The Shetlands, Mainland (South) 7th August 2012

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.

Commercial Road, Lerwick (P1000393 © DY of jtdytravels)

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?

Lerwick port    (P1000398 © DY of jtdytravels)

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.

Rugged scenery is all around (P1000427 © DY of jtdytravels)

After breakfast, we headed off on a South Mainland excursion where we enjoyed seeing some more of the rugged coastline.

Sheer cliffs provide sea birds with nesting sites (P1000449 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Rhinanthus sp.  Rattlepod (P1000435 © DY of jtdytravels)

There are no prizes for guessing how this lovely wildflower got it’s name!

These Shetland ponies were very interested in the driver’s offerings
(P1000439 © DY of jtdytravels

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.

Old wooden boats at the Shetland Museum (P1000462 © DY of jtdytravels)

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

The Shetlands, Lerwick, 5th August 2012

The next stop on my Viking Islands Adventure was the Shetland Islands. For the next three days our small group of intrepid adventurers from Australia, would swell The Shetlands total population of 22,500, by six.

Flying over the fields on our approach, it was obvious how green everything was and how rugged some of the coast line was.

Green, green fields and rocky, rocky cliffs    (P1000203 © DY of jtdytravels)

The Shetlands is a sub-Arctic archipelago consisting of about 100 islands but only 16 of them are inhabited.  The archipelago has an oceanic climate, moderated by the Gulf Stream.  It’s usually windy and cloudy with at least 2mm of rain falling on more than 250 days of the year.  Fog is common during summer due to the cooling effect of the sea on mild southerly airflows.  Overcast days are therefore common. Due to coastal currents, Lerwick doesn’t experience extreme temperatures.  The highest temperature ever recorded was just 23.4º C in July 1991. And the lowest was -8.9º in January 1952 and in 1959.

Dull grey stone buildings in Lerwick   (P1000222 © DY of jtdytravels)

Our home away from home whilst in The Shetlands was to be Lerwick, the capital, a town of 7,220 inhabitants.   Until 1708, Scalloway, on the west coast, was the capital but that small town now has less than 1,000 residents.

I found Lerwick to be much the same as any other Scottish town, a bit grey and dull looking. There’s not a lot of colour used on buildings here to cheer the often overcast days… and there are plenty of those. Lerwick averages only 1,065 hours of sunshine a year – that’s, on average, 2.9 hours of sunshine a day. Now if we compare that with my home town of Canberra, we enjoy a  mean daily average of 7.6 hours and that jumps up to about 9 hours a day during summer. I’m used to sunshine! But I wouldn’t find it here.

However, we were to go out to the countryside exploring and I knew that the flowers and bird life would more than make up for any dullness in the buildings in Lerwick. And I was right.

Oyster Catchers   (P1000218 © DY of jtdytravels)

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A bright pink Campion, Silene   (P1000226 © DY of jtdytravels)

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Cheery little faces of Bellis perennis   (P1000257 © DY of jtdytravels)

There was indeed much beauty to be enjoyed as we explored the islands.  More of that anon  D

Photography © DY of jtdytravels

Shetland Islands, Lerwick, 5th August 2012

The next stop on my Viking Islands Adventure was the Shetland Islands. For the next three days our small group of intrepid adventurers from Australia, would swell The Shetlands total population of 22,500, by six.

Flying over the fields on our approach, it was obvious how green everything was and how rugged some of the coast line was.

Green, green fields and rocky, rocky cliffs    (P1000203 © DY of jtdytravels)

The Shetlands is a sub-Arctic archipelago consisting of about 100 islands but only 16 of them are inhabited.  The archipelago has an oceanic climate, moderated by the Gulf Stream.  It’s usually windy and cloudy with at least 2mm of rain falling on more than 250 days of the year.  Fog is common during summer due to the cooling effect of the sea on mild southerly airflows.  Overcast days are therefore common. Due to coastal currents, Lerwick doesn’t experience extreme temperatures.  The highest temperature ever recorded was just 23.4º C in July 1991. And the lowest was -8.9º in January 1952 and in 1959.

Dull grey stone buildings in Lerwick   (P1000222 © DY of jtdytravels)

Our home away from home whilst in The Shetlands was to be Lerwick, the capital, a town of 7,220 inhabitants.   Until 1708, Scalloway, on the west coast, was the capital but that small town now has less than 1,000 residents.

I found Lerwick to be much the same as any other Scottish town, a bit grey and dull looking. There’s not a lot of colour used on buildings here to cheer the often overcast days… and there are plenty of those. Lerwick averages only 1,065 hours of sunshine a year – that’s, on average, 2.9 hours of sunshine a day. Now if we compare that with my home town of Canberra, we enjoy a  mean daily average of 7.6 hours and that jumps up to about 9 hours a day during summer. I’m used to sunshine! But I wouldn’t find it here.

However, we were to go out to the countryside exploring and I knew that the flowers and bird life would more than make up for any dullness in the buildings in Lerwick. And I was right.

Oyster Catchers   (P1000218 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

A bright pink Campion, Silene   (P1000226 © DY of jtdytravels)

.

Cheery little faces of Bellis perennis   (P1000257 © DY of jtdytravels)

There was indeed much beauty to be enjoyed as we explored the islands.  More of that anon  D

Photography © DY of jtdytravels