Shetland And Orkney, June And July 2010

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22-27th June - Berwick, Mainland Shetland And Kayaking
22-27th June - Berwick, Mainland Shetland And Kayaking
28th June - Foula
28th June - Foula
29-30th June - Foula And Mousa
29-30th June - Foula And Mousa
1-2nd July - Yell And Unst
1-2nd July - Yell And Unst
3-5th July - Unst, Yell, Muckle Roe And Lerwick
3-5th July - Unst, Yell, Muckle Roe And Lerwick
6-7th July - Orkney
6-7th July - Orkney

29-30th June - Foula And Mousa

With the peaks in permanent cloud, the next day was spend on a flattish walk to Da Sneck O' Da Smallie, a big crack in one of the lower cliffs on the west of Foula. This involved walking across a moor containing thousands of Bonxies, and by the end of it, we had begun to like them. Their little ball of fluff chicks' defence is to sit still and hope not to be noticed by any intruders while the parents dive bomb from above. If the island had any foxes or other predators, they would surely go extinct.

Other birds encountered on this walk were terns (much more vicious than bonxies), curlews, puffins, shags (locally known as scarfs) and snipe, making eerie noises with their tail feathers. We also saw the alternative method of getting to and from Foula, the ferry. This tiny boat, captained by the husband of the B&B owner, has to be winched out of the water to protect it from the raging seas. It is possible to get a car onto it, apparently, but I imagine it'd be a bit precarious. It brings MOT failures over occasionally (they all are, there are no police), and the council comes along with a bigger boat a few times a year to take the really broken ones away again.

The next morning, we went to the airstrip for the flight home. The baggage was weighed by the fireman guessing the weight of each bag as he loaded it on, and the pilot decided we'd have to leave one of the 9 passengers behind due to the weight being "critical". We taxied past the end of the runway to get more of a run up, and we left the ground only a few metres before the gravelled surface ended - talk about cutting it fine! An engine failure just before this point would have been interesting, but maybe a little knowledge isn't a great thing in these circumstances. I expect the grass after the surfaced bit wasn't much rougher...

Next we visited Mousa and saw more birds and the tallest Iron Age Broch in the world, which is also one of the best preserved prehistoric buildings in Europe.

Debbie, Da Sneck O' Da Smallie, Foula Puffins, Foula Puffin And Sandeels, Foula Being Dive Bombed By A Bonxie, Foula Bonxies Look Friendly On The Ground Bonxie Chick, Foula Curlew, Foula Shag, Foula Gaada Stack, Foula Foula Ferry Winched Out Of The Water To Protect It From The Raging Sea Derelict House And Phone Box, Foula Britten Norman Islander Landing, Foula, Fire Engine In Background Family Of Five Shags In Too Small Nest, Mousa Debbie Outside Iron Age Broch, Mousa Debbie, Iron Age Broch, Mousa Debbie, Iron Age Broch, Mousa