Skip to content

Shetland Islands, Day Six, 16th June, Vementry and Papa Little by Andy Garland

  • by
Map Description automatically generated

Shetland Islands, Day Six, 16th June, Vementry and Papa Little by Andy Garland

 he day began with a slightly more optimistic outlook to the weather than had been the case for the last few days.  We were promised a mere Force 3, gusting 4 wind from the southwest, and the westerly swell was meant to be a feeble ripple of 2m.  We had already earmarked a potential paddle on the west coast that (in theory) should be sheltered from a south-westerly breeze and westerly swell – the  north coast of Vementry island.

We assembled at the fish farm at the hamlet of Vementry on the mainland and made a short downhill carry of our boats and kit to a convenient slipway (Beca and Julian had made an earlier start to go diving from their SOT’s).   Once on the water, our group of 8 paddled across Uyea Sound (which was only about 20m wide at its narrowest point) to the south-eastern side of Vementry island.  From there we proceeded in an anti-clockwise direction around the coast, keeping a keen lookout for otters. We were soon rewarded with numerous sightings of the elusive aquatic mammal. Firstly, we spotted a large group of the White Long-Haired Otter (Otterus sheepus).  Those in the group with the best eyesight also spied a pair of Long-Nosed Otter (Oterus horseus).  Finally, as we rounded a corner, we came across a group of Giant Otter (Oterus cowus).  Ian also reckoned he saw a Eurasian otter (Lutra lutra), but no one else saw it so he was probably imagining things.

A Long-Nosed Otter
A Long-Nosed Otter

We carried on along the coast of the island – rock hopping and exploring the numerous caves, stacks and nooks and crannies.  We also made a slight detour to the Holmes of Uyea Sound (a group of skerries) where we found Becca’s and Julian’s SOT’s anchored close to shore.  We saw bubbles on the water’s surface which proved that they were still breathing somewhere down in the depths, and we got on our way.

The conditions so far had been perfect – sheltered from the wind and swell.  However, as expected, things got a wee bit livelier once we popped our noses around the northern tip of the island, which was exposed to the swell.  A few people went around the Swarbacks Skerry just off the northern headland in somewhat choppy conditions, while the others waited in calmer water before we re-grouped and paddled into Northra Voe for lunch.  We then rapidly made our way ‘point-to-point’ back to our original launching spot.  Here we waved goodbye to Sheena, who had to catch a ferry, and said hello to Becca, who swapped her SOT for a kayak to join us on the 2nd part of our paddle – around the Island of Pappa Little.  We made our way to the Brage Ness headland and then made the short crossing to Moo Ness on Pappa Little.  From there we made our way in an anti-clockwise direction around the island, in calm sheltered conditions.  Our group of keen-eyed nature enthusiasts made several sightings of White Long-Haired Otter, but there were no more sightings of the imaginary Eurasian otter.  We explored the caves and cliffs near Moo Ness and then returned to the slipway via our outward route.

MapDescription automatically generated

Although the weather had prevented us from exploring the best of the Shetland Isles, the paddle was still a fantastic outing.  We went about 25km, rock-hopped to our hearts content, circumnavigated 1 ½ islands and saw at least 3 different types of Otter.  What more could you want!

Click for more photographs……