Lerwick ... Capitol of the Shetlands - Belfast ... Capitol of Northern IreIand


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October 18th 2017
Published: October 20th 2017
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Ullapool – Thurso …. travel all day ;;; bus to Inverness then train to Thurso

Spend two sleeps in Thurso … visit John o'Groats and get chinese for dinner...work on blog in breakfast room

Shiela from Thurso House drops me at ferry terminal... cast off for Stromness ...then bus to Kirkwall … only a half hour... spend long wet noisy day in Kirkwall... long and not inspiring ... board ferry for Lerwick at 23.45

Arrive Lerwick 07.00 ...stay on board till 09.00

Taxi to Eddlewood Guesthouse. Room ready tanksbetogot at ten in the morning ... a lot of concentrated travel...who planned this crazy trip????

One sleep in Lerwick... after leaving pack at Guesthouse begin to wander around Lerwick.



First stop ... the Public Library housed in a converted church... did not notice previous denomination. Copied a number of titles that will make great reading.

There are numerous 'lanes' passing between houses and buildings that lead downhill to the Waterfront and High Street. Taking one of these lanes the he first stop at the bottom was the bookshop. A search for a Fair Isle pattern book was made but a traditional lace pattern book was chosen instead. Also found a small booklet itemizing the sheep of Scotland with good illustrations and descriptions of wool types.



Next to the post office to send all sorts of paper goods including the newly bought books. Each one of the envelopes shipped has been sent the cheapest slowest possible way … and they all seem to be arriving! The post mistresses keep telling me six weeks … by surface mail … maybe they are not finding ships and just putting things in a plane !



There were so many wool shops on this Highstreet that it took quite some time to make it to the museum which had originally been the prime goal. Finally after visiting Anderson's a massive wool shop from which I could not get a pattern for the sweater that interested me and going to Harry's a department store compared to Harrod's and dropping in to a sports shop in search of red shoelaces, the museum was reached in time for lunch.

Again the haddock was the safest choice. The meal came with a very generous and flavourful portion of breaded fish a small salad and the
A ManseA ManseA Manse

...not for sale in Lerwick
ever popular thick fries. The coffee was nothing to write about. There does not seem to be any cream to be had ... always the milk...?



The second floor of the museum had a wonderful display of time gone by in Lerwick. Especially interesting was the display of Fair Isle knits from the turn of the century when everyone knit for the family and kids to adults wore socks, sweaters, hats and mittens with fantastic variations of patterns and colours. There was even a whole top to bottom knitted in white set of long johns.

All the implements of daily life before the fifties is on display including a car with the Singer label on the front panel.

I greatly resisted buying anything to do with Wool Week which I had missed by a hair!! http://www.shetlandwoolweek.com/

This is very upsetting. Because during last year's trip to the Maritimes an interesting wool event was also missed.

Read the story about the BacktoBack Wool Challenge ... http://www.wool.ca/B2B or https://www.bluemts.com.au/news/



On the walk back to the Guesthouse a quick stop was made at Charlottes Fort …

"Wander among the massive walls of an artillery fort built to protect the Sound of Bressay from the Dutch.

Construction of Fort Charlotte began – though was not completed – in 1665, during the Second Dutch War. It was rebuilt more than a century later, during the War of American Independence, but the newer fort never saw military action.

Today, the fort is presented much as it would have looked in the 1780s." from wiki



As the sky began to become overcast speed was increased and the wedding at the Catholic Church was quickly snapped.There was no need to climb up the lanes that had been decended. The road to the museum had gone around the extreme end of the harbour and a gentle climb had brought me up to the fort and then on to the point of origin.

Forgot to get food . Good thing I had the meal at lunch time... ate something...probably cheese and a bun... plus hot chocolate.

In the morning it was raining. The taxi was picking me up at five... I was not going out in the rain so spent the day in the breakfast room writing blogs and captions for photos.

Once on the ferry a marathon stint of travel began.

Lerwick by ferry overnight to Aberdeen. The sea was bouncy??. Because I had a premium cabin I was in paradise floating in the North Sea. Having only had breakfast and a few pieces of fruit during the day I ordered Moroccan Lamb and Couscous with a complimentary glass of wine.

The cabin had television, newspaper, hot chocolate, bisquits, and extra woollen blankets. And breakfast was included.

...a totally sublime experience...too bad I had to sleep the night away.



Again passengers were able to stay on board till 09.30 … first missjudgement. Should have disembarked much sooner so as to get earliest train from Aberdeen to Glasgow.

Arriving at Glasgow the shuttle bus was taken to Glasgow Central and then the train to Ayr. At Ayr it was necessary to take a coach to Cairnryan where the ferry was waiting to cross the Irish sea and dock in Belfast.

All went well ...Except … had to sit and wait in Ayr for the 17.05 coach to Cairnryan. OOPS ...almost three hours ..s*^t.



But all is not lost. Did not sit in the greasy spoon resataurant where I ate nice soup and a backed potatoe with chicken salad filling. Instead took a short walk with my pack on my back and returned to the railroad station to read and/or knit. The pack could not be left in the station because of newly instigated rules about left things since the explosion on the tube in September. Even in small backwater stations extra police patrol and rubbish bins do not exist.



Finally! ... on the coach hurtling towards the harbour of Cairnryan, driven by a sugar junkie driver. He drank blue Gatorade and rustled wrappers off candy during the whole hour and a half ride.



All being said, this was the best ride yet since landing in the UK on September 12th The sun was setting, the road was curvy going from high cliffs to sea edge thru small towns with thatched rooved houses and past fields dotted with grazing sheep or cows. One field even had a herd of donkeys strolling and lolling about. It was impossible to take very good shots of this invigorating experience. The sugar-junkies driver's bald head with side strands of pomaded hair kept getting in the way.



The coach stopped directly at the ferry terminal. The crossing lasted long enough to eat some food … a Caesar Salad Scot/Irish style with some cold chicken breast … interestingly b-o-r-i-n-g …



Boarded the ferry in the dark. Arrived Belfast in the dark.

These night-time arrivals and the far out locations of the terminals have necessitated taxi rides. This is the absolute first time ever I have taken cabs.



Booked the Ibis in Belfast. Ibis is always a reliable place to overnight. This one here in Belfast is a whole other story ... a report is to be sent to Ibis headquarters and read in the next blog.


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