Sunday, 26 September 2010

Fetlar part 2

Woke to a lovely morning, had breafast and washed dishes (yes, Mum, in the sea!!!!!). Then I headed up to the campsite for toilets and shower. I know that seems a bit cheeky when I wans't staying there - but the tourist leaflet clearly says the public toilets are at the pier and campsite. And I paid for the shower. The campsite continued to underwhelm me - a lot of dead insects and the shower door wouldn't close - it was jamming and I was worried about getting stuck in it!! Luckily the place was deserted! Had noticed yesterday that in the campsite toilets the toilet paper was completely jammed in the holder and wouldn't come out and the paper towel container was totally empty. Later on in the day today I called past there again and the floor had been mopped so someone obviously cleans and keeps an eye on things - but the toilet paper was still jammed (to the extent of being unusable) and there were still no paper towels!!

Fetlar has a lot to learn about how to cater for tourists (more on that subject later...)

 Mark & Heather setting off on their paddle

Anyway, I headed back down to Tresta to give Heather a lift when she dropped off the car at the end of the headland they were going to paddle round. I was going to go a walk so had a look at the leaflet, then Mark said theyd take me out a short paddle when they got in - may be straight across about 1km to Hascosay island. So I decided to maybe go for a short walk then meet Mark and Heather and go for a short paddle.

I went down to the Interpretive Centre first - the Fetlar leaflet (produced by the centre!!!!) says it has free wireless internet access. I asked in the centre - no free access, you pay. I asked about wifi - the guy had no idea what I was talking about. So the free wireless internet is neither free nor wireless...... hmmm, this to me pretty much sums up Fetlar. Also called (in their own leaflets!) the 'garden of Shetland' - well it's certainly not greener than anywhere else, doesn't seem to have a greater profusion of wildflowers and apart from the red necked phalaropes (we didn't see any) had no other rarer birds than the other islands. Hmmmm.

Fetlar *is* a nice island, just don't go believing everything you read about it or you'll be sadly disappointed. Another Fetlar high point was that the very well advertised cafe is shut until further notice!!!! This caught out Mark and Heather yesterday, as did the fact that the shop was closed so they couldn't get any fresh food (luckily they were well stocked with other food and I had onions and peppers to spare.)

Anyway, back to the Interpretive Centre.... The guy was helpful and just charged £1 for me to use the very slow laptop and get online to check the weather forecast for Mark and Heather as they're thinking of paddling to Out Skerries. They can't get weather forecasts easily here due to the lack of mobile phone signal!! The Interpretive centre was excellent, very interesting, and I spent about an hour there then headed back to the loch. The mist (which I'd seen coming in a bit earlier) had really rolled in by now and there was no chance of seeing much in the way of scenery. I again saw 2 red throated divers on the loch and then walked to the bird hide, quite a nice area but didn't see any birds! The wee book for recording what you see showed that the previous day someone had also seen 2 red throated divers on the loch and nothing from the hide also!

When I got back to the car the mist was really quite thick, need the car lights on for sure! Headed to the shop. Not overly impressed with it either (suppose I should have expected that really by now). Was looking for cold juice to take down to meet Heather & Mark - they were going to get some cans for paddling but the shop was closed all day yesterday and not open till 11am today  Anyway, I'd given them my cartons of fruit juice to take so decided to get some cold cans and more wee cartons of fruit juice. No luck - the shop had neither! The fruit & veg was extremely tired and wrinkled looking, so I bought a packet of fruit pastels as I didn't like to go out empty handed and there really didn't seem to be anything else worth buying!

I headed off to Brough Lodge and had a good look round the outside (you're not allowed in). It's an interesting building, a real hodge-podge of styles. Went up to the folly too - very strange as I couldn't see where the stairs would have been. It was built as a folly (he built other follies on Fetlar too) but was used as an observatory for a while too, so there must have been some way of getting to the upstair room.

Old boat on the shore below Brough Lodge.

Looking down from the folly I spotted 2 kayaks, so headed back down to the wee pier and fantastic old boat to meet them.

Do Shetland ponies like chocolate?

I went out paddling with Mark (in his boat as I'd been in it before and he felt it would be slightly more stable for me than Heather's Sirius). We didn't go to Hascosay as the mist was right down so paddled up the coast to the pier instead and Heather went to explore Brough Lodge then drove to meet us. A nice paddle and got some coaching on forward paddling from Mark which I think will help my wrists (need to build up shoulder muscles though...) It was a bit windy and quite choppy in places, especially near the end. I'm quite pleased with how I did considering, only a few twinges from my wrists until near the end when I got quite a few more! But managed ok - and considering that was 2 days in a row and I hadn't paddled for such a long time I was really pleased.

We saw the ferry coming as we were nearly in and had to paddle the last bit quite fast to get out of the way in plenty time. Looked at the time and realised the ferry was leaving in around 15 mins. Decision time - the next ferry is not for another 2 hours - can we find something to do for 2 hours in Fetlar? No? As Mark put it "Escape from Fetlar...." :-) So we did a very quick shuttle to get my car, got changed and into the ferry queue with about 5 mins to spare!!

We arrived in Yell about 4pm feeling really quite light headed and spaced. Ah - none of us has had any lunch, lack of food would explain it! So we all went to the Wind Dog cafe. I had another really good baked tattie - an expensive one this time - a whole £4 :-) Again no frills food, no wee side salad or even a slice of tomato, but good, basic, tasty and cheap - apart from Heather's cake which was supposed to be crispy but was actually soggy!

At this point we headed in different directions, Mark and Heather headed for the Mid Yell shop to stock up on food (unlike the Fetlar shop, the Mid Yell one is extremely well stocked) shop then are making their way to Whalsay. I'm headed for Lerwick then Westings campsite, then hopfully Noss tomorrow.....

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