Sunday, 28 June 2015

Its all about the Sea!

Its all been about the vessels on the sea this week.

The Shetland Bergen race has taken place and the winner of the first leg was announced on Thursday with prize giving at the Town Hall on Friday night. I was asked to take photos for the Shetland times and the 5 crew with ages ranging from 56-82 received prizes. Other prizes included a wooden spoon and a large bottle of whisky for last place.

                                                           The wooden spoon and a large bottle for last place

A song had been written and was delivered by the crew for their skipper who had done 28 Shetland - Bergen races. A very noisy event full of humour and well attended by all the crews.

Serenity took just 33 hours to complete the first art from Bergen to Shetland.

Part of the fiddle group that will be attending the Edinburgh Tattoo also played for the Norwegian visitors

I was also asked to go aboard the anti whaling vessel Sam Simon, which was bought by the Simpson's creator for  £1 million. unfortunately the vessel departed early due to the weather so I only managed departing shots as it left Grimista.

Its been hard to miss the collection of oil related vessels off Gulberwick and Cunningsburgh all week. The Clair Ridge power and accommodation appeared on `Mighty Servant 3 '. BP hopes to get around 640 million barrels of oil in the next 40 years from the oil field which is 50 miles west of Shetland

The Hereema Thialf is two massive cranes that was brought in the assembly a couple of platforms, you don't appreciate the size until a yacht goes by. This can lift 14,200 tones as a duel lift, it can accommodate 736 people and also has a helicopter deck. as well as being self propelled, reaching 7 knots.

A number of other oil related vessels have also been off the coast making it a very interesting few weeks

sad news

I have often said that you usually encounter very little traffic in Shetland. However on Sunday a person we know was killed in a traffic accident in the next village, The car was hit by a jeep type towing a caravan. It would seem for people in the know that the car came out and turned just in front of the jeep, and that was the end. R.I.P Michael

The road was closed for the rest of Sunday and for most of Monday. I travelled north Monday and encountered around a 30min delay with about 50 cars in a long line back up the hill towards Sandwick. Cars were then diverted in convoy by Police down the back roads, this was Ok but people coming out of the local houses didn't know about the road closure and started blocking the long lines coming the opposite way.

Well it's now passed the longest day and we haven't seen any summer as yet. It seems that we get one good then one bad day, lets hope July sees an improvement. It still doesn't stop us getting out and about. but we really need to get the grass cut and do some other gardening.

Another job was to paint the outside of the house, we have bought the paint - Butinox  which is £120 for 10 litres. This oil based paint is the best and from Norway where they have been using this for many years, so tried and tested.

As we catch the gales from the west this is where most of the wear occurs. If you look a couple of doors up from our house, the whole house is in need of urgent painting job as it is down to the bare wood. Ours is not this bad but you need to keep painting every 5 years to keep the weather out.

Lambs are still been born, we noticed this more out on the north west side. Others are only a few weeks old and still look cute.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Its all go

It was off to Eashaness with Wendy and Dave and the weather was good, sunny intervals and a bit warmer. It was good to see a number of cars heading away from the Lighthouse , lunch time at the weekend a good bet. the carpark at the cafe was full so it was no surprise to see the lighthouse carpark nearly empty.

A number of climbers prepared their kit as we moved on for a walk around the extinct volcano.
Larva can still be seen encasing large rocks while a number of other interesting rocks presented themselves along the walk. I am no geologist so I will have to search a few books and let you know what we came across some other day

Skylarks sang along the way and we saw two Puffins near the top of the cliffs, the first i have seen here. Lots of Herring, Common  Gt BB and Fulmar appeared but few walkers. We headed back towards Hillswick seeing the coast guard helicopter passing overhead. Later we found out that a girl climber had fallen from the cliffs.
                                                                                 Wendy, Diane & Dave

At Hillswick we found a mermaid, perhaps the only one to visit the UK and to look around the unusual garden, where toilets had been filled with flowers. On the way back we stopped at Mavis Grind to look at the narrowest gap in Shetland, just a few meters. Lots of anti tank traps can still be seen.

We finished off the day with an excellent meal at a packed Sumburgh hotel.

On Sunday the weather had turned but we still went up to Aith Lifeboat gala, which as usual started with the procession of Viking squads. Mr Stripy was busy with ice creams despite the weather but most people had decided to join us back in the centre having tea and homebakes.

In the evening we managed to get the last tickets for the New Rope String band, a brilliant funny act which were making there last appearance in Shetland.

Wendy and Davids last day was spent in Lerwick, buying presents, but one that Dave wanted the Haggis Pakoras, had sold out !!, he could have taken Haggis Crisps though.

We went down to the pier to wave them off in glorious sunshine before we headed off to the Happy Haddock - for some great tasting fish and chips. To follow this we headed up to Islesburgh for the first  Shetland Showcase concert.

The following day it was back to work for me but Diane had a trip to Whalsay for a guild event. Lucky they had booked the ferry two weeks before as many travelled from the mainland. Later in the week I took the Royal Voluntary Service Lerwick Lunch club down to Sumburgh Head for an outing. The weather was excellent and a few people even saw Puffins bringing sandeels

                                                                       RVS lunch Club at Sumburgh Head

Thursday, 11 June 2015

First time

After having some more  of my photos published in the Shetland Times, this blog was featured on Promote Shetland - `Move to Shetland newsletter'- many thanks all.

Diane mentioned that at this time of year we are usually on holiday but I pointed out that we on holiday 50 weeks a year now. Our two weeks this year are back in Sheffield, where one of our friends mentioned that Sheffield had not changed much with the normal gang fights on the main road in the north of Sheffield, a couple of shootings, and several cars set alight last week.

Mind you at least you don't get Bulls running rampage in the centre like the one in Lerwick last Tuesday which had the Police chasing it for over 2 hours before cornering it. By then it had injured an elderly women and others had to quickly get out of its way.

Last week film crews reappeared in Lerwick to start filming the new Shetland drama, apparently not based on an Anne Cleeve book. Perhaps there wasn't enough murders and of course Shetland must be on the way to compete with Mid summer murders - or so they would like to portray. in fact Shetland is one of the safest places in the UK

We are looking forward to our trip to Sheffield in a few months, this trip will coincide with the new Sheffield Wednesday football season and it will be good to see the new pitch, scoreboard and a brand new team. Hope to get to a couple of games during our stay.

Next year we are going to Speyside for a week (already booked) and then travel to Sheffield to see family and friends. This will be the first time we have been back to Speyside since 1985. No doubt it will be busier as the area has expanded as a result in more interest in winter sports.

This week Diane's Sister and husband have visited us, the first time we have seen them, other than on Skype, since we moved to Shetland last April. On Thursday we visited Sumburgh Head where a few Puffins came close up and with the sun continuing to shine we moved onto Scatness and later enjoyed music at Asta.

Friday it was cool with heavy showers but this didn't deter us from visiting Unst seeing an otter close up. Visits to the bus shelter, viking long boat and the chocolate factory at Saxa Vord. Then we headed to Skaw for a walk on the beach, the day finished with fish and chips from the happy haddock

There has been a few car fires recently, all down to the fact that birds- mostly starlings have built a nest near the engine, people not noticing the birds entering via the wheel arch. Most of these fires have occurred in Scalloway, although car fires have also happened in Quarff and the south mainland.

A good few cruise ships are now coming to Shetland and Lerwick harbour is also filling with yachts from the USA, Canada, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany and the rest of the UK. The Dim Riv has also made an appearance.