Shetland December 2014

After rather too long a gap, I did finally get to spend a little bit of time taking pictures on Shetland before the Christmas holidays kicked in.

As you might expect at this time of year Shetland provided every sort of weather.

From snow at the start of the week, just enough to make the wee roads slithery.

Snow at Hays Dock, Lerwick

Big waves mid-week, big enough to make the bays look interesting but not enough to scare the planes.

Sunshine and Waves at Scat Ness
Waves breaking over Runway 09 at Sumburgh Airport
And lots of heavy rain showers later in the week, with the added bonus of lots of rainbows (even some doubles)

Waves and Rainbows - Quendale Bay
Shetland also provided not-much in the way of daylight.  In late December, on Shetland, sunrise is a bit after 9:00 AM, and sunset a bit before 3:00 PM.  Fitting in a morning walk and an afternoon walk (with lunch in between) becomes a bit of a challenge particularly if you’re trying to avoid wandering back along the beach in the afternoon darkness.  One of the bonuses is that in lighting terms (at least between 9 and 3, between the showers), it's always the 'golden hour', the sun never gets far above the horizon so the sunlight is always at a lovely low angle.

Low sunlight on Ocean Endeavour - Victoria Pier, Lerwick
The weather did do a bit to add some variety to the travel schedules.  On a couple of days the north-bound boat from Aberdeen only made it as far as Orkney, and some big thunderstorms (combined with snow – makes the lightning flashes even more dramatic) made landings at Sumburgh Airport a little bit entertaining.  My arriving plane did the fairly normal for Shetland (but still slightly unsettling) sideways approach down the runway, before turning straight just before touchdown to the accompaniment of lightning flashes.  Another plane coming in from Aberdeen was hit by lighting as it approached Sumburgh, and opted to turn round and head back to Aberdeen rather than trying again. This year at least the disruption to the boats wasn’t enough to force the supermarkets to charter cargo flights to provide emergency sprouts and turkeys for the folks of Shetland as has happened in the past.

The one climate-enabled spectacle that didn't put in an appearance while I was there were the Merrie Dancers (the Northern Lights). They did appear 24 hours after I left – maybe I’ll get to see them next month.

There are a few more pictures from this visit to Shetland on Flickr.

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