To reach or leave Sumburgh one has to actually drive across the runway of the island's main airport, which is quite a busy one, though mainly with smaller planes and helicopters. Its quite exciting the first time one stops at a level crossing for an aeroplane!
A bit further on I had seen a brown tourist sign and now the School Easter Holidays in Shetland were in full swing I thought some of the attractions might have decided to open, and even if it hadn’t then being a traditional farm croft I could perhaps take photos of the outside. The sign said turn right in three quarters of a mile,and as it was about a couple of hundred yards from the next right hand turn I judged that it could not possibly be the one I needed. Bad move. After about two miles I realised my error but couldn’t be bothered to turn round again. And in any case before long we were due to cross the 60 degree north line, which is marked with a little yellow sign at the roadside.
STOP -Planes crossing
Crossing the line!
While taking the photos the sheep in the field opposite thought we might be the bringer of sheep nuts and came hastily and noisily over to investigate. Here they are below looking anxious
I had missed Scalloway on the way down to Sumburgh as the road was shut with roadworks, so I thought I would try and see it on the way back, Also there was a hotel which had good reviews and as although I felt I was well up on my Fish and Chip quota, I had really wanted to try a little more of the haute cuisine of Shetland, not just the hearty.
Reaching Scalloway and turning towards what I felt was the right road it looked so narrow that I lost heart and managing to make a 360degrees turn round a mini roundabout (no mean feat in Thebus) I back-tracked. The ruins of the old Scalloway Castle were close by and I might have liked a look, but there was nowhere to stop near enough for me to walk, and we ended up at a large carpark by the harbour, where I managed to phone the hotel for directions. It was the road which had worried me first time round. I explained I was travelling in a large motorhome and was not a good walker. Could I park? Yes – fine there was a car park opposite and one at the back as well. Take the first left, left again, and I would see them.
The first left had a restriction of 2.5 tons per axle, so we were forbidden entry. But we retraced our route back to the road which had worried me first time round. Quite narrow, and there were cars parked randomly on either side, so we edged our way down, and once again established that, yes, there was room for us to get through – Whew, once one is committed down a road like that you simply have to go forwards as there is just no possibility of turning round.
We passed the aforementioned car park but there would have been little chance of us getting on there even if it had been empty, which it wasn’t. The turning to what I take it must have been the car park behind the hotel was a narrow right angle between two high stone buildings, and I don't think however good a driver you might be that anyone would have been able to turn Thebus up there. Although there was on-street parking, we would have caused chaos as Thebus is so wide, but there, on the left, was what looked like an old jetty with car park markings. I reversed in – I hate reversing towards water where there is no edging, and on this particular carpark there was a straight drop into the harbour on both the side and the back, but we managed to park and I headed to the nearest shop, which was just opposite, to ask if we would be ok to stop there. Plus I needed some shopping and it looked like a good opportunity for a bit of a stock up
Apparently they owned the carpark and they weren't looking very happy at first as I think they imagined I was intending to spend a few days camped up there, but when they knew it was only for lunch, plus I think it was their half day closing, it was ok. So I took the groceries back to Thebus then headed off for lunch
The food at The Scalloway was nicely presented, but the star of the show was the 'catch of the day' which was Ling. Really fresh and perfectly cooked. I asked what type of fish a Ling was, as I had never eaten it before, or seen it in shops.
The young lady who served me produced her mobile phone and showed me a photo.
Monster Ling caught by the chef at The Scalloway Hotel
Apparently a previous chef had been a fisherman in his spare time and had caught this monster Ling. If the fish I had eaten that day had not been so deliciously fresh I might have been tempted to think that the catch of that particular day had lasted for a very long time.
Scalloway was for some time the capital of Shetland and it showed - There were several shops so feeling slightly dazed by such retail potential I headed towards The Scalloway Meat Company, and passing a chemist's shop took the opportunity of replacing the contact lens solution I had foolish left on the ferry up to Shetland. I asked where the shelf for contact lens solutions was. We've got this sort, said the young lady producing a bottle. Well that will do nicely! I was always complaining about there being too much choice of things which you didn’t really want, and how the choice of two things you did want would be far more sensible - so Shetland have just taken it that one step further, with a choice of one thing that you really need.
As I was the only customer and there were the chemist and his assistant serving I chatted, saying I had come up from Sumburgh, and they asked what I had seen but of course hardly anything opened until May, so I teased them a bit. Saying – Shetland – yes, I went there, but it was shut! Surely not was the concerned reply and they got straight on the internet to check the opening times of everything, and were crestfallen to agree that it appeared that, Yes - on the whole, Shetland was pretty well still shut.