Sunday, 10 June 2012

A trip into the Arctic

Leaving Unst it was time to head to Northmavine, our final couple of days in the Shetland Isles.

Northmavine is home to the highest point of Shetland so up we had to go - right to the top of Ronas Hill. The sign that greets you tells you all about it - how it is as high as the Arctic Tundra and home to many  rare species.

The sight that greets you is desolate indeed. Piles of fractured red granite lie all around and it is not hard to imagine oneself as a polar explorer.  The climb up isn't too bad

  An hour or two later I got my reward  - a very nice neolithic  burial chamber. Don't be fooled by the blue sky, it was cold, very cold, in fact so cold.....

.... that the inside of the chamber was filled with snow.

If you do climb Ronas Hill  make sure that you sign the guest book. It is not at the burial mound but at a modern feature not very far away - the OS trig point. I wonder how many make it to the top and don't find the book?
Coming down as usual took less time than going up so we had time to go for some lunch and then consider what to do afterwards.  A study of the map showed a fairly inaccessible neolithic axe factory and another burial site. It was rather a long way from anywhere but we had nothing better to do so we thought we'd attempt to find it. The map reference was not terribly clear and with no Internet signal to pick up  the coordinates needed to program the GPS, it was rather uncertain if we'd actually find it.

Finding it was a bit of a challenge.

 An axe factory really is just a pile of rocks. The only differentiating feature here was that the rock was different from the red granite so it was fairly clear where it was. However it was a long walk across the steep sides of a hill, again I wished I was one of the native Haggis with one leg shorter than the other!

Finding the axe factory was simple compared with finding the burial chamber. In the end we split up and combed the hill side. Even then we almost missed it!

It was now starting to rain - we'd been lucky up til then so it was the long trudge back to the car. At least all down hill.

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