Monthly Report, January 2024

It's always good to be able to start the year with a long stay on Shetland, but a winter month on Shetland is very often a reminder out how much the weather can dominate daily life on an island where nothing is more than three miles from the sea.

But first some numbers.

Reporting Days: 31

Location: Mostly Shetland

Distance Walked: 240 km

Distance Driven: 2080 km 

Photographs Taken: Thousands (mostly beaches, waves and snowdrifts)

The Calm Days

When the weather is calm and dry, it's good to be able to spend the short winter days on the headlands and beaches - and sometimes the guillemots (always the first auk to reappear on the cliffs) will hang out on the stacks.

Calm days on Scat Ness

Guillemots at Sumburgh Head

Early Afternoon Sunset on Quendale Beach

The Snow Days

Every winter brings a few snow days to Shetland - and the normal pattern is for the snow to fall and then melt within a few hours.  Not this year, a spell of bitterly cold weather meant that for almost a week the snow fell on a regular basis and just didn't melt, and when the wild picked up, developed into some very spectacular but inconvenient snow drifts!

Snow on Garths Ness and Fitful Head

Snow on Quendale Beach 

White Out


The Wild Days

And eventually the snow did melt, but the winds built up and stayed.  The ferries didn't run and leaving the house was often classified as a high risk sport. 

High Water on Quendale Beach

Big Waves on Scat Ness

Big Waves and Big Seas on Scat Ness

Next Month - Mostly Oxford but with an Italian theme.