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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Finally, Fetlar and Friday

Finally, Fetlar and Friday


Almost the last Shetland post – I am back home now but there was one last Island, Fetlar and a few more steps along the glorious Spiggie Bay on the SW mainland.




Fetlar is a tiny Island, only 4 miles at its longest point. From Lerwick 40 miles or so and two ferry crossings. But more blue skies and fabulous coastlines.


Obligatory coffee stop at the cafe/post office/shop began our visit. We had discovered that even the buildings are multitasking in the Islands. Then, following the trusty Cicerone Guide yet again, we parked by Funzie Loch. There is a small RSPB reserve here but all was quiet.  The little sightings book indicated the presence of red necked divers and phalarope the previous day.


From the loch, we headed up the moor towards the coast, never far away. Having now become used to the sight of Great Skuas drifting over head we ignored their presence at first, taking more notice of the diminutive Golden Plovers running across the track.


A short walk to the peak put most of the small island in sight and we walked down towards another crystal clear loch where either frogs or toads were holding their own choral practice.


Totally innocent of the fact we were heading straight through the Skua’s nursery until they began to defend their patch. Thankfully a little arm waving is enough to prevent them making contact and as soon as we were off ‘territory’ a leisurely lunch could be enjoyed.


The coast unfurled its usual surprises of unexpected bays, dramatic drops, shapes and chasms.

Tiny lochs abound on the tops and there was a lone pair of red necked divers, a couple of dots across the water but entertaining non the less. They have an unusual habit of almost rolling over on their backs to preen.

Leaving the divers in peace we wandered back to the car. The paths are very unclear as they are not well used, the occasional blue marker shows the way but generally it is a case of trudging across spongy peat and heather. At the beginning of the week we were rather concerned about straying off a route but after a few conversations with the friendly local people we established that as long as we respected wildlife, farm animals, closed gates etc, there would be no shotgun touting landowner.


Ferries from Fetlar are not so frequent as from the bigger islands and having missed one at 15.05 we had an hour and a half to wait, giving time to explore an area around the Urie ferry terminal which has had lots of otter sightings. There were plenty of holts, but all occupants were indoors or out at sea.


So, finally, Friday and the return. As we were not leaving until the 3.45 flight to Edinburgh there was time to visit Spiggie. Another loch and more white sand beaches and blue skies. The water all along the coast is so wonderfully clear and we met a diver, human this time, Jeremy Pierce, who posted some pictures he took from the bay on my Facebook page.



There was just one last thing to do before we hit the airport and reality. A visit to the RSPB reserve at Sumburgh and the most photogenic and obliging subject, puffins.


Good bye Shetland. 

To see more puffin pics and Shetland photos click here.  Books on Shetland here, and our trusty Cicerone Guide here.

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