I do miss trees! I wondered if there would be an Autumn here without the reds, golds and burnt oranges of Glasgow’s parks.
I went for a walk up Sandsfield, the looming brown hill at the head of Selivoe and found Hairst; Shetland’s Autumn.
I walked along the old Meal Road between Selivoe and Garderhouse. These roads were built at the turn of the 19th Century by the local people – men and women, who had to work in order to receive Government assistance following a series of failed crops over previous years. It’s almost unthinkable now, but it was felt improper to merely give the starving crofters any free help or food. They had to earn it.
Now that the heather and peat are reclaiming the road, I can see how hard it must have been for the folk to dig it out in the first place. This Meal road was used until around the 1900s.
Half-way along the road is a loch, Sandwater. I stopped here for a sit-down, and judging from the footprints in the shingle, I think I must the only human who’s been here for a while!
Then I tackled the hill and the view was worth it. In the south I could see Fitful head, the most southerly point of the mainland and – if you look carefully to the right, I could see the outline of Fair Isle. To the west I could see straight down Selivoe, all the way out to Foula.
I added a couple of stones to the cairn…
On the way down the hill I found sculptural heather and reds and mauves, browns and greens and a perfect swimming hole where two burns meet…
And on the way home I said hello to this little guy, cemented into place by the roady workers, apparently! He’s been fishing by the bridge and drinking his tinny for quite a few years now.