Shetland Islands Anyone?

Old May 7th, 2017, 02:08 PM
  #21  
 
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Bookmarking...

We've been watching "Shetland" on Netflix and now have to visit there some day. It's a silly reason for choosing a place but the scenery on the show is amazing.

We loved Orkney Island and picked up a couple of silver rune pieces by Sheila Fleet.

https://sheilafleet.com/
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Old May 7th, 2017, 03:07 PM
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gruezi, The south lighthouse was not functioning as a B& B when I was there in 2012. Apparently ithat's new in the past couple of years. I had a look at their website and it looks great to me. Love the location and would probably book there if I was going.

You have certainly made me take another look at making the trip.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 12:17 PM
  #23  
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Sigh. If you all aren't tired of me...and if you are I totally understand.


I'm struggling. I went back and read the Highlands thread I posted last year and I've been on every hiking and "best islands of Scotland" website in the universe over the weekend and now I'm feeling overwhelmed and confused. (Yes, these are my problems, hee, hee.)

Here are my concerns:

I love islands and solitude and nature but I will be solo for this trip and if I get a few days of bad weather in a small and limited B&B or Inn it might get a bit depressing.

I'm wondering if I should look toward some more "traditional" islands such as Mull or Skye or even the Hebrides where at least I would find a nice meal and a larger selection of lodgings and perhaps a tad nicer lodging in case I am there all day or for a few days with my book.

OTOH, I don't want to end up someplace very crowded or not particularly beautiful because I'm too worried about the weather...

Please feel free to set me straight. I know I need to book lodgings and a flight pronto.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 01:19 PM
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In my experience, no where in Scotland is crowded the way I normally think of crowded, except perhaps Loch Ness - not an issue for you.

Skye is wonderful, but you will encounter those dreadful midges if you are out hiking. They really are a plague.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 02:00 PM
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Thanks Trophywife. Bugs really love me unfortunately.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 02:32 PM
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Sigh. If you all aren't tired of me...and if you are I totally understand.

Never.

It's sort of a philosophical question, so here's a long and waffle-y answer, solely personal.

Shetland is beautiful but in a very different way than Skye or Mull. It's not especially dramatic, aside from some (major) cliffs and rugged shorelines here and there, it's generally a low and fairly windswept and generally treeless landscape.

A story: Years ago I was a local government official working in the Aleutian region of Alaska as the CEO/COO for a couple of small fishing villages. At the time the US federal government was considering opening the continental shelf off parts of Alaska to oil exploration, and my villages were suddenly inundated with oil company people scoping out the territory.

This was something I'd witnessed years before, when I was working in the Scottish Highlands and Islands at the time the same oil companies were looking at development sites for North Sea oil activities. In fact, in Alaska I met with some of the very same people, working for the likes of Shell and BP, that I'd known in Scotland.

Anyway, I convinced my city council members to invite a group of fishermen and local government officials from Shetland to come to Alaska and meet with our people, to share their experience in dealing (VERY successfully) with the same companies over the same issues. My communities' population was largely a mix of Native American/Russian/Scandinavian heritage; our local economy was based on high-value fishing that could potentially be in conflict with oil development, same as the Shetlanders had confronted. The Norwegian connection was immediate and permanent; there are still regular back-and-forth travels between the two places half a world apart.

So they came, and we had some town hall meetings and "teach-ins" that were immensely useful to the Alaskans. But the Shetlanders, most of whom had never been to America, much less Alaska, couldn't wait to get out on their hosts' fishing boats and to talk about gear, fish handling and processing, regulations, prices and markets, etc. Kids in candy shops.

When the talk turned to the differences and similarities between Shetland and our part of Alaska, they were blunt. "You've go no trees. Neither do we. Your hills are higher but the seas are the same."

Why does that apply to your question? It's because - to me - Shetland is much more about the people than it is the land. If you want dramatic scenery, secluded glens or lochs below mountains glowering in the late light, head for Mull or Skye (or Islay for that matter) or any number of places on the mainland north of the Great Glen. Those sort of environments are there in abundance.

But if you want a place where you take your book to a pub and nurse a beer for a few hours, even if it's blowing like crazy outside, or visit with some of the most interesting people on the planet, or listen to the world's best (IMO) fiddle music at night, then Shetland's your place.

There's no right or wrong answer here, it depends on how you want to spend the hours you're there.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 02:47 PM
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Y'know, mentioning fiddle music made me realize I hadn't talked about music in the Northern Isles, a serious omission. It would be like talking about Ireland or Brittany without mentioning their music. Big mistake.

Watch this video for an introduction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k0OfwYG-iA
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Old May 8th, 2017, 04:44 PM
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Gardyloo - I love your answer. And, what an interesting project you were involved in. And, I love fiddle music - did watch some Youtubes of Shetland fiddlers the other night. (My two daughters played the violin in a few pubs in Ireland when they were little tykes - also did some step dancing. It was their first European trip at about 6 and 9.)


