Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Our summer holiday started on the 1st of July when we took the ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick in Shetland, Northern island group of Britain, about 210 miles (340 km) from Aberdeen. The 12-hour crossing was relatively gentle and after a good night sleep in our berth, we drove to the island West Burra, Bridge-End Outdoor Centre, where Shetland Canoe Club had organised a sea kayak symposium. From Friday until Monday we were spoiled with what was on offer; half-and full day trips, training sessions run by highly qualified coaches, presentations about exciting expeditions to Greenland, Tasmania and Northern Canada and every evening a delicious meal, all in good company of fellow sea kayakers from all over the UK! While I was mainly doing the trips, Jaap has been participating in many training sessions, which eventually got him his BCU 3*. Well done!

From Tuesday until Thursday we hooked up with a few folk we met at the symposium for a kayak trip at Ronas Voe and stayed a couple of nights in a böd; a hostel style of accomodation in a traditional building. A great experience! Then we got the ferry to Yell, stayed there in another böd and contuued our journey to Unst the next day, where Shetland Canoe Club had organised a paddle weekend.We had amazing weather on Saturday when we explored the caves at Burrafirth and another group went up to Muckle Flugga, a rocky island with a lighthouse and the northernmost point of the British Isles. On Sunday however, the weather turned nasty, with storm at night so we had to use our feet again and went to nature reserves Keen of Hamar (where very rare plant species can be found). Nicky, who we met at the symposium is a plant expert, pointed us to the right places (they are really tiny and hard to find in thick mist and pouring rain!). Many thanks!

The next day, after we said goodbye to everyone, we decided to go to nature reserve Hermaness and this time it was beautiful weather again. The swell was still quite big because of the storm so we went for a walk instead. What an amazing views and sooooo many lovely birds!
On Tuesday 13 July Jaap and I explored Muckle Roe and its many caves and tunnels. It was our best kayak experience ever! We completely lost track of time because we were just so involved in playing around, so our first break was after 6 hours. In the end we had been on the water for 8 hours. Tired? Yes, but soooo happy...

Unfortunately the end of our holiday was a bit ruined because of the horrific crossing back home. I was sea sick for 12 hours, non-stop!
Windforce 7/8 coming from the south + huge swell + berth in front of boat = TORTURE
Anyway, the photos and videos (following here soon) remind me of the wonderful time we had. We'll be back again...

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