The bus came at 7h40, it had room for just two more people, us. From the junction it was another large bus full of sullen people. I presume this is because they had to go to work. It reminds me of the time when I had to take the early train to get to trade school when I was an appy. The mood in that train was very similar.
Took up a campsite and went to town to organise a car. That wasn't as easy as we had thought, the first place had run out of cars. At the second place we were greeted with 'we have no cars', only after we pointed out that we only need it the next day could we be helped.
What was this all about? We decided that because there is so much to see and the buses don't easily get us to all these places, we shall in one day zip around the islands and see everything.
We also went to the tourist office for them to draw up a plan for us. The advice is that we should go to Yell, the northern most island. That involves two crossings by ferry, it is important to book the return trip since otherwise we could get stranded for the night.
The visit to town was concluded by having lunch in some caféwhere they charged me 90p (R10) for a little bit of coleslaw that I wanted extra with my sandwiches. I'm not going to go there again.
Going back we took a walk around the Knap (a bit of coast line), this took us direct to the Safeway supermarket. I went on a binge. After coffee I had a soft serve, followed later in the camp by rhubarb yoghurt and a whole tin of black cherries.
We also had a look at a Broch, a prehistoric fortification from around 500 B.C. It used to be a heap of rubble, but in 1850 it was put back together again. Jim thinks it was a Boy Scout project, he doesn't belief it was done very authentically. After the binge we went for a shower and I fell asleep. At 18h00 back into town again to look at the docks and the ships and to get some fish and chips for Jim. That mission had to be abandoned when we couldn't find a place where one can sit and have the fish and chips.
So back to the campsite and hamburger and chips in the Fitness Centre café.
Up, breakfast, Jim went to fetch the car and I packed the tent. Straight up the road to the ferry over to Yell. Didn't fit on the first ferry and were first on the next one. Fortunately because of the heavy traffic they were not running to a schedule, they just went back and forth as speedily as possible.
On Yell we booked our return journey to make sure we get off the islands the same day still. With this certainty giving us peace of mind we drove to the northern end of Yell to catch the ferry to Unst. First stop was some fortified house (ruin), one gets a key and a torch and walks around the ruin that had been build by some Lord in the 16th century. He somehow didn't live in peace with his neighbour, that's why it was a fortified house.
An attempt to walk to a sandy beach failed because we had misjudged the distance and gave up.
We now had four in the car, two Dutch hitchhikers joined us to go north. At Haroldwick we found a café and it was lunchtime. It has tables and chairs, all the machinery and ingredients to make café and tea, and a microwave to heat up pies and pizza available in the shop. And when done you wash up your cups and saucers and put them back in the shelf. It is the most northerly café of Britain.
From here up to the view point which is also the place where one finds the radar station, placed to defend Nato's northern borders. There was a sign which said 'access for authorised persons only'. Being tourists we thought that this makes us authorised. And we were right, nobody came to bother us and we had vies to both sides of the island. The weather by the way was perfect, we had sun the whole day. From here over to the bird sanctuary. We had no intention to walk around , just looked at the display in the visitors centre and were off again to some kirk. We dropped our guests at THE BUSSTOP. It's the best-decorated bus shelter in the world, see www.unstbushelter.shetland.co.uk
Pushing on to Lundi Kirk, some old church (a ruin, like so many old buildings in Britain) at which some hanseatic traders are said to be buried. It's a graveyard still in use, very beautiful surrounding and a sandy beach below. We walked the length of it (~300m) and than made our way back to the ferry. We actually made an earlier one, it gave us another 2&fract12; hours to kill on Yell.
We aimed for the site of a broch, it meant parking the car in the middle of the veld and walking some distance, more than we had anticipated. Only Jim made it all the way and reported a few stones laying in heaps. Now, what is a Broch? It goes back 2000 years or so. In those days some of the inhabitants were living in these things. It looks like the Brochs acted as house and as watchtower. Taking a detour along the east coast we made it to the ferry with 20 minutes to spare.
Now straight to Lerwick into the fastest Fish and Chips shop I have ever set foot in. We both ordered Haggis and Chips and were out of the shop in less than one minute.
Finally down south to the camping place near Southpunds for a hot shower, which only comes after putting 20p into the slot.
We had a bit of time and first stopped at Jarlshof, a well-known site of ancient ruins covering all phases of Shetlandish history. But they wanted £3.30 and we didn't have much time, so we were not prepared to fork out the money. The gate was still closed anyway.
But we found another site of ruins which we could visit free of charge. The dig and reconstruction is still going on there. Two of the brochs had been rebuild to a certain extend giving us an insight into how people used to live in these houses. And now we are sitting in the airport, the flight has been delayed, there is too much mist around and aircraft's can't land. Very strange, one would think that this is a nearly daily problem and the aircraft used on this route would be equipped with the necessary instrumentation.
And now it is 20h20 and we are sitting in the tent parked near the airport. The whole day we listened to announcements ; 'it's coming (the plane from Edinburgh), it's trying to land, it's gone back to Kirkwall (Orkney) waiting for the weather to clear.
To no avail, at 19h30 the flight was cancelled and we got a booking for 12h00 the next day.
They didn't offer us any meal vouchers, no accommodation, nothing. It is BA's new cost saving exercise.
The flight was supposed to be at 12h00. It is now 13h06 and still nothing in sight. But there is a promise that they will put us on the ferry to Aberdeen tonight if there is no plane. Let's wait and see what happens.
There is a problem, the cafeteria doesn't serve any lunch today, yesterday they had a hot lunch and I didn't take it because it costs £4.50. Today I am prepared to pay the price and I can't have it. Life is not fair.
And thus it passed, the fog never lifted and we were transferred to the ferry. This will be a 12-hour float on the Hrossey of the North Link line. BA has provided us with meal vouchers for dinner and breakfast. In Aberdeen they will decide on how to get us to Edinburgh.
And so it was, a taxi took us back to Lerwick and dropped us at the ferry terminal. With still some time at hand we walked over to the supermarket to see whether Jim can get a 'Telegraph', fat chance, this is Sunday.
About ½ hour to go we received our boarding cards and made ourselves comfortable on the boat. That was keeping in mind that we will have to spend the night on it and thus will have to find a place where we can kip. Soon after take-off we made our way to the restaurant for cashing in one of our coupons, that was £10 for dinner. The cashier called us the 'refugees from British Airways'. I made sure I had enough on my tray to make it up to £10, I actually managed £9.95. That was with roast beef, coffee and some cake.
There was a film show, one of them was the latest Harry Potter, I would have loved to see it, but not at £4.50.
It was time to bed down, I slept on the floor behind the tables in the aft lounge, using my hiking boots as a pillow. I survived the night and managed to get up early and got to breakfast just as they opened at 5h00. We had £5 for this, I managed £6.50 and had the works, bacon, fried eggs, tomatoes etc. But this is already the next day.
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