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Exploring the Shetland Islands

 

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skuk        kokatat        lendal
03/08/2013    Vidlin 60°22' 402" N    1°07' 836" W
distance: 20 nautical miles (37.0km) ↙ wind: 18 knots ←

Today was the hardest day of my trip. I had strong head wind at first which got stronger in the afternoon. The forecast for the next two days looked even worse. I paddle out and received the easterly while paddling south now. the waves picked up and the reflection got stronger.
Finally I entered to the channel towards Vidlin. I was protected now and looking for a place to pitch my tent was my main priority now.
I found a nice family that directed me to a nice pitching area next to the ferry terminal. I have the kayak for 2 more days before I need to return it.

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02/08/2013    Sullom Voe 60°26' 161" N    1°21' 364" W
distance: 15 nautical miles (27.8km) → wind: 8 knots ↓

Today I met some nice people on the way. I knew I won't have time to go around the northernmost tip of Shetlands, so I went in between the islands with one tiny boat carrying from one side of the road to the other. When arriving to that point I met some people who understood me perfectly despite of my inability to hand talk. They were able to read my lips and communicate like that. When they saw me emptying my boat they immediately suggested to help me. Not only they helped with the boat, but also with the rest of my gear. Thank you :)
At the end of that day I landed next to an old pear not too far from Sullom Voe oil terminal.
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01/08/2013    Papa Stour 60°19' 871" N    1°40' 382" W
distance: 14 nautical miles (25.9km) ↑ wind: 15 knots ↑

great coastline and beautiful ending. Papa Stour (which is basically big daddy) is a beautiful island with many caves and holes that lead to big chambers and create a stunning scene and a perfect ending for a day that started well.
The paddle itself was easy enough. The coastline in Mainland was really nice with lots of curves shaped by the westerly storms pounding on it many times every year.
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31/07/2013    Walls 60°13' 579" N    1°33' 078" W
distance: 20 nautical miles (37.0km) ↖ wind: 8 knots ↑

Days like today makes me go on trips again and again. Today I met some paddlers on the way. Some English guys who took almost a month off to explore the Shetlands. I wish I could stay as long as them.
Weather forecast looks bad for tomorrow. not sure I can paddle.
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30/07/2013    Maywick 60°00' 357" N    1°19' 516" W
distance: 18 nautical miles (33.3km) ↑ wind: 5 knots ↑

Going around the south most point was quick and fun. the current carried me fast and the weather was stunning.

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28/07/2013    Dunrossness 59°55' 225" N    1°17' 398" W
distance: 17 nautical miles (31.5km) ↓ wind: 10 knots ↙

Today went well, breathing the ocean air again. What an amazing feeling.
I met a fisherman today who gave me a quick go through about the streams around the south. Those might be quite strong with violent races. But I was lucky, the weather projection looks promising.
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27/07/2013    South Brea 60°05' 831" N    1°13' 336" W
distance: 7 nautical miles (13.0km) ↓ wind: 10 knots ↙

The first day was short. After doing my shopping I took off, it was around 16:00 so most of the day was gone.
I couldn't ask for a better start. There was no trace of the morning fog. The coast line is rocky and rugged as can be expected in such harsh environment.
I landed on a small sandy beach a few km south to Lerwick. The owner of the land was kind enough and gave me permission to pitch my tent for the night.
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26/07/2013    Lerwick - start 60°09' 514" N    1°09' 032" W

Arriving at last to the Shetland Islands. It has been a long time since I wanted to visit this place, 20 years if to be more specific. I lived in Glasgow in 1994 - 1995 and in my travels I stood at the northernmost point of mainland Scotland looking north only to fog and a bit of see bellow the cliff I stood on knowing that there are some islands out there. Those Islands seem remote and unreachable, but I then decided to come again and visit there.
I did, but this time with a kayak.
Flying in was easy enough, but I got stuck in Aberdeen due to fog. 5 later then expected I finally was here!
The kayak was waiting for me as expected in the shipping company.

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last updated, April 2014