Wind & Waves, Shetland October 2017

I was promised wind and waves.  

Blustery, showery westerlies getting quite wild, before swinging round to become northerlies - with clearer skies and rapidly falling temperatures.   The plus side was that might mean some decent waves and perhaps even sunshine to light them up.  

And so it was.

There are occasional times on Shetland when the weather just doesn’t encourage you out of the house, but more often than not the answer is just to layer-up and head out - safe in the knowledge that even if the walk down the beach is a bit like being sand-blasted you know that the walk back will be good (and probably pretty quick).

When the weather is moving through rapidly you’ve always got the possibility that you get ‘milky’ seas with spectacular waves - and there are a number of vantage points on Scat Ness that let you get into just the right place to have the cliffs and waves lit up by the low autumn sun. And if you look back northwards along Scat Ness you might get a glimpse of a rainbow warning you that the next shower is just about to arrive. 

Scat Ness Waves meet the Sky

Rain Shower Approaching

Quendale Beach is my local beach and seems to have changed every time I walk it.  Several of the south-end Shetland beaches seem to be prone to transformation.  I’ve seen this regularly over the years as vast quantities of sand get shifted up and down the beach by each big storm.  On short timescales the most obvious changes on Quendale are to the two streams that flow across Quendale links behind the beach - sometimes they flow straight down the beach into the waves, at other times that meander extravagantly up and down the beach en-route to the sea. 

I’ve reading recently about the little settlement of Broo that used to sit on Quendale links behind the beach - this was apparently a thriving community for many years up until the middle of the 17th Century when the beach changed shape and started dumping sand over the fields around the settlement.  Apparently for a few years the community attempted to clear the sand away so that they could go on farming, but eventually they had to concede to the sand and wind and move away from the links.   Once you’ve heard this story it’s hard not to reflect on it when you’re watching the sand blow around the beach. 

Quendale Beach

Sand Trails behind the pebbles

Back in August I was able to round off a Shetland weekend standing on the cliffs at Sumburgh Head watching a pair of orca power their way south towards Fair Isle.  

This time I had the bonus of spotting a white-tailed sea eagle fly past as I sat watching the planes and helicopters fly in and out of the little airport at Sumburgh.

Sumburgh Airport

White-tailed Sea Eagle

There is also a Flickr album with some more pictures from the weekend.

No comments: