Shetland Isles 2009

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The Shetland Islands lie about 100 miles North of the Scottish mainland.  Although legally part of Scotland, the islanders tend to consider Scotland a foreign country.  Originally Norse, the islands became part of Scotland only when a 15th century Danish king pawned them to the Scottish king to cover his daughter's dowry.

We docked below the town clock, along with about 50 Norwegian yachts that had just finished the Bergen to Lerwick race.

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In the last few centuries BC, a pre-Viking people, that historians know relatively little about,  built numerous brochs in the Northern Islands

This one, on Mousa Island, about 10 miles South of Lerwick, is the best preserved.  It is about 13 metres high.  Notice the person on top.

The brochs seems to have been a kind of fortress/home, and are built entirely without cement or mortar.

We anchored a mile or so away and went for a closer look.

This drawing gives a better description than I can. 

We were impressed by the quality of the stonework.  As shown in the drawing, and the photo below, the walls are double, with a staircase between them.

There are various sleeping chambers.

There is a platform all round on top, like the battlements in castles of a later era.
Helen is standing on the floor of the inner chamber.

"windows" from some of the chambers in the double wall are visible.

Several of the many cliffs on the Shetland coast are home to colonies for sea-birds.  This small part of one on Noss Island give some idea of the numbers of birds.

Photo on left shows Barb Brown in our cockpit passing the Out Skerries lighthouse.

After a few days we left Lerwick for Norway in calm, hot weather. 

The cliffs of the Island of Bressay are behind us, showing one of the many natural arches we saw around Shetland cliffs.

Watson and Wiz Leslie, and Helen are in the photo

Later, we spent a couple of day on the island of Whalsay, on the way back South form Norway, where we hit regatta weekend.

They also ran a "daft-raft" race, so we built a raft from junk on shore and won second prize in it.  Most of the competitors were the age of our kids.

On Whalsay, there was some impressive racing in 20 - 25 knot winds by a fleet of very light and sophisticated Shetland 3-man dinghies.

Heading South from the Shetlands, we stopped for a day at Sumburgh Head, to dodge a gale.  This wee guy was standing quite happily on his rock in gale force winds.  We spent a day on Fair Isle again, where we lost count of the number of rock arches on the coast
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