MARINA AT SKELD
Marina had recommended the Marina at Skeld, as a good spot to stay, and it was. Within a short time of pulling up a nice lady who was one of the volunteers looking after the site for visiting campers popped down to see I would be ok and show me how everything worked. It is a beautiful habour with working and pleasure boats, and a hide to watch the wildlife - lots of otters and seals. I didn't see any otters, but within a few minutes of parking Thebus on the waters edge a cheeky seal face appeared not far away in the harbour waters, giving Thebus a really good looking over, a boy again I am sure, and blow me if about ten minutes later four or five other small faces appeared for a look as well. I reckon he had gone back to the girls and said, hey – come and have a look at this big stripy thing. Having sussed us out although I saw them fishing and swimming in the harbour, they didnt come close again.
Something must have happened with the camera, as for some reason the photos of the marina haven't come out, but I spent a lovely peaceful few days.
There are lots of excellent photos on their website
I was waiting there for the knitting group who meet Wednesdays intending to catch up with Marina who goes to that class as well as the Lady's Craft Circle at Braewick. I had a happy evening with them all again. The quality of the knitwear they produce is outstanding, I must see if I can get Marina to get some photos for me, especially of the Shetland Lace shawls, knitted from one ply and fine enough to pass through a wedding ring.
While we were there with all the ladies knitting and nattering and the heater roaring, and the echos in the hall Marina was chatting to me, and I sometimes find it hard to pick up the words in the Shetland dialect. Earlier in the week when she and I went to the hall for the Up Helly Aa Squads Entertainments she introduced me to what seemed like everyone there, and everytime she said This is Sue - Sne's driving that big stripy bus - then with a knowing turn of the head and twinkle in the eye added - She's looking for a Viking. Which of course caused much hilarity. So when at the Skeld hall she turned to me and said - I'll taak ya oop to Nesting. Yo'll maybe sae an otter. Over the clatter and chatter of the hall I thought she said - Yo'll maybe haae an offer. Which of course had us both in stitches when I realised my mishearing.
I needed to go to a Post Office somewhere and asking where the nearest was it turned out that the lady who ran the class also ran a Post Office in the conservatory of her house and I said I would pop round, though there was great doubt as to whether Thebus would fit down the roads.
Whilst waiting the sun shone and Phoebe had a sheepskin outside and dozed in the sun while I gave Thebus a good spring clean, as the bright sunshine really showed up any bits which needed cleaning. There had been some winter damage at the Marina moorings and a group of men were busy making good. Suddenly a young lad came excitedly running down the steep hill yelling with pleasure at being out of school. Of course Phoebe thought that looked great fun and with a few huge barks bounded over in his direction. The lad, running to greet his Dad who was working with the men on the marina repairs, now started shrieking in earnest, his shrieks of joy turned to shrieks of anguish, and running even faster, which was, of course, not fast enough to outrun Phoebe he headed for the safety of his Dad. All this only took a few seconds before I realized what was happening and called her back, told her off, then took her to apologize to the now tearful lad. The upshot is that now I have a lead which attaches to the outside of Thebus, so if Phoebe is lying in the sun she won't be able to run up to anyone, what ever size they may be.
The boy turned out to be the grandson of the lady who looked after the marina, and apparently he had been hassling his parents endlessly about wanting a dog, which they were resisting, so maybe the experience will at least give them some respite from his importuning. I said to tell him that I knew of a place they could get another one just like Phoebe! Though I must admit when he patted her he was smiling through his tearfulness.
Having given Thebus a good once over inside the problem was that even though I cleaned the insides of the windows he hadn’t been washed outside since before leaving for Burn's Night back in January, and we have done quite a few miles in some strange conditions - from snow and sleet to salt seaspray. So thinking the men being locals may know somewhere who would give him a hose down I wandered over. The upshot was that someone would bring a power washer, and before I left he was washed and polished and shining both inside and out, and I had clear view all round again.
Feeling brave – perhaps too brave as it turned out – I headed to Westerwick, described in the tourist brochures as one of Shetlands most exquisite bays. I fondly imagined a wide expanse of white sand. It was stunning, but more in a steeply sided and dramatically rocky way. We made it to the steep little carpark and managed to turn without scraping Wretched Rack too much, The photos were taken into the sun so don’t do it justice, and also don't give and idea of how very steep it is down to the bay. Of course I couldn’t get down to the beach, but it would have been a wonderful place to explore.
Having escaped from the tight and very slopey carpark and the narrow bridge on the bend, the next much vaunted beaches seemed to be Silwick and Cullivoe. I don't know if I missed the turn or what, but I ended up at what I afterwards learned was the postman's house with an even tighter turn for us. I gave it one more chance and having ended up in another dead end though very slightly larger, and feeling in serious need of Crunchies I called it a day on beach seeking in this area and turned in the opposite direction to see another marked tourist spot being an old chapel near Sands.
This way I really did pass some fabulous, expansive views in the sunshine, but St Mary's Chapel was where I was headed, and St, Mary's Chapel was where I was going. We turned towards our destination and a church was signed so thinking it might be the one I headed down. Halfway along I hesitated as the road ahead started looking very narrow. The house I had stopped outside had its doors open to the spring sunshine, so I thought I would take the opportunity of knocking and asking what happened to the road further on, and if I was on the right road for the Kirk. Imagine my surprise when it was Mavis from the Lady's Craft Circle who came to the door. Their lovely bungalow looked out over the water to where I had been driving down from the viewpoint, and seeing Thebus she had causally remarked to her husband wondering if it was me driving, and next minute there I was knocking at the door!
I was headed for the wrong kirk anyway, so having met Phoebe and Thebus they put me right for the road, and we were off again. Within a few minutes someone was driving behind me, so I pulled over to let them pass and it was Mavis' husband. He had come to warn me that they had suddenly thought the road ahead had a sharp bend with stone walls, and it might have been too tight for me, and in fact the chapel was a ruin with only an arch left, so I was hardly missing much. Another show of Shetland kindness. Thinking I had enough tight spots for one day I turned back towards Skeld, but couldn’t resist pulling in to a wide layby overlooking what I think was Sell Voe where, amazingly I could access the internet as well, so spent a happy afternoon in the sunshine with the beauty of the bay just in front of me
Once again, when I look at the photos it is such a pale imitiation of the view that was before me, that I really feel like taking the photos off, but perhaps it might give a flavour of what I am experiencing here. But you can hardly see the splendour of the islands in the foreground and the range of hills in the background. But I would need a five mile wide screen to show it on properly!