The forecast for Northern Light action was good, and the moon was not full so I thought we would head somewhere good and dark with nothing such as Sullom Voe - which as someone said reminded them of Mordor, though I think that was a bit of an exaggeration – to spoil our chances of a good viewing. It was not the best of days, but here on Shetland that does not mean the bad weather is set in, and one can get a quick change to something much better, so I set off hopefully.
I must just say I do sometimes feel sorry for Phoebe. From time to time we get invited into houses, and she really loves it. At Fetlar she more or less had to be shoved out of the door when it was time to leave, and as soon as we went out next morning for her early morning leg stretch she headed straight back to Murray's crofthouse. And it was the same when we visited Sally and Garry. So when we arrived at Eshaness Lighthouse poor little Phoebe's mind said 'house' and she trotted purposefully in that direction and had to be called back.
As it turned out spending the night up by Eshaness Lighthouse was not the best of plans. When we arrived it was still overcast, but that turned to rain, and also the wind speed got up quite a lot, so all in all it was a pretty rough night, though not as bad as some I have spent in the north this winter.
The lovely couple I met at the Bonhoga Gallery had phoned and arranged that we meet up on Saturday morning for a bite to eat, and said they would collect me from the Eshaness Lighthouse, though they did well to find me that morning through the thick fog which had now replaced the wind and rain of the previous night. My trips to see the cliffs on North Mavine have proved pretty fruitless, as the vast majority of the days have been so dull and wet I haven't been able to see far enough to actually view any scenery.
They brought their two grandsons with them to see Thebus and meet Phoebe, and they reinforced my impression of how nicely brought up and polite the Shetland youngsters are. Both lovely young men, though one very much younger than the other! Then we all went down to Braewick Caravan Park where I had stayed earlier, though now their excellent Cafe was open, and we had a most enjoyable lunch. I had a toasted Panani massively filled with delicious and tasty roast beef with a side salad and some home cooked chips, and non of us could resist a slice of the freshly home-made White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake, which was absolutely scrummie.
After they had taken me back to Eshaness the fog seemed to have lifted a bit, and after taking a few photos through the general gloom, I thought I would travel and spend the night back at Tingwall Kirk, then even if the fog came down again I could go the the Sunday morning service there. I was also hoping that as it was quite dark there it could have been a good night for the lights. As it happened they did nothing much that evening although it would have been reasonably clear skies for viewing.
Eshaness Cliff with Eshaness Lighthouse in the background.
I am not sure if the photo give the impression of how monumental the scenery is here,
but the fact that the light house is pretty big, and is dwarfed should give some idea.
The stones toward the edge of the cliff in the middle distance are in fact boulders
I left Phoebe firmly shut up inside Thebus, as even though she is a careful girl the drops here are horrid.
I kept well back from the lip of the cliff when taking the photos
Cliffs at North Mavine.
If you look carefully you can see some small white specks on the first cliff face
These are gannets, with a wing span of nearly two meters, which gives an idea of the granduer of the scenery
The Cliffs at Eshaness - North Mavine, in the mists
with Thebus to give some sense of scale
On the way back I passed the signs for Tangwick Haa Museum, and thought I would try just in case it was open now the schools were on holiday, but it was all firmly locked and barred. Though I did look round their garden which had the largest and stongest bed of rhubarb I have seen in my life. Each plant covering at least two square feet. Makes my stomach rumble just to think about it.
This garden bed is rhubarb end to end, and at least six feet wide.
I think it could keep the whole of Shetland regular!