YELL TO UNST
It stayed windy throughout the whole of the night and I woke early next morning to the sound of howling wind and driving rain.
There seemed little point in driving on in the teeth of a gale and with the rain I would have been able to see little of the country either, and getting up would only involve using heating and with no mi-fi there would be little to do, so I stayed in bed trusting to the rain before seven mantra to ensure we would have a better day for travelling later on. Phoebe was more than happy to keep her nose tucked into her bed so we both stayed in the warm. Suddenly Phoebe was barking, surely there wasn’t anyone at the door. Yes there was, it was the wife of the gentleman I had asked directions of the night before and who had suggested parking by the church. She had come to tell me that as he knew I was headed for the north of the island I would have easier travelling if I turned back towards the harbour and took the main road, which was wide enough for two vehicles.
She had also bought me some of their own fresh eggs , and unbelievably the gift of a hooded tee shirt, which she had machine embroidered with a logo of the Shetland Isles. I tried to find my handbag to pay for all of this largesse, but she insisted it was a gift. I am still amazed at their kindness and generosity. She even texted later in the day to say if it was the wrong size to let her know!!! I have heard of highland hospitality, but this was island hospitality with a capital 'I'
I had two of the eggs poached and on toast for breakfast and jolly nice they were too, with large rich yolks, and as you know I am a severe judge of eggs!
The day was gradually improving and having looked at my maps it seemed that there were a few things perhaps worth looking at along this narrow road, so I decided to take a chance and go on rather than turn back to the wider road. I am pleased that I did, and although the Old Haa was shut till May, I still stopped to take some photos of the outside. A very pretty young teenager was walking a sweet little spaniel and stopped to say hello, asking where I had come from. She and her family had moved up here two years ago, and she was loving every minute here and said she wouldn’t go back for worlds. I asked if it was half term as she was out and about on a Monday, but she explained it was Up Helly Aa that weekend and they have the Friday and the Monday off, so it must have been a good one.
I took the turning for the White Wife which is an old figurehead from a a German ship which wrecked in 1924, though the ship itself had been originally called the Bertha and had been built in Grangemouth.
Trusting that there would be somewhere to turn at the end of the narrow track I turned down. There was though I was more than grateful for help from the local postman in seeing me back, mind you if he hadn't we might both have been there still. Having got all the way down there I thought it would be too far for me to walk, and the postman agreed adding that it was a steep path and a blustery day, but I saw some lovely scenery along the way.
I was disapointed not to have made it to the figurehead having got so very near, but I have found a photo on Wikipedia free commons and so here is Bertha, or the White Wife of Otterswick, which sounds a bit more romantic.
My photos really couldn't do justice to views such as I passed on the way north along the eastern side of Yell, so wide and so far reaching it needs to be experienced rather than seen on a small screen, but we passed through mile after mile of uninhabited heather covered peat moors, with wonderful views down to the seas, the waves crashing against the rocky shores or sweeping into big bays, and always when we stopped the winds blowing us lungfulls of clean fresh air.
Phoebe seems much more relaxed, whether she is at last settling to the idea of us travelling, or whether there is less traffic now to upset her, or perhaps even that being a creature of habit she is settled into our wandering life, I really don't know. What I do know is that her tail is wagging far more often and when she comes for a fuss she feels her old relaxed self. She is even getting a bit cheeky, in that my lovely new Marans teacosy had got a bit wet, so to dry it out I put it close to one of the heating vents on the floor. Phoebe pounced on it, thinking it was a lovely new toy. Thankfully she is always very gentle with her toys, so it came to no harm. In fact, when we left The Grange I had to throw out her very first puppy toy, worn and frayed from being carried about and nibbled, but not damaged or torn even after ten years. Good girl!
Before I knew it we were nearing the ferry crossing for Unst, I had thought of going further north on Yell, as the ferry is only about three quarters of the way up the island, but as we drew near I could see the ferry boat churning across towards us, and decided to make the crossing and hope that over the next days the weather improves then I can enjoy Yell more on the way back. There is not much pleasure in exploring when the weather is against you, and when I return I can continue on a circular trip round the island. I must say until today I have been very lucky with the weather considering the time of year and how far north I am as you can see from the blue skies in many of the photos.
Below is a photo of the approach to Unst with a floating shed for the attached salmon farm, looking a bit like a Noah's Ark, but with only one type of creature, which didn't need saving from the flood anyway!
My Lovely Top
Embroidered in Gold
map of Shetland
Kind Lady -
The Old Haa built by merchants in the 17th Century,
the Archway pictured below was where the original roadway lead down to the shore. You can just glimpse Thebus behind, I don't think he would have fit through that one - its definitely Sheltand Pony Packhorse size
The White Wife of Otterswick
though taken on a nicer day than I had