly slates off but next doors also had there shed roof ripped off and some landed in the middle of the road

Looking at the houses across the field a couple have lost several slates and these have ended up in our garden and next doors. Several years ago the Hurricanes got so bad that some slates flew through windows and embedded themselves in the living room walls. Thank goodness no one was injured, that shows the power of the wind

Some people also lost power for four / five hours on Christmas day including our friends who ended up cooking Christmas dinner for 18 more or less in the microwave (They had a generator that managed the TV and lights)

Our cancelled Christmas eve meal at Sumburgh took place on New Years eve and we ended up with far better fireworks than London or Edinburgh as an Aurora display took place, many people watched this on Shetland webcam 3

We only managed to get out once in perfect weather then it was back to gales again, you have to make the most of any decent weather. We decided to walk along the coast just south of Sumburgh hotel, one we have not done for a long time (Hence photos)

The Julian Calender which is used by the people of Foula enabled us to celebrate a second Christmas day today, our cat Furbie was well impressed as he had more Chicken. In Unst a while ago, Baltasound and Uyeasound both had different Christmas's and they are only 5 miles apart

Next week we start Up Helly Aa, the first will take place in Scalloway on 13 January with the big one in Lerwick Tuesday 31 January (worth watching on , There will not be any postponement due to the weather

see more photos at

and join our new facebook group Shetland Aurora Hunter - just send me a request to join