Welcome to Shetland. . .Tuesday Travels

This welcome sign is in the town of Lerwick.  We arrived in Lerwick aboard one of the Northlink ferries.

The day we arrived the weather was beautiful.

Lerwick One day while we were exploring the area around the harbour at the centre of the town we saw several of the tender vessels which were used to ferry passengers from the large cruise ship which was anchored in the bay.

Lerwick is a lovely town with many quaint buildings and narrow cobbled streets. This laneway was a delight.

Many of you would know of the TV series called “Shetland” based on the books by Ann Cleeves.While we were in Shetland I was fortunate to be able to attend this evening with Ann Cleeves, an added bonus on our trip to Shetland.  We were also able to see part of an episode being filmed while we were there.

You will recognize this house if you have watched the series.

This next building is the Police station in the series.We spent nine days in Shetland and loved every minute.  More in the next post.


Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, Lewis. . .Tuesday Travels

The Gearrannan Blackhouse Village is located on the island of Lewis quite near to the Callanais Standing Stones and the Carloway Broch.This excerpt is from the information board displayed at the village.It was like stepping back in time when we went inside the houses.

This was a photo of two of the last residents of the village and they reminded me so much of my Auntie Maggie and Auntie Georgie who use to live at Boultach in the highlands of Caithness.

The houses have been restored and some are furnished as they were when they were lived in for the last time.  Others have been restored and updated to be rented out as holiday accommodation and one is a hostel and another is a museum.

An old loom in one of the buildings.You can see the updated skylights in one of the holiday accommodation blackhouses here.

If you ever get to Lewis this is a place you must visit.

Calanais Standing Stones. . . .Tuesday Travels

While on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides we made sure that we visited the Calanais Standing Stones. 

You can see the approaching storm and we were lucky that we were able to duck back to the visitors centre while the storm lasted. The skies literally opened and the wind blew a gale.  The visitors’ centre is the dark roofed building.

The stones have quite a history as they were erected about 5000 years ago and predate Stonehenge.  You can read in detail the history of the stones on the website link at the beginning of this post.

I have to admit that I kept thinking about “Outlander” while we were there.  I haven’t watched the series but I did start to read the first book.  I will need to return to the book at some stage.  This is the cover for the Italian edition.After walking around the stones you can certainly see why the stones were a place of  ritual.


Lews Castle in Stornoway . . . Tuesday Travels

Lews Castle, home for the Museum nan Eilean, is in Stornoway.

The museum is housed in the addition at the back of the castle.  We spent several hours here taking in all the information that was on display.  The highlight for me was the display of the Lewis Chessmen. Only six of the chessmen are in Lewis.  If you click on the images you can see them enlarged.

The story of the chessmen was part of the Lewis trilogy written by Peter May. I had not heard of the chessmen prior to reading the book.  The history of the chessmen is fascinating and you can read about it here.

If you fancy staying in the castle you can read all about it here.

The last of my March books

These are the remaining few books I finished in March.

This was a non-fiction book, my first non-fiction for a while.  I found it extremely interesting and the blurb from the book gives you a good idea of why I found it so interesting.

“I was born into a world that expected very little of women like me. We were meant to tread lightly on the earth, influencing events through our husbands and children, if at all. We were meant to fade into invisibility as we aged. I defied all of these expectations and so have millions of women like me.”

This is the compelling story of Anne Summers’ extraordinary life. Her story has her travelling around the world as she moves from job to job, in newspapers and magazines, advising prime ministers, leading feminist debates, writing memorable and influential books.

Anne shares revealing stories about the famous and powerful people she has worked with or reported on and is refreshingly frank about her own anxieties and mistakes.  Unfettered and Alive is a provocative and inspiring memoir from someone who broke through so many boundaries to show what women can do.

‘It’s the story of a lot of things – Australian politics, feminism, journalism, international intrigue – but most of all it’s the story of an utterly singular woman, who always says “Yes” to life even when it scares her. Her memory for the events, and her frankness about the fear, make this an extraordinary memoir.’ – Annabel Crabb

Anne is perhaps more well known in Australia than the UK or USA but the reading is still relevant no matter where you are.

The Great White Palace was lent to me by a former neighbour who thought I might be interested in the story as I had just returned from a visit to the UK.  She knew I had previously visited Devon and thought this book would suit me.

“This is the story of Tony and Beatrice Porter’s renovation of the near-derelict and long forgotten Art Deco hotel on Burgh Island, after giving up their successful careers as fashion consultants in London’s West End. Up to their necks in debt and with a massive program of repairs and maintenance ahead of them, they gradually labored to restore it to its former glory and into the beautiful, luxurious place it is today.”

This was a super quick read and thoroughly enjoyable. I was interested to see that the hotel was used in the Agatha Christie Poirot series on television.

I would even contemplate making a visit to the island on our next trip to the UK.

I absolutely loved Marcus Zusak’s book.  I could not give a review that would do it justice so I am going to provide a link to a review that I think says it all. It is an expansive, touching saga of an Australian family’s losses and loves.  Interestingly the first few reviews on Goodreads were scathing.  To each his own.

Bridge of Clay Review

Denzel Meyrick is a new Scottish author for me.  I sure am glad that I have found him. I have started with the third instalment in the DCI Daley series but I will have no worries about going back and finding one and two.

“When a senior Edinburgh civil servant spectacularly takes his own life in Kinloch harbour, DCI Jim Daley comes face to face with the murky world of politics. To add to his woes, two local drug dealers lie dead, ritually assassinated. It’s clear that dark forces are at work in the town. With his boss under investigation, his marriage hanging on by a thread, and his sidekick DS Scott wrestling with his own demons, Daley’s world is in meltdown.  When strange lights appear in the sky over Kinloch, it becomes clear that the townsfolk are not the only people at risk. The fate of nations is at stake. Jim Daley must face his worst fears as tragedy strikes. This is not just about a successful investigation, it’s about survival.”

Fast paced crime writing set in Scotland.

“A bus crashes in a savage snowstorm and lands Jack Reacher in the middle of a deadly confrontation. In nearby Bolton, South Dakota, one brave woman is standing up for justice in a small town threatened by sinister forces. If she’s going to live long enough to testify, she’ll need help. Because a killer is coming to Bolton, a coldly proficient assassin who never misses.

Reacher’s original plan was to keep on moving. But the next 61 hours will change everything. The secrets are deadlier and his enemies are stronger than he could have guessed—but so is the woman he’ll risk his life to save.

In his 14th book in the Reacher series Lee Child still gets you hooked.

Stornaway and the importance of Harris Tweed…Tuesday Travels

Our first trip into Stornaway was from Leurbost and we found this magical Aladdin’s cave that housed an incredible collection of Harris Tweed in all forms.

The place was back off the main street and the man who ran the shop was a real character.  We spent some time with him solving all the problems of the world today. 🙂

We did buy some tweed and then headed off to the building that houses the Harris Tweed Authority so we could get the full story of the importance of Harris Tweed to the Outer Hebrides.

The exhibition in the building gave the full story of Harris Tweed.  I didn’t know that there is an act of Parliament relating to Harris Tweed.This map shows the location of the weavers.

We were able to see several looms and were given a description of how they operated.This last loom is operated like a bicycle and the tartan is Macleod of Lewis. We took a photo of the butcher’s shop where apparently the best black pudding is made.Back to the Harris Tweed.  We were lucky enough to be able to visit a croft where tweed was being woven.  There are so many different uses of the fabric so I thought I would share a few photos of the items we spied.The last one is a great way to use up scraps.