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Puffins, planes and pre-historic settlements

sunny
View Year of the Nink on Buccas's travel map.

Thursday morning rolled around and we rolled into Lerwick. Even though the boat docked at 7am, passengers were permitted to remain onboard and consume breakfast until 9.30am. How very civilised!
We enjoyed our reasonably priced continental breakfast buffet looking out at Lerwick harbour, which was sparkling in the sun. We made our way into town and onto bus 6, which took us on a delightfully scenic trip down the island to Toab, just up the hill from Sumburgh airport. Fifty minutes on the bus gave us time to appreciate the rolling hills, treeless horizons and grey buildings so reminiscent of Orkney. Dotted in amongst all that were many Nordic, brightly coloured wooden houses that cheered the place up no end. Red and blue were the dominant colours which suited Simon and I just fine.
On arrival in Toab, we met Louise and three rather talkative spaniels. Ebony, Fleur and Jarvis quickly became accustomed to us and were keen to show us around one of their favourite beaches. Even though the sun was still shining brightly, I wasn't quite tempted to join Ebony and Jarvis for their dip in the North Sea. Louise took us up to Sumburgh Head to see the lighthouse, but we had eyes only for the puffins. Puffins! Puffins everywhere! It was captivating to just stand by the cliffs and watch the seabirds wheeling overhead, surfing the breeze and trying to find somewhere sheltered to rest. Magical. Apologies to the non-puffin seabirds - you were great too, but the puffins were my favourite.
From there we walked back to Toab, across the runway... as you do. Apparently Sumburgh and Gibraltar airports are the only two in the world where you can actually cross the runway. And even though I am a seasoned runway walker (Portland, Burnie, King Island, etc) it was still somewhat surreal to wait at the gates until the Flybe plane had roared off before crossing the road.
We joined Louise for a brief around the southern mainland which included a trip to the vet for booster shots, a trip to Tesco for groceries and a trip to SSE to pick Oliver up from work.
Thus oriented to Shetland, we returned home for slow-cooked goulash and Strayan red wine (Yellowtail's Jammy Red Roo was excellent value for money and complemented the goulash perfectly). Louise and James departed for their cadet camp on Friday, and we managed to convince the dogs that we were acceptable substitutes by taking them for a walk to the boat club and back through town, all the while enjoying the plane and wildlife spotting opportunities that Shetland presented.
We had a completely wild and uncontrollable Friday night - Merlyn cream liquer (on special at Tesco's, couldn't resist) and crying with laughter at Michael McIntyre, TaskMaster and The Last Leg. Almost made it worth missing out on seeing Dan Sultan on Play School back home. Almost.
On Saturday, Oliver departed early in the morning and so we decided to do a post-breakfast trip to another beach, this time allowing the dogs to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. As you do. The sun was still out when we got home, so we promptly left again and went to Jarlshof - a Historic Scotland site, and therefore our free entertainment for the day. Jarlshof contained structural remains from Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Norse, Medieval and recent times. And by 'recent' they mean 17th century. Of course. The weather held out and the fog stayed away, so we happily wandered around the brochs and wheel houses and laird's house and enjoyed the coastal views. All that learning of stuff and things was quite tiring, so we stopped at the conveniently located Sumburgh Hotel for a bite to eat. The Hotel was quite a majestic building exuding castle-type vibes, set against the backdrop of a lighthouse and a laird's house. There was an unfortunate growth on its frontside though - an accommodation block built in the 60s I would assume. But inside, the food was hearty, the staff friendly and the beer room-temperature. Which I still can't quite adjust to, but at least the Irn-bru was cold!
And now the sun still shines - despite warnings from all and sundry, and a saying that Shetland has 9 months of winter and 3 months of bad weather. The forecast for tomorrow looks less promising though... we shall see what happens in the morning.

Posted by Buccas 08:07 Archived in Scotland

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