Friday, 26 April 2013

Notes from Shetland. Part 2

An interesting mixture of archaeology, walking, birds and chance encounters with the natives today.

After a rather substantial breakfast, we visited the Jarlshof archaeological site near Sumburgh Head. The name sounds Norse but, rather more prosaically, was invented by Sir Walter Scott. Apparently it's a corruption of Earl's House. I'm glad to say that the site itself had more antiquity that its name. It covered around 4000 years of continual habitation, starting with the oldest round houses, through brochs and wheelhouses through to the 1400s. A fascinating site and one well worth visiting. We had our first encounter with a native there in the form of the site custodian, who hailed from Bradford and who enlightened us on some aspects of modern living on Shetland.

Off next to Sandwick to catch the ferry to Mousa, home of the most intact broch on Shetland. Unfortunately the ferry was not running but we did have tea and cake at a communal centre nearby. Another friendly native encountered and more information about living on Shetland.

Next it was off to walk around St Ninian's Island in the rain. And how it rained! But it was a great walk with panoramic views and lots of birds - Arctic Skuas, Great Skuas, long-tailed ducks, turnstones, Northern divers, ring plovers, oyster catchers and fulmars, to name just the main ones spotted. And St Ninian's Chapel at the end.

Next we drove to Quendale Mill for coffee and a visit to the mill itself.  It has to be said that we spent more time over our drinks and chatting to the custodian than we did going around the mill!  Another friendly informative native.

And the day finished with dinner at the Sumburgh Head Hotel with possibly the most peppery sauced dish that I'd ever encountered.

Lots of excellent photographs taken today but, because of an extremely slow wi-fi connection, I just can't upload them onto the blog. Maybe tomorrow?

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