Sunday, 17 October 2010

Whalsay ahoy!

It's Thursday morning so I'm headed off to Whalsay. Hadn't really considered visiting it previously - but Mark and Heather mentioned it. They hadn't really remembered Fetlar existed until I mentioned it to them either! I had a nice drive up but tried to go the scenic, coastal route through South Nesting and found a closed road (landslide) so had to retrace. Caught the ferry by the skin of my teeth at Lund and had a lovely journey to Whalsay, very scenic, a fairly clear day too. Met the couple from Yorkshire who'd been camped next to me in Eshaness on the ferry and had a nice chat with them. They had ended up wild camping on Fetlar too as hadn't lked the look of the campsite!!

Arrived in Whalsay - lovely harbour with fishing boats (including largest ones in UK) - much different from all the other piers which are just ferry terminals really. First folk I saw were Mark and Heather!! They'd wild camped last night (slightly strange campsite here by a pub which is only open weekends, the campsite water was turned off...) - they saw an otter from the tent - was pretty dark and they were half asleep - but still, what an amazing sighting. Jealous, moi????

Mark, Heather and I went to the Haseatic Booth museum - had to get the large, old-fashioned, metal keys from the shop. The booth was used for trading with Germans of the Hansa trading league - very interesting history and nicely restored, and still has its pulley system for unloading boats and taking the goods straight in to the store (and presumably for loading boats too!)

Then they headed off for a swim (sports centre, not the sea!) and food, and then they're planning (assuming the weather stays good) to paddle to Out Skerries. I went a drive about Whalsay. Lovely island, very friendly, everyone waves to you, whether they/you are driving or walking - it reminds me very much of Westray. Also there is a fantastic shop, that reminds me of Westray too. The shop is much better than shops on other islands, is better stocked (sells *everything*) and also the fruit and veg is fresh!

Saw a lot of planticruebs (also seen it spelt as plantiecrub). Nice views to the other islands too - and finally saw Out Skerries. It's very low lying - and is apparently the easternmost inhabited point of Scotland ( UK?). Found the northernmost golf course in the UK too - left the car just near it and went the walk shown on the board - but in my usual style ended up following a sheep track and going way too far and having to cut back across the moor! Was a lovely walk anyway (about 2 1/2 hours) with great views.

Out Skerries viewed across the golf course

Plenty of signs of otter activity ... but sadly, no otters were spotted (by me!!)

Drove back down the island a bit, then saw Kirk Ness - the wee island with the kirk on it where Mark and Heather camped and saw their otter. Walked round it - just in case..... although I think it's really much more likely to see otters later in the evening or very early morning.

Drove round the other road, again getting lovely views. This is a really nice island. Then back to the harbour (Symbister). Went to the shop, it's amazing - got some stuff I can't get at home - like capers and red thai paste. Then stuck the car in the queue for the ferry (first in unbooked, so hopefully no problem getting on...) and spent the half hour or so until it was due taking some photos around the harbour and marina.

The ferry arriving

Got on the ferry no bother - great views of the other isles and skerries from it. Nice view of Noss - maybe I'll make it there tomorrow yet....

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