Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The return journey

Got back to Lerwick about 10 past 3, so headed off to Tesco to stock up on fruit and veg. No point having to go to Kirkwall tomorrow just for shopping - and it'll be packed as it's County Show. Then went to Scoop and filled my new little cool bag (£3 in Tescos) with nice food like flavoured ice cream that I can't get at home!! Fingers crossed it's still ok when I get home...... (it was!! Hooray!) Wrapped the cool bag in my big fleece and towel to give it extra layers of insulation, then off to the ferry.

The ferry check in seems to be quite a mess and not well planned at all, the worst I've seen anywhere in Scotland! You have to block the main road waiting to get round, then the queue was so far back the security guy had to send folk along another wee road to join the queue there, then the roundabout at the bottom was also totally blocked by the queue. Took forever (about 45 mins) to get checked in - and that was only the first part, that wasn't getting onboard - that was only getting as far as the correct queue - Kirkwall or Aberdeen! They pack the Aberdeen bit of the boat first - the far away half as you drive in. Then the Kirkwall vehicles all go in and as many as poss turn to face back out the way they've just come (as in Kirkwall it's not drive through).

The crossing was fairly calm (a lot more so than last time!) and nice and clear - if a little dark and grey. So pretty clear views of Bressay, Noss all the way down past Mousa and Sumburgh - and then Fair Isle.

 Leaving Lerwick

 Bressay and Noss

 Sumburgh Head

First view of Fair Isle....

I stayed out on the ferry (cold!!) for 2 1/2 hours to get the views of Fair Isle. What I didn't know was that as the ferry got closer they would make an announcement...... Well they didn't do that last time I was on the ferry in June!

It's been a brilliant holiday, better than expected. Really enjoyed the camping - and coped with it all on my own better than I thought I would. Really pleased. Also done it all quite cheaply (comparatively speaking, obviously getting to Shetland is not cheap!!) As I was camping all the accommodation was cheap,  and the internal ferries are cheap, miles and miles cheaper than Orkney! They're also miles nicer than Orkney's ones... and miles better than the Northlink ones too. At least the Shetland ferries have clean toilets with toilet paper in them!!!

Comfy seating, tables at a sensible height...

... and a kids play area.

And no annoying TVs on the *whole* time with nowhere (inside) to escape from them.....

Can't believe how much I packed in to a short time - without really rushing until the last day when I did have to rush round Noss a bit, because I was clock-watching for the evening Northlink ferry. I wouldn't have beieved it was possible to see so much in such a short time, and to keep enjoying it all so much. I thought that Eshaness and Muckle Flugga couldn't be beaten. Well they weren't - they have to be the most stunning views (out of St Kilda) that I can think of right now - but the amazing experiences kept coming after that too with the wild camping on Fetlar, Whalsay which was so unexpected, the otter and then the gannets. Wow!!!!

I'd definitely recommend Shetland as a place to visit to anyone who likes wild places.

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