Travels in the North

Musings on arctic holidays

Reliving an old trip – June 14 2005 – Hitchhiking & Mousa

Another early start this morning, had to be up at 6am in order to catch a bus from Unst back to mainland (mainland the main island on Shetland, I don’t mean back to the mainland).

The bus was late and I was starting to worry about missing my ferry connection to Yell (where I was due to catch another bus which went all the way back to Lerwick via another ferry). Spurred on by yesterday’s impromptu offer of a lift from a local I tried hitchhiking for the first time in my life – and to my surprise the first car stopped. I suppose people in these rural communities tend to help each other out like that. The driver was an old lady and drove me all the way to the Yell ferry which I was very grateful for.

Lerwick Bus Shetland

My main sightseeing activity of the day was a trip to Mousa Broch, brochs being old iron age forts specific to the Northern islands and the far North East of Scotland. Mousa is the best preserved of the brochs, on an uninhabited island of the same name, a tour company charters boats to go out there.

Mousa

Mousa

We had about two hours on Mousa which was plenty of time to see the broch and go for a walk. I’d asked on the boat if anyone was driving back to Lerwick as the bus times would’ve left me with a two hour wait, and a German couple had offered, only for me to realise when we got back that they thought I was offering them a lift, they didn’t speak much English.

Mousa Broch

Mousa Broch

With all the other boat passengers rapidly driving away I was a bit panicked but managed to ask the last remaining couple if they were headed back to Lerwick and fortunately they were. They were a very friendly couple from Nottingham and invited me back to their rented cottage for a cup of tea before heading back, after a few days on my own I was really grateful for the company.

Back in Lerwick and again at the mercy of the limited eating options I got some chicken and chips from a takeaway and sat on the harbour eating them, which annoying and predictably attracted a lot of seagulls. I then had a few hours before my 1:30am ferry to the Faroe Islands so went to a couple of pubs.

Da Noost was the first place I went, nice enough but quite a young crowd in there, although there was an eccentric bloke at the bar which added a bit of interest.

Then I went to Captain Flints, which as the name suggests was a nautically themed pub. I didn’t want to drink too much before my ferry so left about 10:30pm to head to the ferry port.

We finally boarded (slightly late) the Smyril Line ferry at 2:00am, it had been slightly late arriving from it’s last destination, Bergen in West Norway. I’m far enough North now that it still wasn’t completely dark, we are just a week off the longest day of course.

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