In truth? I realized today I'm putting way too many expectations on a one week trip to Scotland. Maybe because I was a bit let down by my last "big" trip (to Machu Picchu) and I still want that thrill of walking alone for a few hours and rounding a bend to see some dramatic sea and sky and green and feeling the solace of nature and beauty.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 05:07 PM
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It's very difficult to offer advice and I certainly understand your concerns. Gardyloo pretty much said it all. I had planned to revisit Fair Isle three years ago. I did extensive research but for several reasons changed my plans. In short, if I could've gotten someone to go with me, I'd probably have done it. Instead I toured Scotland for the umpteenth time. Really no problem there.

I always enjoy spending time by myself doing a lot of walking, stopping to spell the roses or heather, whatever. Personally from everything I know about Fair Isle, you would not be bored if weather kept you from exploring as you'd like. I will say, I go out in most weather conditions at least for short periods. I also like just sitting by a fire or in a room with a view reading a book. There are about 60 people living on Fair Isle and it is one place you can really converse with the locals. An isolated place but not at all isolating.

No wrong decisions with whatever you decide.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 05:13 PM
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"I still want that thrill of walking alone for a few hours and rounding a bend to see some dramatic sea and sky and green and feeling the solace of nature and beauty.

If you are willing to forgo the alone part, and the sea and sky and green, and the solace of nature, you should consider going to Petra. You round a bend just before you see the beauty of the Treasury.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 05:18 PM
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>>>There's no right or wrong answer here, it depends on how you want to spend the hours you're there.The Sot-Weed Factor
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Old May 8th, 2017, 05:37 PM
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And . . .

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Gandalf, in JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
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Old May 8th, 2017, 07:33 PM
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You guys. I love you. Thanks for these kind posts.

historytraveler - we sound like very similar travelers. And, yes, I have a feeling Fair Isle will happen - if not this year at some point. I've been a teeny melancholy lately due to deciding to quit my job (was planning to leave on this trip the day after my last day on July 1st) so I think that's my concern about a week of rain alone in a little B&B - tramping around always cheers me up but I like a little sunshine thrown in.

Fra - I was hoping you would have some sage advice. Or at least some perfectly strung together words

xcounty - funny story. When the younger daughter (the nurse) and I decided to go to MP I told the older one (the middle eastern studies grad student), "don't worry I'll take a trip with you too - maybe we can go to Tel Aviv or Jordan or something." She replied, "Mom, I've had enough adventures this year, could we maybe just go to Montreal and eat a lot of good food and see some art?" We are headed to Montreal on Friday for the weekend...Chagall at the MFA, etc. But Petra is likely in my future at some point.
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Old May 8th, 2017, 08:00 PM
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gruezi, Have you considered a tour? I ask because I've found Rabbies a very good tour company. They do Scotland, of course, as well as England and Ireland. The thing I really like about them besides being small group ( no more than 16 people ) they allow a traveler a good degree of independence. I can go off and walk or tour a place by myself but have also found several people on each tour with whom I can engage with, enjoy their company and not be a complete loner. Rabbies allows me to go solo or be more sociable. It's been a good compromise for someone who enjoys doing their own thing but who sometimes wants company and to share in an experience.

www.rabbies.com
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Old May 9th, 2017, 05:06 AM
  #35  
 
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Sorry greuzi, but my knowledge of Scottish isles is limited to Skye, which is wonderful, but I wouldn't want to discourage you from your more adventurous plans, especially after gardyloo's evocation of the charms of Shetland.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 07:15 AM
  #36  
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Hi history - GinnyJo mentioned Rabbies to me and I have looked into it. A possibility in the future.

Thanks Fra. Skye is back on my list.
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Old Jan 5th, 2018, 07:06 PM
  #37  
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I just dug this thread up again because... yes, I’m trying once again to find solitude, peace and beauty in Scotland.

I re-read all these posts and am again in awe of all you travelers and poets.

Still not sure ... back to considering Mull and Iona.
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Old Jan 5th, 2018, 07:39 PM
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One of the best places in Scotland for solitude, peace and beauty is Fair Isle, but it’s a PIA to get to.

Next suggestion would be Mull and Iona and would definitely try to spend a night or two on Iona....absolutely wonderful.
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Old Jan 6th, 2018, 12:27 AM
  #39  
 
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How about Foula with its population of only 30... There are four flights a week from Tingwall Airport (can do s a day trip) or a ferry three times a week from Walls.
http://www.shetland.org/plan/areas/foula

We spent a wonderful day there.
http://wasleys.org.uk/MWGalleries/sh...ula/index.html
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Old Jan 6th, 2018, 08:31 AM
  #40  
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Thanks all. There don’t seem to be rooms at the inn for May/June. Sigh. Disappointing. Will keep trying.
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