a walk around the lighthouse

Outside the lighthouse, the ground rises steadily and steeply. Bressay Sound reveals its spectacular arch.

We are climbing up toward the cliffs. Every ledge has its own maalie (fulmar). We are prepared for spitting, but they don’t seem to mind us. Sitting there at the edge, everything is quiet except for the soft whoooosh of their wings as they ride the thermals.

If you think of the landscape of Shetland as bare, then you just haven’t looked properly. The heathland around the cliffside is a glorious haze of colour.

Poking out among the grasses are exquisite, tiny jewels.


Spring Squill


Tormentil


Butterwort

Lousewort


Bird’s-foot Trefoil


Bog Cotton


Heath Milkwort


Heath Spotted Orchid

Turning inland, the land becomes more peaty. Marauding bonxies (great skuas) patrol the moor.

We keep well away from the lochan which, from the numbers circling above, we assume to be their nest site. But these birds aren’t keen on two-legged intruders, even at a distance.


. . . this is their landscape . . .

. . .and they aren’t afraid to remind you . .

. . . time to duck again!

Rounding back toward the headland, Lerwick looks like a toytown in the distance.

The road verges are pink with campion. . .

. . . and the gates of the lighthouse reflect the hazy evening sun.

We make pizza for supper.

33 responses

  1. I’ve been slowed down by a stroke a year ago and still working on my walking but I have found a world of jewels as well as I trudge along lanes and roads in northwestern Ontario, Canada. you and your rambles and handi craft have been a motivation for me. Thank you Kate

  2. Ah yes it’s heaven right now – but it could be blowing a gale any minute – and the fog!!!!

    I love Shetland too….and have been lucky that the weather was good when I’ve visited – May was spectacular (only 1 day of horizontal rain) and July was good….but in and out of fog all the time.

    This June weather looks beautiful….and the flowers seem to be at their peak…..maybe June next time!

  3. Such a magnificent travelogue! I want to come, too! Thank you for the lovely photos. A sweet dream is to travel to Scotland.

  4. Thanks for the lovely post and all those beautiful flowers! I found that I had to get down into the grasses- that is, away from the wind!- to explore the botanical riches of Shetland! A nice reminder.

  5. The colors in the campion photo would make a lovely Fair Isle; I’ve noticed that many of your pics are inspirational in that way. Thanks so much for activating Travel! Scotland! Cheese!

  6. I hope you will consider printing a calendar or cards with all these beautiful photos. They are just breathtaking! I typically don’t audibly GASP when I see other people’s vacation photos :) Your photography & eye for the shot is truly extraordinary.

  7. Your photography is getting better and better all the time! Congratulatons on such a fine job. Having your work published or hung in a gallery is well worth looking into. May you continue to explore. God bless.

  8. Thanks for taking us on this wondrous stroll, I especially like all the flowers.

    Looks like you had a lovely adventure! How I love your heathery cliff-face photos. We were walking in the New Forest last weekend, and spent a good deal of time analysing the suitability of heather/ferns as inspiration for a colourwork project. It’s amazing how rich apparently “bleak” landscapes are, once you get into the details.

    Gorgeous.

  9. kate-thank you for all your wonderful posts and pictures I travel vicariously through you you must be feeling quiye well-aye?

  10. Luv the flowers, especially the campion; and the scenery is so beautiful.
    You must feel so relaxed and rested enjoying your stay at the lighthouse; must be so peaceful.
    Love that you share all these beautiful places with us.

  11. Thanks for a wonderful tour of Shetland – I particularly liked the detailed photographs of the wild flowers. I visited Harris and Lewis in April and it was too soon for the Machair to be in full bloom. I hope to get as far as Shetland one day!

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