Shetland again


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August 22nd 2015
Published: June 22nd 2017
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Geo: 60.1556, -1.15004

Today we mostly drove about the southern part of the Island. After a leisurely breakfast and chat with Beth and Ian, we headed off to a lookout that Beth said provided great views. Pity, the day was clear but low cloud came in as we arrived at the lookout and we only had a glimpse of the vistas.

We were impressed by the Jarlshof archaeological site at the southern tip of Shetland. Over 4,000 years of occupation, from 5,000 year old round houses, to newer wheelhouses, a Broch, Viking settlements and then a 16thC Scottish manor, all built on the same site. It wasn't obvious to me but Shetland was at a maritime cross-roads centuries ago. It was a two-day boat journey to Norway, to the Faroe Islands and to the Scottish mainland. Quite a reasonable voyage for the Vikings and other ancient sea-faring peoples.

The Shetland and Orkney Islands used to be part of Norway. In 1469 the King of Norway (and Denmark) pledged both island groups as security for his daughter's marriage dowry to James III of Scotland. The dowry was never paid (apparently the Scots subsequently refused to accept it) and thus the Islands came under Scottish rule.
Aerial view of JarlshofAerial view of JarlshofAerial view of Jarlshof

The post-Ice Age increase in sea levels has meant that this site, and many others, are now in danger of being washed into the sea.
Scottish lairds were granted title to lands and the islanders found themselves with new masters.

We caught the ferry to Aberdeen at 6:45pm, and had dinner on board. I think I've had enough of fish and chips for a while.


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A wheelhouseA wheelhouse
A wheelhouse

Walls radiated out from the central hearth to provide support for the roof and to partition the spaces. This was an improvement over the smaller roundhouses.
Stone ceilingsStone ceilings
Stone ceilings

It didn't look green like this - a trick of the light, I suppose.
Jarlshof coastlineJarlshof coastline
Jarlshof coastline

More than half the 2,000 year old Broch and surrounding buildings have already been lost to the encroaching sea. Originally the settlement was hundreds of metres inland.


25th August 2015

I had never realized how ancient and wide spread 'Scottish' habitation was. I cannot imagine living here in Winter,

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