Lerwick, Shetland Islands - 15 JUN 2016

Lerwick is Shetland's capitol and only town. About 7,500, half of the islands' 22,000 people, live in this town.
Our tour guide said they have 1% unemployment, "most people have 2-3 jobs, if you want a job, you can find one." 
 Our Ships Reception
The Viking invasions around 800 AD, left this place more Nordic than Scottish. Shetland became the northern third of the great earldom that was based in Orkney during the Viking golden age.
Dee Catches Me in the Reception Line
The Norse held sway in Shetland for another 200 years, until 1471 when it was annexed to Scotland. Aspects of Norse culture survived long after their rule. Records have been found describing Old Norse land management customs that were used well into the 18th century. Today their local dialect contain many Old Norse words.
On Left, One of Several Passing Pull Offs
We took a one lane road out to the northern reaches where "heather and moss blanket wispy landscapes and towing sea stacks and craggy cliffs rise from the surf." (tour description)
 Drongs - Rock-Hewn Sea Stacks
At the Lighthouse, we were allowed to walk the "craggy" cliffs.
Esha Ness Lighthouse, 40 feet high and 200 feet above sea level. Built in 1929, it was manned by one keeper, until  it was automated in 1974. The original Fresnel Lens was replaced with sealed-beam electric lamps.
 Dee on Craggy Cliffs
Cliff Nesting Herring Gull
Unless they have been planted by a house, there are no trees on Shetland, due to high winds. They even have trouble keeping wind turbines from blowing over.
 We saw many ruins of old craft houses.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, aristocratic landowners forcibly removed tenant farmers to clear the lands for sheep ranching. During "The Clearance" roof timbers were burned to prevent people from reusing the structures. 
Dee's Image from Bus
Our guide told us it has been heartbreaking, to witness the decedents of the diaspora returning to view the lands their ancestors farmed for generations before they were evicted.
Dee's Image from Bus
As the grass is not good for cattle, sheep are everywhere...


You see tufts of wool in the grass and if you pick them up, you will also find a dingleberry or two. Yes, I speak from experience.
They come in all colors.
Dee recorded the sample of "Natural Colours" our guide was passing around.
She was also able to catch this unusual sign:
Seen at Mavis Grind, a narrow isthmus where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean is only separated by 108 feet. It is said the Vikings dragged their long ships across Mæfeiðs grind; it is a regular crossing point for otters.
 
Tangwick Haa Museum (on left)
The Tangwick Haa Museum is located in a former laird's house from the late 17th century.
Diorama of Peat Harvesting
Peat is harvested using a special spade called a tushkar. It is then laid to dry on the heather. It makes a quick-burning fuel for stoves and fires.
Our guide said, "They don't have their patterns written down, it's all in their heads. When they make the sweaters, they just remember the pattern and when to change colours...all while gossiping."
I found more future art projects:
Shetland Ponies where everywhere:
In Shetland, the bones of small ponies have been found, dating back to the Bronze Age.
For their size, they are the strongest of all horse breeds. Used for pulling carts, carrying peat, and working in coal mines.
To withstand the harsh weather, they have dense double winter coats.
Aquaculture is a growing Industry.
They farm everything from brown/sea trout, salmon, rainbow trout, and halibut to shellfish, mussels and oysters.
Back in town we also went site seeing.
 Crest on Post Office
 Dee's Store Image
 My Store Image
One fifth of the total Puffin population of Scotland, breed in Shetland.
And Tinky Winky found a nest.