The first stop was a posh B&B in Berwick-upon-Tweed, an interesting place with a defensive wall around the town centre. The next morning, we set off to Aberdeen to catch the overnight ferry to Shetland. We woke up the next morning at 7am as we were sailing into Lerwick, and spent the rest of the day exploring the mainland, in particular Sumburgh Head, which was teeming with puffins. Here we also saw a pod of killer whales, sadly the only ones we were to see all holiday.
We then spent two days kayaking with Angus, Catriona and Wendy of Sea Kayak Shetland. Angus's knowledge of the area and its wildlife was fascinating, and he even provided soup and sandwiches! The first day we paddled off the east coast of the mainland to escape the high winds coming from the west, and explored all the sea caves, intricate cliffs and stacks around there. This had to be the best way to see the birdlife - in particular, shags and fulmars nesting in the cliffs. The shags were particularly funny, with several fully grown juveniles sharing tiny precarious nests with both parents. The second day the winds had subsided and we paddled around Vementry off the west coast. The seas were mainly quite calm, though the west of Vementry had some interesting swell coming in from the Atlantic and bouncing back off the cliffs. It was all over too quickly, and we'll definitely do some more kayaking there when we go back to Shetland.
We then spent a few days at the Spa on the island of Bressay, where we were the only guests, which seemed odd. It was pleasant though, and although we failed to get to Noss due to bad weather, we did get to see gannets fishing, and even saw a Red Throated Diver and a Golden Plover, both quite rare. Swiss bird spotters have their uses!