Monday, 1 August 2011

Out Skerries

Out Skerries (or just 'Skerries' as it's known locally) is to the northwest of the northeast of Shetland Mainland. It's an archiplego of three tiny islands, two of which are inhabited and connected by a very short bridge. The islands are reached by a ferry which docks in Bruray. There is a population of about 70 and a mile or so of roads. There are 2 shops, one of which operates as the post office, a primary and secondary school, a church and a community centre.

I camped near the pier on a grassy patch next to the shop. There is a toilet and a free hot shower by the pier so it was handy to be close by. On Sunday morning, after waving goodbye to the crew of The Spirit Dancer as it departed by early morning ferry, I went for my first walk of the day. I stuck to Bruray for this walk and headed out past the airstrip and the small loch and up on to the hill to get a good view of the lighthouse and the uninhabited island of Grunay.  There is a water viaduct going right round the island and I followed it for a while. It's not big and can't be seen from below; it looks more like a piece of guttering set into the ground. But it must have taken some work to install it. It was a beautiful sunny day with good views. I met Jill and Mutley sitting by a cairn at the top. On the way down I stopped to watch a seal and to take photos of jumping salmon in one of the several salmon farms. . It took me ages to get a half decent shot.

I went back to my tent to make lunch and  then sat on a stone by the harbour to eat it. I could have sat there all day, but I wanted to explore the bigger island of Housay. After chatting to a few people, including a couple with a 7 month old son and a small dog, and after an ice-cream from the shop, I set off on my afternoon walk.
I started out with Jill and Mutley and we crossed the bridge and walked to the island’s second shop and post office, but it was closed on a Sunday. We then headed up hill to find and old stone circle. This is known as The Battle Pund and is more of a rectangle than a circle. It's 13 metres across and is marked out by boulders dating from the Bronze Age. No-one knows what it was for. After this we parted company and I walked over most of the island only getting back at about 6.30pm. I walked to the far end of the island and came back via another fish farm and the small fish factory. I collected a lot of shells that had been dumped in what to future archaeologists will look like a midden. I drppped down to the church and small cemetery before heading back along the road.
On my way back to my tent I stopped to have a nosey around the school. It’s small but with decent sized classrooms. There seems to be a library and teacher’s area in a portacabin outside. The school looked really nice and had a playground at the front with swings and things and a vegetable garden at the back. It’s an eco-school as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment