Thursday, 12 September 2013

Northern Sky

The old harbour at Lerwick, Shetland
Last week I visited Shetland for the first time, researching a forthcoming book on artist and designer Peggy Angus. This is an exciting project, which I will post about in more detail soon, but I was in Lerwick to talk with Peggy's daughter Victoria Gibson and other members of the family. Victoria designs fabulous jumpers and other forms of knitwear, which you can order online or buy at the Spiders Web shop in Lerwick. Some designs are available at the Peerie Shop and Cafe, which is run by her daughter Emma, alongside all manner of cards, ceramics and other treats. The coffee is gorgeous...

Like most hopeless romantics I have enjoyed periods of obsessive Nick Drake-ism, and could at one time play this one on the guitar. I've always loved the high, pale skies of the northern summer, though I'm less keen on the dark, low skies of the northern winter. I know you can't have one without the other but as the years go by that winter apartment in the Canaries sounds increasingly appealing...

There wasn't much time for sightseeing, and I missed the Northern Lights - damn! - but I did look at the sky quite a lot, particularly on the ferry. On the way home the captain kindly took us around the island of Bressay to look at the gannet colony on the cliffs of Noss. It was the most beautiful evening imaginable, and as we headed south for Aberdeen we were followed by gannets and fulmars, which cruised along only feet from the observation deck. I couldn't resist trying to take a picture of one, although I don't think I'll be winning any prizes...

Aberdeen, with expensive looking oil company workboat

Leaving Aberdeen, only 12 hours to Shetland

Now, where's the shipping forecast when you need it?

Dawn (ish), southern Shetland

Approaching Lerwick, still pretty early

Looking from Lerwick across to Brassay, but the sky steals the scene - again

Heading home, dusk this time

Can I have that sky painted on my ceiling, please?

Gannet cliffs on left. Sky becoming ridiculous

About a million gannets, but too far away to see

Here are a couple...

They don't have clouds like this in Bristol

Probably a gannet

Now that's definitely one... Next stop, Aberdeen


  1. A sky is as good as a holiday. Thanks for these beautiful images.

  2. These images are all fabulous James

  3. Thanks for your comments - glad you enjoyed the pictures!

  4. Wonderful stuff. Memories of when I sailed round these parts back in the 80s....

  5. Thanks Dru - those gannets were fun!

  6. Just thank you for those marvellous skies and the music of Nick Drake, several minutes of pure tranquility and nostalgia.

  7. Thanks Thelma - it's always nice to have a break and drift for a minute or two...