We went on a yomp to Fethaland, the northernmost point of Shetland’s mainland. It was a perfect day for a walk – overcast and mild with no wind.
Lots of cliffs to peer over…
We saw nobody on our trek, but the point is littered with reminders of the past. Fethaland used to be a seriously busy fishing station for the Haaf fishing. Men would leave from here in open boats to spend 2-3 days at sea, up to 65 km from land, catching, catching, catching fish. The fish were then brought back to be laid out and dried on the beach, before being exported to the continent.
We had our lunch on the same beach, singing to a dozen very curious seals.
Between trips, fishermen would stay in these lodges – there were up to 36 here. So many fishermen! The roofs are less steeply angled than other Shetland buildings and I guess this is because they used to remove the wood and turf roof at the end of each season to protect it from the winter gales!
On the way home we stopped to have a look at the Altaire at Collafirth Pier. The Altaire is an enormous pelagic trawler, one of the largest in the Scottish fleet. It dwarves the pier and surrounding area, and I reckon, is about 10 times the size of the old sixareens that would have been used for the Haaf. And probably manned with the same number of crew.
I’m going to be a lighthouse keeper when I grow up.