In August we set off for Unst to join our Shetland friends on their annual paddlefest for a couple of days, based in Uyea at the Gardiesfauld Hostel. After a comfortable journey north overnight we stocked up on provisions in Lerwick. As we drove north kayaks on cars became more and more common on the roads, until the final ferry queue consisted almost entirely of paddlers and cars stuffed with gear and paddle kit.
After setting up tents we went for a leisurely paddle around Uyeasound and the uninhabited island of Uyea. We undertook the customary sheep rescue, a common occurrence in the Northern Isles.
The following day I went with a group from Northwick to Balta Sound via Balta Isle.
The beach at Northwick.
There was a spectacular coastline and lots of rocky outcrops to dodge and choose routes between. Occasionally a rocky face seemed to materialise.
We stopped on a bouldery beach which turned out to be a Viking soapstone quarry, complete with real live Viking.
Into the eye sockets of a drowned troll...
We crossed to the island of Balta and stopped on its beautiful beach amid the remnants of theherring stations. The crumbling piers gave a clue to the scale of activity and boats that used to frequent the now idyllic island.
This little blue boat felt quite at home.
Looking down on the beach and north, back at where we had come from.
The back of Balta looks interesting.
I'll need to come back and do that another year.
Every birthday celebration should include a cowboy,
somewhere to shelter,
Each night we were treated to a fantastic spread of food in the community hall. We enjoyed slide shows and the Regatta dance on the Saturday night.
I look forward to many happy returns.
Living in the North Isles ourselves we understand the importance of using time in ferry queues usefully and the importance of keeping oneself amused.
In Shetland the means to do this is provided in the form of boat shaped musical instruments.
View Shetland paddles in a larger map