Shetland Diaries - Day 3

I woke up to a patch of blue letting sunlight grace the green hills across the loch and got ready to visit the golf course again. I shouldn't have bothered; in 5-minutes it was pouring down, rain whipping against the chalet window.

I decided to go instead in search of breakfast. Whalsay on a Sunday morning was even quieter and that’s saying something. I really wonder how people get by in such a temperamental climate. They surely must spend most of their time in ‘da hoose’. I saw only one or two walkers, ladies striding out before retreating back to the shelter of their cosy house. Someone else was trying to hang out washing in a Sou'wester and oilskins, the wind whipping the clothes dry in short shrift. What did they do all day? Admittedly we’d caught Whalsay on a particularly bad weekend. But they seemed happy enough. The young lads we met in the Oot Ower Lounge were hearty and hugely friendly. Maybe being millionaires helps!

Chinese for breakfast - not your bacon and eggs.

Chinese for breakfast - not your bacon and eggs.

As I roamed in search of a bit of breakfast, I discovered neither of the two shops on the island was open which meant we had nothing to eat. You don’t realise how reliant we’ve become on 24-hour supermarkets or the corner Spar. None of these is available here so it was just as well there were some Chinese leftovers, not the ideal breakfast let me assure you but if needs must...

We had another night booked in the Oot Ower accommodation but I decided it was time to leave. It maybe hadn’t worked out as I’d hoped but the most northerly golf course in Britain hasn’t seen the last of me yet and I’ll definitely get back for one of their events.

We caught the ferry back to the ‘mainland’ and drove north rather relentlessly hoping to find something to cheer ourselves up. It is an issue in a place like this that poor weather and the stark terrain can challenge your otherwise sunny disposition. We were looking for a break and the next island of Yell didn’t seem to be providing it! It seemed even more bleak and barren than the mainland! I had a friend from our initial sojourn to these islands back in the student days living in Yell and as we drove along the east coast single track road from Burravoe to Otterswick, I stopped to ask a jogger if she knew her. “Peanuts,” (that was her nickname back then and apparently still is today). “Oh yes, she lives in Mid Yell”. It’s great how everyone knows one another on these islands, or so it seems. It was getting late so I decided I’d contact Peanuts on our way back south in a couple of days.

We trundled on, me thinking we could sleep in the van at the ferry port but Ewan insisted we get the next ferry to the island of Unst, the most northerly of Shetland's main islands and the last outpost of the British Isles. On we went and sure enough the skies brightened and Unst seemed to be welcoming us with open arms. We noticed a sign for a camping and youth hostel so turned down towards the shore. Gardiesfauld Youth Hostel in the hamlet of Uyeasound has several hard stands for vans and one was free. I felt like Goldilocks finally finding a place to sleep.