REFUELLING ON SHETLAND
As South Nesting was about half way up I decided to travel on a little further up in order to get a refill of the lpg and autogas tanks.
Before leaving for Shetland I had done lots of online research about where I could refuel and there was one station on Orkney and four in Shetland. After my experience in Inverness I decided to telephone each garage individually to check the current state of play as to whether they did in fact supply lpg. Guess what? Not one of them did and hadn’t done so for a quite a while
But whilst travelling to North Mavine I had seen a depot out in the middle of nowhere with large bulk gas tanker lorries standing outside, and thought that they may be able to give me a fill-up. Plus at one of the marinas a truck turned up with some lpg bottles on board, and when I asked him where he got them refilled the same name came up
It was a bit convoluted, as the business had only just got started so I had to phone a hotel in Hilsborough to arrange for someone to meet me at the depot, but the guy I needed was not there, phone back tomorrow, I did but it was then Saturday and they were too busy with the hotel, but he could come out the next day – Sunday – after they had finished afternoon teas at five.. The hotel sounded nice so I though I might as well pop out there and perhaps have a Sunday afternoon tea myself, but having got there it appeared that a couple of coach loads of others had similar ideas and there was no room to park Thebus. I ended up parked outside one of the many neatly kept Shetland graveyards and phoned in to tell them my whereabouts so I could follow him to the depot.
He said he would come out when the coach parties had left, and give me a toot as he went past so I could follow him. Foolishly I causally mentioned that I had passed the depot on the way there, which resulted in him thinking I knew where it was. I did, but it was one of those places, an old quarry in fact, which is easily visibly when travelling north, but totally concealed when travelling south. As I knew I was to be escorted to the depot I hadn’t bothered to commit its exact location to memory – bad move
He came past at about fifty miles an hour with a jolly toot on his horn and a flash of his lights. I had to start Thebus up and dash after him as best I could. Of course being Sheltand we were on single track roads, and if I have to stop or slow at a passing spot it can be difficult to re-gain momentum, especially as we were in one of the hillier parts of the island. His exhaust trail had long since disappeared, but I thought he might have perhaps stopped by the turn in. No such luck. I reached Brae before I realised I must have missed it so turning round we went north again, when it was easy to spot the depot and I duly pulled in. Deserted!
I thought he might return and hung around for ages. Being Sheltand there was no phone signal on either of the mobiles, and eventually I decided to move to see if I could pick up phone signal, but I was within about two miles of the hotel again by the time I finally did. All of this had taken about an hour, but he turned out again for me. Apparently he had gone looking for me, but by then I had passed and was on the way to Brae, not finding me behind him he then went to Brae, but I was then parked up in the old quarry so he couldn't see me.
Never mind all's well that ends well, though how much petrol I used that afternoon I am not quite sure. Still the LPG lasted me for the rest of my stay in Shetland and part of my trip round Orkney on the way back to the mainland. Thebus only does about ten miles to the gallon, and I don't work out how much it costs me to get anywhere, neither do I keep a note of mileages etc on the principle that if I knew how much it was costing I would probably never bother to go anywhere. But the advantage of using Autogas is though it is marginally less efficient, it is almost half the price of petrol so it is a good saving cost-wise.
The second time he passed and tooted his horn we proceeded at a more sedate pace, possibly as his wife had come along the second time for a trip out. When we finally all arrived at the depot I said that I would have needed a light aircraft to have followed him the first time!
Although the roads on Sheltand are nearly all single track the drivers don't hang about, taking most of the moors cattle grids at about sixty miles an hour, and on one stretch of straight road which has space enough for two vehicles to pass each other, three drivers had appeared in court while I was there for speeding – doing respectively 92, 94 and 98 miles per hour. Two got a ban, but the third was allowed to carry on driving because of his job. One of the ones who was banned gave extenuating circumstance for speeding, saying that he kept his boat three miles away and he had to visit it twice a day. Well at that speed if certainly wouldn't have taken him long.
In the entire time I was on Sheltand I only saw one police car, and that was in Lerwick. I was told there was a set of traffic lights somewhere, though I didn't see one, and it might have been removed as apparently it caused total chaos when installed. And on the islands it is not necessary to have driving licence at all, so anyone can drive. Someone I met said he used to drive his aunties to their church services when he was nine.
There are no photos to go with this entry so here is an extra one. Taken, I think at Toft ferry terminals where I had parked up for the night hoping to see otters.
Plus some incredibly cute baby lambs in a field near Weathersta