The next stop on my Viking Islands Adventure was the Shetland Islands. For the next three days our small group of intrepid adventurers from Australia, would swell The Shetlands total population of 22,500, by six.
Flying over the fields on our approach, it was obvious how green everything was and how rugged some of the coast line was.
The Shetlands is a sub-Arctic archipelago consisting of about 100 islands but only 16 of them are inhabited. The archipelago has an oceanic climate, moderated by the Gulf Stream. It’s usually windy and cloudy with at least 2mm of rain falling on more than 250 days of the year. Fog is common during summer due to the cooling effect of the sea on mild southerly airflows. Overcast days are therefore common. Due to coastal currents, Lerwick doesn’t experience extreme temperatures. The highest temperature ever recorded was just 23.4º C in July 1991. And the lowest was -8.9º in January 1952 and in 1959.
Our home away from home whilst in The Shetlands was to be Lerwick, the capital, a town of 7,220 inhabitants. Until 1708, Scalloway, on the west coast, was the capital but that small town now has less than 1,000 residents.
I found Lerwick to be much the same as any other Scottish town, a bit grey and dull looking. There’s not a lot of colour used on buildings here to cheer the often overcast days… and there are plenty of those. Lerwick averages only 1,065 hours of sunshine a year – that’s, on average, 2.9 hours of sunshine a day. Now if we compare that with my home town of Canberra, we enjoy a mean daily average of 7.6 hours and that jumps up to about 9 hours a day during summer. I’m used to sunshine! But I wouldn’t find it here.
However, we were to go out to the countryside exploring and I knew that the flowers and bird life would more than make up for any dullness in the buildings in Lerwick. And I was right.
There was indeed much beauty to be enjoyed as we explored the islands. More of that anon D
Photography © DY of jtdytravels