It’s a hell of a long way to Unst. Central London to Gatwick; Gatwick to Aberdeen; Aberdeen to Lerwick; Lerwick to Unst, via Yell and two ferries. We can report that the Shetlands were wreathed in the same mist and rain that sat over Gatwick on Saturday morning. So we didn’t really see much of our surroundings until Sunday morning, when the cloud had started to lift from the smooth, treeless green slopes.
By Sunday evening, the sun was shining on Muckle Flugga, the wind had dropped, the fulmers were scattered across a blue sky…and the midges were having a field day.
In between, we had our first taste of the most northerly diving in the UK. The aforementioned MF proved ‘interesting’. Not just for its walls carpeted in plumose and jewel anemones, spattered with the occasional bright orange cushion star; the dogfish that prowled and the nudibranchs that lurked (unseen for some of us). But for the weird and wonderful currents, which, combined with the surge at 20m, made for a somewhat disorienting experience. For one of the team, that experience almost made her ‘do the double’, as she swept off towards Outstack (next stop the Arctic?). This is serious stuff.
In the afternoon, we motored round to North Holms, where the sun shone on the westerly walls and lit up millions of tiny baby fish and prawns, and also alighted on the biggest lobster Nick and Elaine have ever seen.
The return trip in the golden sunlight, accompanied by thousands of wild birds, felt like a real privilege. Can’t wait for day 2!