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Walking in Cumbria and Beyond

Photographing Puffins

Photographing Puffins


When I left Oxenholme Station at 9am I did not realise that by 6pm I would be walking along bird bedecked cliffs and enjoying the company of puffins.

I am now a little further north yet again. This time in Shetland, the most Northerly of the inhabited UK Isles. It was a remarkably easy journey. Train from Oxenholme to Edinburgh, bus link to the airport and a hop over on a propeller plane. Landing in across the sea and the perimeter road was, lets say, interesting. I was met at the airport by Caroline, my companion for the week, who had already picked up the car and apartment keys so we could make an immediate start on checking out what the Isles have to offer.


Unsurprisingly there is a Cierone book of walks on Shetland and there is one which starts conveniently close to Sumburgh airport at the prehistoric site of Jarlshof. The walk follows the western coast south to Sumburgh Light House and then the Eastern seaboard back to the start.


Our start was delayed by a rather heavy shower, something I think we might have to get used to, but meant we called in a the hotel, also at the start, and were advised by some very friendly islanders which were the best walks in our Cicerone guide.


We eventually trudged off across some fields towards the lighthouse, a map was not going to be necessary, hastily moving to the rocks on the shore when we realised there was a pretty awesome bull in the field. I suspect he was more interested in his hareme than us, but.

The path rises up with the cliffs to the lighthouse and we realised why the guides indicated time for a 2.5mile walk was 4 hours. This is the site of the Sumburgh Nature Reserve and there are hundreds of guillemots, razorbills, kittywakes and the magical little puffins. Just wonderful entertainment.


The sun dodging the rain clouds added atmosphere to the horizon and views across the island. If this first afternoon is indicative of the rest of Shetland there are a great many reasons to travel this far north.

Look here for books on Shetland.

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