01 June 2014

Mousa, Shetland

On the Wednesday, the forecast was fair and the wind was calm so we decided to take the boat trip to the island of Mousa, off the east coast of the mainland. It is an uninhabited island, a RSPB Bird Reserve, which in the summer hosts a large population of storm petrels  (alamooties in the Shetland dialect), that nest in the walls of the neolithic broch on the island. The loch is often the breeding site of red-necked grebes which are rare in the UK, the beaches to nesting arctic and common terns....terns are amongst the most graceful of birds, with beautiful long forked tails and a distinctive cry.

Boats at the departure point....

Seals on the pier....

Our transport to Moosa - lovely boat, friendly crew, fun crossing - but no dolphin  or whale spots! The boat trip allows for about 3 hours on the island, plenty time to wander round the southern end of the island. 

This is the view from the pier on Mousa to the broch. This is the best preserved birch in the world, built over 2000 years ago and 13 metres tall. Imagine a 2000-year old building that you can still go inside and climb to the top....can you see the people at the bottom of the tower - giving a little perspective on the scale. 

Inside the broch - you climb the stairs between the outer and inner wall to get to the roof. This is the only broch where you can do this. Considering it is made of dry-stane construction (no mortar) it is amazing it is still standing - testament to the quality of the construction.

On top of the broch looking back to the mainland. Not the biggest fan of heights I didn't manage to stay up there for too long.

Looking to the beach on the far side of the island.

The loch on Mousa on a beautiful spring day.

Shags sitting on the rocks.

After we returned from Mousa we drove to East Burra and to Red Houss Gallery where I was hoping to buy some jewellery direct from the maker. The gallery is part of the Shetland Craft Trail. I have coveted his Fair Isle inspired silver jewellery since I first saw it last year and I decided I was buying some this time. I bought a brooch with a number of small silver sheds, acid etched with fair isle patterns. I also bought one for my mum. I think I would also like to order a necklace with a sea urchin on it - just because I love the Shetland name for a sea urchin - a scaddymansheid!

After traversing East Burra we headed to West Burra and the beach of 


Thimbleanna said...

Wow Di -- what an interesting day -- and it looks like your weather was perfect. I didn't know what a Broch was, but I've been to wikipedia and read about them. Thanks for the education!

ibb said...

Lovely photos. I need an escape of that kind. Nature, just nature...

Bethany Hissong said...

2,000 years is really old! Your photos are so beautiful of the area. I also looked at the jewelry-- no wonder you wanted a piece! I love them too. So creative. It sounds like a great place to see.

Karen S, Lykkefanten said...

I really must get to Shetland someday - hopefully soon.
I'd love to hike around and see all the wonderful sights.

That's the "problem" with your beautiful posts, they awaken the urge to travel a lot more than I do :)