I woke early to a bright and sunny morning, just like the last one – a bit of a rarity in these parts. Whilst others still slept, I decided to go for a walk into the town. A good decision.
The name Lerwick is an Old Norse word which means bay of clay. This is ‘new’ Lerwick. Much of the town was burned to the ground in 1702 by the French fleet… some war or other! But Lerwick goes back in history much further than that.
There ‘s evidence of habitation in the area dating back 3,000 years. The first settlement to be known as Lerwick was founded in the 17th century as a herring and white fish seaport to trade with the Dutch fishing fleet. The village was just a collection of old wooden huts that were burned to the ground in the 17th Century by the residents of Scalloway, the capital of the Shetlands at the time. Why? Because they didn’t like the drunken and immoral activities of the fishermen and sailors who lived there. Weren’t seaports ever thus?
Even today, the port of Lerwick is very important, a hub of activity that was just beginning as I wandered there exploring in the early morning.
After breakfast, we headed off on a South Mainland excursion where we enjoyed seeing some more of the rugged coastline.
There are no prizes for guessing how this lovely wildflower got it’s name!
The Shetland Islands are well known as the home of the small, shaggy Shetland Pony. This breed was first recorded in the Court Books of Shetland in 1603. For its size it is the strongest of all breeds of horse.
Back in town we visited the Shetland Museum. It contained a good collection of artefacts and photos… no photos to be taken by me though. Outside some wooden boats of the type common to the area, were beached.
And that’s where the day sort of petered out for me! While the others explored the town and/ or shopped, I caught up with rest, writing and reading. Since I had begun my day very early – the sun is up at some ungodly hour here in the northern hemisphere in summer – I had already explored the town and I did not need to shop! I’m not into retail therapy.
In the evening, after dinner, we were to be entertained by one of The Shetlands well known ‘story tellers’. But, unfortunately he died some time between being booked for the ‘gig’ and the evening in question. Someone else had been substituted, but I opted out of that one.
One of our small group had begun ‘pressing the wrong buttons’ for me. I know that doesn’t happen often with me, but sometimes…. So I was in ‘time on my own’ mood. Anyway, I wanted to download, check and sort my photos before we set off on the next leg of our Viking Island adventure, to The Orkney Islands. D