Saturday, 30 January 2016

Gertrude arrived in Shetland

Well we never made it to Lerwick for Up Helly Aa on Monday as we both have colds and the weather was rainy and windy. The weather get worse and by Thursday we had a mix of weather  which is typical of Shetland.

Before I was ready to go to work a large thunderstorm struck Sandwick, with a lightening fork hitting Sand lodge at Sandsayre it cut the power to 1200 properties for a few hours. You have to give credit to the Hydro lads who appeared on the scene very quickly and worked in terrible conditions.

As I set off it began to hail and the roads became white but entering Cunningsburgh it turned to heavy snow, just up the road it was sunny, then at Quarff it snowed again. Not content just after that it rained very heavy before turning to sunshine as I entered Scalloway. All in a 12 mile trip.

I haven't mentioned the winds that hit on Friday, Storm Gertrude caused all schools and the college to be closed for the day.

It was higher winds than previously thought, upgraded to a Red warning,  Hurricane Force 12 , over 105 mph winds hitting Lerwick ,109 mph in Yell and 111 mph at Scatness  making driving conditions very difficult. I just missed a van being blown over a crash barrier and down the hill, luckily no one was injured, a few other high side vehicles also was blown over.

 I parked at my usual spot in Scalloway, coming out 4 hours later it took me several washes to clean the salt off the windscreen. I could also taste salt in the air and well as see it plastered all over the car.

As my work takes me in Scalloway it allows me to explore Shetland ancient capital- when the weather permits. One thing that you notice about Scalloway is that it has a lot of mature trees - very unusual for Shetland. This creates a magnet for any migratory birds and a number of interesting ones have turned up since we arrived in Shetland.

The other noticeable thing is the connection with the Shetland bus.  The excellent Shetland Bus memorial is a great attraction, as is the museum which is dedicated to telling the story and the continued links with friends in Norway.

Walking down the shore front Dinapore House stands out with its battlement like roof. Here the Shetland bus operations was carried out,. sending Norwegian fishing boats back to Norway with agents and supplies then bring back many Norwegians which needed to evade capture by the Germans

A short distance away is the pier where the fishing boats were repaired , the whole of Scalloway was kept a big secret throughout the World War 2 and  many interesting buildings remain. One is Scalloway Castle which stands near the harbour, here ammunition was stored .

At least I will have more time to discover its secrets, its far quieter than Lerwick with little traffic but it still has a number of interesting ships visiting, viewing is excellent with its horse shoe shaped bay

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