On the Beaches, Shetland July 2016

My latest trip was a bit like the one at the start of May  - but travel was rather smoother!

Quendale Beach

I decided not to risk Megabus again - this time deciding that it was marginally safer grappling with British Airways, Loganair and the holidaying masses at Heathrow so that I could make the most of yet another Bank Holiday(Scottish calendar) weekend on the beaches of southern Shetland.

My travel plans were not (significantly) disrupted by the crowds and by lunchtime I was on Shetland - total travel time about six hours, marginally better than the 40 hours that the last journey North required (it did cost a but more, but had the bonus of a British Airways cooked breakfast to sustain me en route).

And although it wasn't part of any master plan, when I look back through the pictures for this weekend and for my May weekend I find that I've done pretty much the same things.

I spent time wandering on Scat Ness (always a good way to get back in touch with Shetland), time wandering along West Voe and up to Sumburgh Head (getting reacquainted with the puffins) and time walking out along Quendale Beach and out onto Garths Ness.

Scat Ness

Looking rather calmer than on other visits.  There are sometimes a few puffins on Scat Ness, but not this weekend - plenty of fat and fluffy fulmar chicks (no sign of them fledging) plus some slightly sinister-looking shags.

Brei Geo, Scat Ness
Horse Island, Scat Ness
Young Fulmar, waiting for another meal
Shags in silhouette

West Voe & Sumburgh Head

In late July, this is a splendid place to see black guillemots (the other guillemots and razorbills have already abandoned the nest sites and headed out to sea for the winter)

Black Guillemots (locally called tysties) on West Voe of Sumburgh

Puffins, Sumbugh Head

Quendale & Garths Ness

The beaches at the south end of Shetland are always changing shape as the winds and tides pick up and redeposit sand.  And the lambs have certainly changed since I saw them wobbling around at the start of May.

Quendale Beach
Siggar Ness from Garths Ness
Bigger - but still curious
Garths Ness, LORAN station

Crossing Cultures?

On visits to Arctic Canada and to Greenland I remember seeing lots of inuksuks - don't remember seeing one on Shetland before.

Shetland inuksuk? West Voe Beach

What did I miss?

The only downside to my weekend at the south end - the orca that had been performing (apparently on request) at the south end just before I arrived had clearly caught up with all the easy-to-catch seals and had headed off up to the north end of Shetland to see if the pickings were better there. May be they'll be back down south later in the month, when I'm back again!

No comments: