Friday, 16 May 2014

The Most Northern Part of Scotland

The clouds and mist gave the Shetland Islands a perfect mysterious appearance. Just in time the pilot arrived and shortly after the pass-control we could visit the nice little capital Lerwick. It was founded in1806 and today it is modern town with a big hospital, different schools and all possibilities of leisure activities.

In the afternoon we started our excursions and again the weather was perfect, partly clouded, no rain and little wind. One trip was to the famous historical site “Jarlshof” and the other a visit of the Quendale Mill. Both excursions gave us a good impression of the wide and treeless landscape. The main professions are agriculture and fishing. There are several places where we saw the cut peat which are traditionally used for heating. Although we expected to see many Shetland ponies we were told that there are only 1000 of them on the islands. A small number compared to the sheep, they are 300.000, more than ten times the number of the human inhabitants.
We stopped in Hoswick, a small village with two nice shops for knitwear, one offers more traditional sweaters and in the other more fashionable designed knitwear. But not everyone was interested in shopping and therefor preferred a short walk along the beach. There are beautiful sandy beaches on the islands and at one place we saw around 30 seals, the common seal and the grey seal, just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine

The Jarlshof is a remarkable archaeological site uncovered 1896 by a storm. The eldest ruins dated back to the Stone Age. During the 6000 to 7000 years all settlers lived at this place therefor we saw ruins from the Bronze Age, the Vikings and from the late Middle Age.
The trip to the Quendale Mill gave us the chance to see many birds like puffins, guillemots or razor bills. We also had the opportunity to visit the eldest lighthouse built by Robert Stevenson in 1821.

For the rest of our stay in Lerwick we took the chance to stroll around through small streets and enjoy the different views on the harbor. We left Lerwick at 8 pm and are now heading directly to the Orkney Islands. Some of the crew showed us in the late evening how to carve funny figures out of ice or fruits.