Day 12 – Exploring Shetland

After a great nights sleep I got up ready to go and see a little of Shetland.   Dexter and I took a walk a little further up the headland and he was fine until he saw the sheep a few yards away!  I definitely don’t need to go to the gym with Dexter on the other end of the lead.  We had a great walk and found a little cove but I decided that Dexter didn’t need a swim at that time of the morning.

We set off for the Museum of Shetland so I could have a good look around after leaving Dexter in the car.   When I had visited on Sunday, we had walked down so I had not had time to look around since I don’t like leaving Dexter tied up outside a building for long.   The photo is of the area outside the museum and a picture of one student’s final year weaving project.

A quick visit to Jamieson & Smith followed to have a look at their wool store.  I suspect a further visit will be required before I leave.

I had been told that a great place to visit was The HAPpening at Olaberry.   A hap is a shawl so it is a display of shawls of different types as well as some spinners who live at Olaberry, not to mention the cakes!  Olaberry is in the north of mainland Shetland so it also gave me a chance to check out the ferry terminal at Toft that I need for Tuesday morning.   Having found the ferry terminal, I thought I would take a B road back to the main road north and ended up at the Sullom Voe oil terminal so I had to turn around and take a road I thought was just going to a few houses but turned out to be the B road across.

I then stopped at Mavis Grind because there was a place to park and I thought Dexter could do with a break.   It turns out that Mavis Grind is the point where you can see both the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea on either side of the road or, if I were younger, I could throw a stone from one ocean to the other.   We had a fun walk and then continued on our way north reaching Olaberry just after 1pm.   It was a good time because it was not busy so I could see the shawls that were beautifully displayed and talk to the spinners.  There was one beautiful shawl that had won first prize at a show and was for sale.  It had taken 100 hours to make and was selling for £500, less than the minimum wage.

One of the spinners, Betsy Williamson was spinning yarn so fine you could almost not see it.   She spins from locks of Shetland fleece in the grease and, if necessary, oils her hands.   Sorry for the non-spinners reading this but it is an interesting item of info for the spinners.  She also knits the most beautiful shawls but does not use her handspun yarn for the shawls.   She estimated it would take her 500-600 hours to spin enough yarn for a shawl so she knits shawls with commercial lace yarn and knits scarves with her handspun yarn. 

I took Dexter for a walk down the road, in search of a bit of sea and we found a tiny beach.   On the way I spotted an area beside a field of sheep and next to the beach that was planted with cabbages.   I’m not sure who the cabbages are for – the plot was too big to just feed a family but it was an interesting observation.   The weather here is clearly quite mild because there are lots of roses still in flower as well as hebes and other annuals.   Dexter got his swim in the sea but he couldn’t go very far because there were sheep only yards away and Dexter is still fascinated by sheep so he was kept firmly on the lead.

On the way back, I popped in for another cup of coffee and a cake before setting off for home.  While I was there, I bumped into someone from the Craven Guild of Spinners who had a nightmare journey here that took two days from Manchester!  

The journey back was uneventful and I had an early night because there was an early start on Tuesday to go to Unst for a class on colour in Fair Isle knitting.


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