Sunday, 27 May 2012

Shetland - Yell for the White Woman

So after 3 nights in South Mainland it is time to move north - in fact as far north as possible. This is the island of Unst but first we had to cross Yell to get there.

We didn't have a lot of time to spend exploring Yell properly although I suspect that we spent more time there than many visitors. Most of the traffic rolls off the ferry at the southern point and takes the main road north to the next ferry for Unst. We thought we'd try and see at least a little bit of the island before moving on to Unst for the night.

So we took the scenic road off to the right to hunt down a mysterious sign to the "white wife"....

She was further away than we had anticipated but no matter. We were in no great rush. The roads on Yell are even quieter than on the mainland and we didn't see more than a couple of other cars once away from the main thoroughfare.

The signs for the white wife pointed us down ever more narrow and twisty roads until we reached the end of a track where we parked and set out on foot. The weather was "interesting". I wasn't exactly raining but it was mighty cold and the wind was blowing. So what is it?

It's a ship's figurehead of course! Erected to mark the foundering of the Bohus in 1924 ( her real name is apparently Bertha).

The memorial is at Otterswick so we thought that there might just be a chance of seeing an otter in the sea as we had been unlucky up til now. However lucky we were and one of the elusive beasties was spotted on the rocks just below Bertha. Unfortunately he ( or she) proved very camera shy so although I can spot it in my pictures I don't think anyone else will!

Time now to catch the ferry on to Unst. Although we planned to head straight to the hotel we made a small detour or two to visit  a few sites on the way.

Firstly the Clivocast  standing stone. Measuring just under 10ft it is said to mark the spot where the viking Harald Hafager was killed circa 900CE.

Next up was Muness Castle, the most northerly castle in the UK. Not so much a castle, rather a fortified residence with three stories built in 1598.

The castle is now managed by Historic Scotland and entry is free. As with Mousa Broch they have thoughtfully provided torches to help with the exploration of the passages and rooms of the ground floor.
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