Unst, Shetland, Scotland. Day 30, 28th July 2013.
Not far from Muness Castle, this is Eyea Breck or Clivocast Standing Stone, around ten feet high. According to local legend, it marks the spot where a son of the Viking King Harold Harfager (or Harold Fairhair) died around 900AD and he is buried nearby. When Harold became King of all Norway, many of his opponents fled to other lands including Shetland, Orkney, the Faeroes and Iceland. His son probably died in one of the battles subduing a rebel lord. I don’t know the name of the son and Harold had around twenty. However, the stone is of course Neolithic and probably four to five thousand years old.
Here, on the side of the road, a bus shelter doubling as a charming community art gallery.
Near Haroldswick, close to the northern end of Unst, a recreated Viking longhouse.
.. and next to it, a replica Viking galley. I can’t find the reference now but I recall reading that a crew rowed it from Norway and had intended to row further but ended up abandoning it here.
As you can see on the deck, it is starting to rain.
Not the easiest of vessels to steer I would surmise.
A little further on, the ruins of a church beside the road.
This was my intended destination, Hermaness Nature Reserve, and you can see the Visitor Centre in the distance. By now the rain was quite constant.
I had hoped to go for a walk and catch a glimpse of Muckle Flugga, a picturesque group of rocks with a Stevenson lighthouse on top, at the northernmost tip of the Shetlands. I had raingear, a raincover for my pack and one for my camera. However, at the Visitors Centre there were signs warning against going for a walk in the rain wearing rain gear. Someone in the last few years had fallen over on the path in the rain and slid on the smooth grassy surface over the edge of a cliff. So I desisted and turned back. It may have been just as well because I still had a long way to drive to return to Sumburgh at the south end of Mainland, where I was staying that night prior to a flight the next morning.
The drive from the top of Unst to the bottom of Mainland is a voyage across Unst, Yell and Mainland together with two ferry rides. This is the Ness of Sound, an “island” connected by a tombolo to the south western coast of Yell.
Here is an interesting sight next morning, on the plane to Aberdeen. An image of the plane, created by the sun and layers of clouds like a giant camera obscura, and surrounded by a rainbow.
References for Shetland:
- Jill Slee Blackadder: Shetland
- Robin Holmes: The Holiday Planning guide to Shetland
- David W Moore: The Other British Isles
- Undiscovered Scotland .