What SUP Safari of Scotland would be complete without a stand up paddleboarding session in Shetland?
After our side trip to Glasgow we quickly found our way back to the very north coast of Scotland ready to catch the ferry to Orkney. This time we caught Alfred the catamaran to St Margarets Hope which was the only one that had availability at late notice. As Harmony was too tall to go under the deck we back on to the ferry. This usually causes a bought of performance anxiety in most drivers, myself included! Luckily SUP Bloke is driving reverses on like the professional driver that he is. I suppose that when you can back a B Double tip truck so that its rear end is sitting next to the drivers cab to enable the front tipper to unload, backing a wee camper is pretty easy!
Its always funny hearing the car alarms going off as there is bound to be someone who’s forgotten to disarm them for the ride. It sounds like the cars are protesting the trip!! Meanwhile our well behaved Harmony is enjoying the ride – ok she’s a bit old for a car alarm or keyless entry for that matter.
We spent a couple of days enjoying one of the nicest park ups we’ve found on a quiet sandy beach. We had a couple of days before the next part of our trip, catching the overnight ferry from Kirkwall to Lerwick, Shetland. We decided to forego the expense of a cabin on board the ferry and chose sleeping pods. They are the equivalent to business class seats on a plane and the room was kept nicely dark and quiet.
The next morning we were startled with the instant contrast of daylight as we leave our pods. At this time of year Shetland has almost no darkness at night. We drove off the ferry into a stunningly sunny morning! We headed down the coast to suss out some of the beaches. St Ninians Isle was at the top of my list for potential SUPertunities.
While it is a pretty windy place we found that one of the bays at St Ninians was slightly more sheltered than the other and were out on our boards in no time! There are so many birds in Shetland, we were paddling away and noticed some tiny wee birds dive bombing into the water to do a bit of fishing. They didn’t seem to notice us at all!
Jarlshof is a great place to visit for the history buffs. The site is rich in historic buildings from over the last 4000 years. There are Bronze Age houses, an Iron Age broch and wheelhouses, Norse long houses, a medieval farmstead, and a laird’s house dating from the 1500s.
The Sumburgh head lighthouse is the most southerly point of the Shetland Islands and it turns out a great place to spot puffins. I really wanted to see a puffin – they seem such unlikely birds, almost like a penguin that can fly.
The next day we catch the Mousa Boat to visit Mousa Broch. There is a walk around the island you can do which takes just under an hour depending on your speed. Mousa Broch is another place that I have wanted to visit for a long time – ever since I discovered that it was the only almost entire Broch in the world.
A quick wee tour of the rest of Mainland and we come across Scalloway Castle one of only 2 castles on Shetland, some more colourful Scandinavian style houses and more idyllic beaches. Shetland certainly has some spectacular scenery and we’ve only just covered one island!
Join us next week as we head north to the islands of Yell and Unst.
If you’d like to follow our travels on YouTube you can watch the latest episode here
If you missed part one of our SUP Safari Scotland to the Isle of Arran you can read about it here.