The weather has been marvellous over the past week. Well, at least I think so, as the days seem to just fly by and merge together somehow. Have you been feeling the same? We are keeping our usual routines up and things have been busy but I still can’t help myself thinking about time and how strange everything seems at the moment, even though we are slowly returning to some kind of normality. The best is probably not to think too much and take every day as it comes.
I like to end every day knowing I’ve walked 10,000 steps which doesn’t always happen but I try. The recent warm sunny weather has definitely been a boost and it makes walking a lot more pleasant.
Last weekend we went to Culswick, a truly stunning little corner of Shetland. In fact I’d go as far as saying that it almost feels like another Shetland microcosmos there.
The walk starts on a track past a small Methodist chapel, leading to Culswick Broch. When you cross the causeway and climb the steep hill past a ruined crofthouse to the broch above, you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views.
The broch stands in a tumble of blocks and though much of its walls were taken apart long ago for local buildings, is still impressive, with its massive triangular lintel stone and some internal chamber structures still visible. We enjoyed our lunch inside the broch and after a little rest we set off along the spectacular coast back to Culswick. The walk back took much longer than expected we we constantly stopped and marvelled at the wildflowers, which seem just incredible this year.
I’ll let you enjoy the views for yourselves now – enjoy! And you can find out details of the walk here.
And here are a few views from my usual Tingwall walk, with a few photos of peat harvesting in progress. Peat is condensed vegetation; mostly composed of Sphagnum moss, which slowly breaks down and over thousands of years it creates a thick moorland. Peat is an incredible ecosystem and peatlands are the most efficient carbon sink in the world.
As Shetland is mostly treeless, until not long time ago, Shetlanders have relied on peat to heat their homes and to cook. Today peat is generally burnt in small stoves as a secondary heat source by only a small amount of people.
As Laurie Goodlad wrote in here recent excellent blog about working the peats, burning peat is a destructive process as it is a fossil fuel, but it’s important to point out that those who cut peat only take what they need and they ensure that the hill is kept in good condition, putting in drainage ditches and channels to keep water moving. In fact, without effective peatland management (which is in essence what peat cutters do) the hill becomes degraded, and landslides are more likely to occur causing more harm to the peat bog than cutting alone.
Stunning views towards Scalloway, Trondra and Burra. We were lucky as the visibility was good and we even spotted Fair Isle in the distance.
Tingwall valley and Tingwall loch.