Saturday, 27 April 2013

Notes from Shetland: Part 3

An active third day on Shetland and a day without rain.  Briefly, here's what we did.

1.  A morning trip to the nearby archaeological site of Scantness. A mixture of ancient village (with wheel houses) and reconstructed broch. The builders were extremely skilled in the art of dry stone walling and put my feeble efforts to shame.
2. Thence to Scalloway for a late morning drink in what seemed to be the only hotel in town. A somewhat gruff landlord at the beginning gradually metamorphosed into a reasonable human being over the duration of our stay.
3.  We spent the afternoon on Mousa Island, travelling there by ferry from a pier at the hamlet of Cunningbury.  We walked around about two thirds of the island surrounded, as all small islands, by sea views. The clear weather meant that we could see for miles ... and miles ... and miles ... and miles (clever, eh, bringing in a reference to a Who song?). Apart from the Byrds (oops, another rock reference) the main reason for visiting the island is its 2000 year old broch, This is reputedly the most intact one on Shetland. It really is an impressive structure, circular with double skinned walls and a spiral staircase within the cavity. What were brochs used for? As with many ancient structures, the function is not really known but the smart money seems to be on something defensive or, if not that, a house for communal living. It would be nice to show a photograph of this but, unfortunately, my camera battery ran out as soon as we set foot on the island.
4. Back to Scalloway for a drink and into Lerwick for fish and chips at a cafe recommended by the ferryman.  And very good it was too. Fresh haddock and crisp batter - it doesn't get any better than that on a Saturday night in Lerwick - not that there was stiff competition.

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