The Shetland Islands lie 600 miles north of London and are only about 200 miles from the coast of Norway. They are as far North as St Petersburg in Russia & Anchorage in Alaska. There are over a hundred islands but only about 15 are inhabited. The largest of these is the Mainland & Lerwick is the main centre with ferry & airport connections. What I hadn't realised was that the Shetland & Orkney islands were part of Norway until the 15th Century.
So we set sail for Shetland in early September but sadly our day on Shetland didn't bring good weather. It was overcast but the rain held off for a couple of hours. Our first stop was for photos of the lovely Rerwick Beach.
The beaches on Shetland are amazing & there are lots of them! Such beautiful sand, gorgeous shades of blue & turquoise that had nothing to do with the reflection of the sky, you can watch seals swimming and they're deserted. You can just see on in the first photo but there were lots of them just cruising around.
Next stop was an amazing archaeological site of Jarlshoff. There are Bronze Age houses, Iron Age broch & wheelhouses, Viking long houses, farmstead & a 16th Century laird's house.
This is the laird Patrick Stuart's house and what a view he must have had from his bedroom windows. The photograph before this one shows what a magnificent beach it overlooks.
It was amazing to see all these settlements built on top of each other from the different ages. What really surprised me is how people can just tramp around them. Not sure how much damage is done by tourists. I tried to make sure I kept to the grass even though it was slippy.
Unfortunately by this time it was raining heavily & it was really cold. So off we go to our next stop via the airport.
Here we are on the bus waiting for the lights to change to let us cross the runway after a plane had landed!
Next stop was to see the Shetland ponies. My daughter Claire asked me to make sure I took photos of the Shetland ponies!
Unfortunately the rain didn't make them too interested in posing for our cameras bless them.
For lunch we headed into Lerwick & by then it was absolutely tipping down. With another knitting fan I opted out of lunch and headed for the Shetland wool shop Jamiesons! It was fantastic, all the colours of the rainbow & more, in all the types of wool. I found a lovely shawl pattern & had great difficulty choosing the colour from such a wonderful range.
No that's not me sadly!
I also bought a Shade card, quite expensive at £8 but I knew I would want to buy more wool later. The lady in the shop told me it was more expensive to buy the wool elsewhere & she was right, it certainly is. Might have to make a trip back to the shop next year. Meanwhile I'll just have to drool over the shade card, it was a very good buy!
Our next stop was the Scalloway Museum where there is a lot of very interesting information. I hadn't come across the story of the Shetland Bus before & it was really moving.
The Shetland Bus was a Shetland based special boat operation that took place during World War 11. In 1940 the German forces occupied Norway which led to a stream of refugees heading west. Most of these landed in Shetland. Many successful missions were carried out using the small fishing cutters that had brought the Norwegian refugees to Shetland. They landed agents, radio sets & ammunition & returned with refugees.
Model of the M/K Arthur, one of the boats used in the Shetland Bus Operation.
Most of the boats used were only between 50 & 70 ft long but they were operating in some of the roughest seas in the world in winter to cover the 200 miles east from Shetland to Norway. Many lives were lost in heavy seas or enemy action and the operation was due to be cancelled but the US Navy provided 3 fast sub chasers. They were well armed & fast & from November 1943 they carried on the same kind of operations that the fishing boats had done and without no further loss of life.
If you want to find out more about the operation the Scalloway Museum has a good website, The Shetland Bus.
We also visited the Shetland Museum & a really lovely silver jewellery design company which I haven't recorded.
Have to say I was surprised at how much there was to see on Shetland never mind the wool! Lovely scenery & beaches, great museums to research the history & culture of the islands, brilliant arts & crafts and lots of sporting activities. Far too much to see in one day! Need to go back again.