To the Shetland Islands, days 38 to 41

From to Kirkwall to Lerwick, June 19 to 22.

Our last full day in the Orkney Islands was good riding and visiting historic sites. Settlements in the Orkneys date back to 3500 BC. We did a loop of the main island that took us to the Ring of Brodgar, an old circle of stones, like Stonehenge, but smaller stones, and to Skara Brae, the remains of a very old settlement.

The next day we kicked around town, went to a great play in the evening and boarded the 11:45pm overnight ferry to the Shetland Islands. We chatted with the Swiss cyclists we keep running into and slept well in our cozy cabin.

We arrived in Lerwick to wet, cloudy and windy weather. After leaving our bags at the B & B, we set off for a ride south. About an hour later we abandoned that idea: too wet, cold, windy and foggy. We could not see anything and in the hills the fog was dense and we feared for our safety on the highway. Back to a comfy cafe and walking around town. Dinner at a faded local hotel was straight out of the comedy series Fawlty Towers. The staff was young and untrained; mistakes and poor service were the order of the day. To top it off, a group of eight French hikers arrived. Their meal must have confirmed everything they had heard about dining in the UK.

Today the wind was howling again, but it wasn’t raining. We took the bus to Sumburgh at the shouthmost end of the Shetlands and walked the two kilometers or so to Sumburgh Head to see the bird sanctuary and lighthouse. We saw puffins for the first time and all sorts of other nesting sea birds.

Tomorrow we have part of the day here in Lerwick before we take the overnight ferry to Aberdeen. Thursday we fly to Norway.

Photos, starting in the Orkney Islands, then the Shetland Islands:

9 thoughts on “To the Shetland Islands, days 38 to 41”

  1. Just remember that Myra was a member of that Faulty Towers staff many years ago .Not much has changed. Neither weather nor service!
    Enjoy the land of the other part of my heritage…..Norway.
    Wish I was with you …Malcolm

    • Good point, Malcolm. It is interesting to see the Norwegian influence in Scotland, particularly in the Shetlands–housing, street names, etc. Logical of course, since they are neighbours and through history, but considering they’re separated by a cold, rough sea I still find it amazing.

  2. Hi Roy and Inge,
    In dutch: Wat zien jullie veel. Fantastisch. Helaas zit het weer niet mee, maar in Holland is het ook herfst.
    Ik heb bewondering voor jullie sportieve prestatie. Nog veel fietsplezier gewenst en ook straks in Noorwegen.

    • Het was koud in het ‘hoge noorden’. Vanochtend in Aberdeen aangekomen–bewolkt maar aanzienlijk warmer.

  3. Amazing stone formations and historic dwellings. I would have loved the “Faulty Towers” experience. What fun you’re having, in spite of some cold, wet, rainy, hilly, windy conditions. Carry on bravely!


  4. HI!

    Certainly an adventurous trek you are on. Not much chance of sunburn I suspect. So many fascinating archaeological digs in that part of the world. One wonders how they survived in those surroundings. Hopefully, Norway will be just as interesting. (We are suffering from heat and drought!)


    • Yes, thinking that people live in the Orkneys and Shetland 5000 years ago is quite amazing. A hardy bunch!

Comments are closed.