Friday, 23 June 2017

Shetland Footprints: June 23rd

Yesterday we collected the new tent that had been sent from Aberdeen to replace the one that was no longer waterproof. It took three days for the tent to arrive and although it wasn’t really holding us back it was good to know that we would be a little more comfortable.
And so we travelled further north.

The Isle of Unst was going to be home for the next couple of nights and this would be the northern most island we would visit and, at about 700 miles from home, it would be the northern most campsite too. When we got to the tiny fishing village of Uyeasound the skies were blue and water between us and the island of Uyea was calm and still with just a single Merganser and, the now customary, Seal for company. The evening was long and although it would not get much darker the sun had set to a soundtrack of Oystercatchers, Wheatears and the haunting call of the Snipe.

One thing we have learned about the Shetlands is that the weather can change almost instantly, from cloud to sun or the other way around.   

Overnight the wind picked up and blew straight across the sound bringing rain and trying its hardest to rip the tent from its ropes. Inside the tent wasn’t exactly calm either but it was built to stand up to worse than this so while the canvas whipped and pulsed and the poles buckled we waited, slept and woke on and off through the night.
It is hard to say that we waited for dawn as it had been light all night but there seems to be a time when getting up and on is an ok thing to do. The wind was still blowing and low cloud joined the spray from the sea to make sure you got just wet enough but we walked up the hill to the hostel where a well-stocked kitchen could supply coffee. Lots and lots of coffee…
The hostel has an old conservatory at the back, overlooking the campsite and across the sound to Uyea and from here we watched the weather attack our tent. Just off the beach, only a few meters from the tent a Grey Seal bobbed and watched, with the soulful expression that these now familiar creatures have mastered. In the skies above Gannet after Gannet swoops over the waves occasionally diving but spending more time escaping the Bonxies than actually fishing.
When we reached coffee saturation point it was time to move on, further north, to find what we find.

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