Arrived! North Roe, and a stunningly beautiful day. One of the warmest I have encountered in Shetland and still May! What a fulfilling, enjoyable experience this walk has been. I’m totally hooked and this will continue to be part of my art practice for as long as I am able. I have to give a huge big thank you to the tea man, as I couldn’t have done this without him, xx
Having already walked five hours in the Relay for Life (a totally inspiring fund raiser for cancer research) -partly last night and partly this morning, I was all limbered up and ready to go. No hat needed, nor thermals, nor a jacket – just shorts and a t-shirt. Wind negligible, full sun and blue skies. Decided to go off-road around the Ness of Housetter, crossing the ayre to Lochend from the coast. So took off from the Brig at Collafirth and crossed over the fences carefully avoiding the proliferation of wild flowers – kidney vetch, violets, spring squill, thrift, and orchids to name but a few. Also great to watch the tirricks, they seem to like the lochs and shingle beaches around Lochend and North Roe.
I was unaware of the haas around this area, but the one at Lochend has a superb end of the road location, really glad I took this little diversion.
I have been to the ‘Big Bannock’ a few times, but it has always been that busy with cars and caravans that I have never fully appreciated the community as an entity apart from the ‘rotavator dukes of Hazard’. Neighbours must have found it a little hard to keep up with the Joneses with a Potez 840 parked at the side of one of the newer houses. Then at the road end, …. no Shetland yowes here, Alpacas roam the field lazily scratching their wool-like coats, probably feeling quite at home. Interesting place!
Also a big thank you to the very nice Shetland lady who lives at the last croft who after enquiring what I was doing and hearing about my early morning walk, made a kind donation to cancer research.
Junction at Sandy Lochs to the pier at the Brig, North Collafirth.
I was hoping the weather would be like yesterday, despite being cold in the shade, warm in the bright May sunshine. Well it was dry today, but not a drop of sun until I finished – then it came out. Still, it wasn’t too windy, about a force 2 but really nippy.
I really enjoyed this walk, after a hectic week trying to finish off my research essay, teach and empty my front bedroom to make into a sitting room/studio, it was such a relief to get out in the fresh air. I always felt Ronas hill overshadowed Collafirth, but it didn’t feel like that at all today. It has been quite a while since I was last in Ollaberry, so there have been a few changes – such as the shop. It has either relocated or there is a new one.
I will have to take a better camera with me next time, although my little Lumix Panasonic has been a real little gem, it is not much cop for macro images. Still for a camera that pops in my pocket and is easy to operate, it will take some beating. Roll on next week!
Sadly I didn’t manage a walk this Sunday as I had a rotter of a Migraine. Could not have chosen a better day for one - due to the atrocious weather! Can’t wait till next week though …….
Not sure what happened to my pictures from last week, I did post them but they seem to have disappeared into the ether, my administrator seems to be having problems too!
Sullom/Nibbon junction to Sandy Lochs (junction before Eela Water).
OK day, supposed to be showery, but ended up sunny all the way. Northerly force 4-ish wind, pretty cold, so back on with the hat.
Thought I would go down the Gunnister road and cross the burn over the hill to Enisfirth and back onto the main road up to Sandy Lochs. This worked well, my tea man and I examined the Gunnister man’s ‘grave stone’ erected by the Northmavine history group. The recent reconstruction and exhibition of the Gunnister Man’s clothes and pocessions by the Shetland Museum, along with potential reasons for his demise, gave some resonance to the stone that marked his grave.
I really like this area , the old crofts make you wonder about life before the clearances, and the old mills up the Gunnister burn and the outlines of the old rigs suggest hills planted with crops other than sheep. Still there is nothing so cute as newly born lambs, and the crofter was clearly pretty busy checking his new stock. I was really enjoying this walk, but despite a reviving cup of tea, after joining the main road – walking into the wind and up a hill made me feel unusually tired, so I was glad to see the car, and quite happy with a slightly shorter walk.
Amused at the variety of ditch art. These installations are beautifully arranged along the road ditches (by Punds Water and on), there are some iconic red cans but most are of a more contemporary design. I think the Redd-up is due!
From Mavis Grind to Sullom/Nibbon junction.
Brilliant day and a good weather forecast, supposedly about 5 degrees, started with a few clouds and lengthy spells of sunshine with fairly light winds, although on top of those hills it was quite breezy with some cuttingly cold winds. I was therefore glad to have worn my warmest jumper.
My first walk with company all the way. It was really fine to have a friend along to share my walk, and it certainly gave a different dynamic to the sensory experience. I didn’t draw or sketch this time due to the freezing wind and the lack of shelter, but I still managed to take plenty of photos for my records.
Maybe it was the light, but the Sullom Voe terminal seemed quite distant and tucked away. Perhaps with the issue of the wind turbines being so ‘visible’ to everyone due to their enormous size and number, as well as the potential disruption to the landscape and people, suddenly the terminal seemed pretty tame by comparison.
Sullom is a lot prettier than I remember, but the last time I drove through it was November, teeming with rain and quite dark. This time, with the sun shining, the rivers and lochs reflecting the deep azure sky, the birds chorusing and that lovely feeling of spring (the daffodils still standing upright), it was just perfect.
I encountered the best piece of installation art for a while.
Installation art is sometimes an acquired taste, it is something like jazz, you have to spend quite a time with it and learning about it if you want to appreciate the more contemporary pieces, and even then (just like jazz), it is often the more the participatory element from the artist’s point of view, rather than an audience angled experience. For example Shetland’s own ‘Improvisers orchestra’ can be a little hard to grasp as it is principally a mixture of a social and musical interaction – a dialogue between musicians that allows for chaos and occasional bursts of communication. To the non-participant however, it could be described as just a noise. For the performer it is sheer fun with no explicit rules and this can be translated to the audience. Sometimes.
Humour is often the key to the most successful installation art pieces. The normal questions still apply. What! Why! How? When. Where.
This exhibition is displayed on the road past Mavis Grind. It is a temporary installation with the themes of recycling and deconstruction and decomposition. It consists of a series of pieces, and there is an implicit suggestion you can add a piece of your own, presumably as an audience participatory event this exhibition will grow. To add your own piece you will need a hammer and nail. At the moment it consists of eight pieces, and the audience is invited to ponder ideas such as ownership, loss, memory, and place. Such issues such as exploitation of third world workers by multi-national companies, dementia, as well as a variety of ecological, environmental issues make the exhibition a deeply thought provoking experience.
Don’t dis installation art, visit North Mavin and enjoy this event.