28.09.2011 - 28.09.2011
Had pretty good weather today! After breakfast, we again decided to go and visit our mates, the seals, at the bottom of the garden and so spent the whole morning clambering over rocks trying to get close enough to the sleeping slugs to get a good shot. There must be over a dozen seals that live in the small bay near the house and they are all very inquisitive and keen to see what we are doing. They aren’t tame enough for us to get too close but they are certainly happy to swim around and watch us, just not tame enough to come up onto the rocks where we were.
After watching our new found friends for a while we decided to hop in the car and head south to Sumburgh Nature Reserve to try and see puffins! Puffins are the main reason I decided to come to Shetland… Unfortunately you can only really see Puffins in the summer months when they come on shore (into their little burrows) to nest.. this time of the year all we really saw on the bird cliffs were some stray sea gulls, rabbits and a sheep that had decided it was actually a mountain goat and had gotten lost!
Very disappointing but really hardly surprising that I couldn’t see puffins! I did get to see some archaeological digs though at Jarlshof. Jarlshof has human habitation remains dating well back to around 2000 BC. These are remains from the first Shetland inhabitants (which they think are likely to be early Picts) and we were able to walk amongst their brochs. ‘Broch’ (pronounced Brrro—don’t really pronounce the ‘c’ sound and roll the ‘r’) is the early houses of the original inhabitants and are circular with two walls; an outer wall, a small gap and then an inner wall. The two walls are thought to be for insulation. The walls and roofs were made out of native grey stone with sod on top of the roof for further insulation. No cement or any other sort of “sticky stuff” just grey slate style shingles all piled together to make the walls and roofs… Incredible huh? There were also Viking remains at Jarlshof as well as the 11th century ruin of a manor house, people have continually lived at this location for thousands of years and their remains still exist for us to view!
We had planned to go and see the Mousa Broch (the biggest Broch left standing in the UK) straight after our visit to Jarlshof until we discovered that the ferry over to Mousa doesn’t run after Sept so we were going to have to luck out! (also luck out on seeing the otter colony that apparently lives over on the island) So we spent the arvo sitting in a local pub catching up on postcard writing, until we headed back home for some dinner and an early night.