Following our second event on Shetland, we opted for spending our free afternoon enjoying a drive around the islands. I needed some footage for our film of course, but mostly, I wanted to tick that second item off my list and see some puffins!
A trip down to the most southernly point on the mainland, Sumburgh, and the RSPB nature reserve gave me just that – and a big grin to go with some smashing photos! I caught my first glimpse on the walk up to the visitor centre, a small black and white bird with a flash of bright orange whistling through the sky. A top tip from the centre staff after a cup of tea and a slice of cake, meant we found their main nesting site.
You have to climb over a wall and along the top of a cliff so it’s not for everyone, but we enjoyed half an hour of watching the birds coming and going from their grassy burrows. Not quite a lifelong ambition fulfilled, but a pretty long-standing one.
The following day we decided to head to the most northerly point of Shetland, and the UK, on Unst. We ticked a few tourist sites off the list and then had a quick lunch at the ‘Final Checkpoint’, a packed and bustling shop which serves the local residents with food and drink, news and a bit of a blether. A vital resource.
The cliffs on the northern nature reserve were packed full of birds, mostly Skuas and Gannets, I couldn’t tell you what type of either. A walk long the cliffs and we finally saw ‘the full stop of Britain’, Out Stack, or Ootsta. It’s just a rock really, but a satisfying and picturesque landmark after a nice walk. Inevitably the one photo of ourselves that we took with Out Stack in the background where we got the dog to look the right way, was of course the one blurry photo we took. And the way back is uphill. Just sayin’.
I’m weary now and looking forward to a couple of days at home, via Newtonmore for another event, before flying to Orkney all by myself. Please don’t mention the words ‘propeller plane’.