Shetland Islands Day Four, Tuesday 14th June 2022 by Roger Colman
Unfortunately, another very windy day on the island of Shetland. The various weather forecast apps all had various, differing weather predictions, none of them good. With some of us still hopeful for a paddle it fell upon Ian Bell to pull the proverbial rabbit from the hat. Ian delved into his ‘Old Sea Dog Box of Tricks’ and opted for the tried and tested method of, yes, you guessed it, looking out of the window.
Sure enough, an energetic paddle across Voxter Voe, that’s Voxter Bay to you and me, was possible just a couple of hundred yards from our accommodation. So, Ian, Catriona, Andy, Phil’ Becka and I carried our kayaks and kit the short distance to the water’s edge. It was here I was enthusiastically informed we were ‘Going on a Otter hunt’. (Apparently there are no bears on Shetland.)
The Sea State was 3 – slight, 0.30- to 1-meter-high waves, and the wind Force 4 – moderate breeze, small waves, frequent white horses. It was a tough paddle across to South Ness with some tasty side on waves adding to the excitement. Here it was a little more sheltered as we started the otter hunt in earnest while paddling the shoreline back from Skipadock to *Mavis Grind, around to Scarva Taing and back home to the Voxter Outdoor Centre.
I enjoyed this couple of hours paddling the local water and the initial crossing of the Voe (Bay) involved some physical effort in slightly challenging conditions. Unfortunately we might as well have been on a bear hunt as the number of otters seen by me was a big fat zero.
Later that afternoon, Andy; Catriona and Phil asked Ian and I if we would like to join them on a gentle walk. I declined, knowing that Andy had, a couple of weeks earlier, walked the whole 177 miles of the Offa’s Dyke Path. Catriona will be walking all the 268 miles of the Pennine Way shortly after this paddling trip and Phil, among other things, is a Mountain Leader. Ian took up their offer and on his return I was smugly aware I had made the right decision to stay behind with a nice cup of tea. Those three have no idea of what a ‘Gentle Walk’ should be.
*Mavis Grind is only 33 meters wide and the narrowest point on Shetland. This narrow strip of land separates the Atlantic Ocean to the West and the North Sea to the East.)