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Old 07-08-2017, 12:45 PM   #56
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Now for the original objective. Went back to Haroldswick then west along the B9086 to its end at the Hermaness Nature Reserve. Parked the VFR and hoofed it out to Muckle Flugga.

It's about 4 miles across the peninsula and for some of it you walk through nesting sites of the Great Skua. First hand knowledge now lets me say they look like a cross between a large hawk and a petrol, and they swoop like a magpie . This pic (borrowed from google) shows the evil buggers' expression and attitude -




The stripped carcasses of their victims are scattered everywhere -




Reached the western shore where the air was completely filled with birds and their noise & cries was like background traffic. I've never experienced anything like it. Gannets mainly, with gulls and skuas in the mix, close overhead and all distances away. These rock stacks were totally covered in gannets -




Saw a puffin too but was too slow with the camera before it disappeared down its burrow.


Finally, Muckle Flugga appeared around the hillside. The rock most offshore, Out Stack, is the northernmost rock in Britain -




Muckle Flugga's lighthouse is another one built by a Stevenson; this one by Robert Louis's dad -




Contemplating life and a great trip -




Hiked back to the bike - 4 miles now seemed a long way - and a gentle evening’s ride back to Baltasound. Bought beer for the 4 old-guy cyclists who’d not long arrived - and watched the Fawlty Towers proceedings in the kitchen/restaurant . Good food though and Guinness on tap .
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Last edited by twowheeler; 08-08-2017 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:59 PM   #57
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Quote:
Originally Posted by twowheeler View Post
Then went down to Yesnaby Head. Very exposed so parked the VFR in the shelter of the local motocross clubrooms. Standing near the clifftop, it was difficult to keep my footing and I was copping plenty of spray from the surf crashing below -

Love this pic, very dramatic.

Reminded me of the Otago harbour entrance.
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:30 PM   #58
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Cruisy morning start and had a wander around Baltasound, which is more a loose collection of houses than a town. Nice little harbour -






Went to walk out to the remains of a Viking village, but the public footpath went through a very large paddock with bulls in it; didn’t fancy that; so checked out Bob’s Bus Shelter instead –




In daily use as an actual bus stop, apparently this guy Bob redecorates it every few months in whatever takes his fancy -




Packed up and headed south down to Belmont -




and its ferry -




This one went to Yell via Fetlar -




This German guy and his pillion joined me on the ferry. He was dressed head-to-toe in Touratech gear and his BMW F650 had the entire Touratech catalog thrown at it




In a small swell on the way across, despite him holding it, his bike fell over and scraped down the side of the VFR -




The VFR wobbled but stayed upright and thankfully nothing on it got broken, other than getting Touratech paint highlights (which we later could not remove) down the lovely black custom paintjob .

Helped him pick up his Beemer – it weighed a bloody ton – which had broken numerous bits and pieces which he gaffer taped back on.

He was embarrassed and gave me his Munich-based business card to send him a bill for paint repair, but I didn't take it – I was about to sell the bike and fly home, so it was going to be too much hassle. Shit happens .
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Old 07-08-2017, 01:58 PM   #59
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Went straight across the island of Yell again, then took my last little ferry over to the main island (called Mainland) and, ahem, opened it up. After the ‘close’ Orkneys, the Shetlands feel and are big and have some really nice riding roads too .

Took the B9074 to Scalloway where I met some more natives, very friendly this fella was, or maybe it was just the apple I gave him -




Scalloway is a great little town -








A busy working harbour (well, not so busy in this pic )-




The classy memorial, unveiled by the Queen of Norway 10 years ago, to the Shetland Bus -




A secret operation during WW2, for most of the war the Shetland Bus was based in this harbour -




A fleet of fishing boats were used to ferry arms, agents and refugees between Shetland and Norway. They only operated during the darkness and storms of winter. The local museum has a terrific exhibit. Had a good chat with the museum volunteers about stuff, listening to their melodic accent. The lady behind the desk greeted me with "G'day" ! She has no connection to Australia but says it's just a turn of phrase she uses -




Some hair-raising stories of sheer courage and ingenuity




Really enjoyed the Shetlands - will need to come back for longer and with Brenda, which means in a car ......

Had a boat to catch back to Aberdeen. Luckily Northlink do South too -




The very first to board ; I was sorted, showered and changed before we pulled out of the dock. A nice evening; stayed on deck for the hour or so it took until we passed Sumburgh Head -





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Last edited by twowheeler; 07-08-2017 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 07-08-2017, 02:36 PM   #60
twowheeler
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Default Re: Slow Road to Muckle Flugga

Slept the sleep of the dead in my cabin - didn't even hear the boat docking during the night in the Orkneys - and woke in time for breaky and to see us docking in Aberdeen.

The last day of Tour de Ecosse was supposed to be an all-day connection of little roads from Aberdeen SW down to Troon, where Brenda was staying with our friend Linsey.

But last night I pulled a heart muscle . Steady rain was forecast, I was looking forward to seeing Brenda and anyway I had a long day the following day to take the VFR back to Leeds then return.
So instead, I just squelched straight down the A90/M90, through the middle of Glasgow, then the M77/A77 to Troon. The only pic of the ride, approaching Perth -




Was in Troon for lunch, which gave time to give the VFR a thorough clean, and to post my helmet home (which I'd bought for a bargain in London and which could not be persuaded to fit in the suitcase - 60 pounds by seamail which brings it back to what I would have paid for it in Oz ) .


The next morning, with Brenda in our hire car, we rode/drove the 230 miles down to Leeds (and endured a really dangerous hour of riding on the busy M1 in torrential rain ), dropped off the bike with our friends – Casey was going to sell it for me - had lunch with them then we drove back to Scotland.







Post Script.

The VFR sold last week (first week of August) for 1750 pounds. So all up, the bike component of the entire UK trip cost me 800 pounds - 300 pounds drop in value for a quick sale, 250 pounds for reg, MoT, bike-cover & bike-locks, plus 250 for insurance. Considering a rental bike for 6 weeks was going to cost 2500 pounds or so, it was an absolute bargain . The fact it was such a sweet bike was icing on the cake; it took me 2500 miles across Yorkshire, IOM, Cumbria http://www.austouring.com/forum/showthread.php?t=6280 and then Scotland. As much as it's possible to love an inanimate object, I loved it.

Here it is scrubbed up before being collected by its new owner – it’s off to Ireland .

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