Long before I left for my trip, even before I had decided to go to Shetland, I had heard of the storm petrels migrating nightly to a broch on a deserted island there. When I started making my plans, I booked a reservation as soon as I could. As the time to leave approached, I decided to do the day trip to Mousa Broch as well, to see it in the daylight and to explore the small island where it was built. There is only one tour that goes, Mousa Boat, and they were wonderful!
I got an early start, and since the boat didn’t leave Sandwick until around noon, I drove a little further south to Levenwick beach.
This structure is one of the oldest in Scotland, and is the best-preserved broch as well. (Brochs are peculiar to Northern Scotland and the Islands. I visited a fine example of one in Lewis, Outer Hebrides, in 2018 called Carloway.) The relatively small diameter and unusual construction (thick wall at the base, thinner wall as it ascends) helped it retain most of its height over two millennia. It contains the oldest original stairway in the UK, still in use. Of course, it’s been reinforced over the years to make it safe to visit. But the feeling when you enter is….well, it’s very hard to describe. Generations of people lived there, and it is an awesome standing monument to the persistence and brilliance of humans.
Did I mention that the Northlink Ferry website has fabulous information about Shetland? Well, it does. Here’s its page about Mousa! And also some AWESOME photos.
The walk around the island was pretty benign, but I was ready for an evening off; didn’t even wander out for the sunset.
1 June, 2022
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