43. Day 11 in Shetland: Leaving Foula, Stanydale Settlement, and Settling in Skeld

It was a foggy morning, but no delays getting from Foula to Tingwall. I took the long way to Skeld to my digs with Dave and Debbie at their Bohemian paradise of a rambling home. They made me welcome and the place felt like home immediately. More photos of their place to come, but for now, here are some ponies!

Just hanging out, as they do.
One approaches Shetland ponies with some caution. They can be a little cranky. This one was not!
I’ll be taking a misty morning hop.
On time!
On da ground!
Where the heart is, that’s where I was staying. I drove from the blue suitcase LOL. It was a gorgeous drive! Lots of peat. Lots of it. And single track roads a lot of the way. Stopped at Walls Shop for food along the way.

My hosts were so wonderful! When Debbie found out my knee was bothering me, she loaned me her stretchy knee brace and gave me some advice about best short walks. High on my list even before that was the ruin of Stanydale Temple and settlement. It was an easy walk from the road.

One thing about this part of Shetland, there are ruins and burial cairns EVERYWHERE! I mean, the place is lousy with ’em! Look at the info board above.
As you can see, I had another stunning day. This is a little stream (they are called burns here), and the flowers were so pretty.
Evidence of a settlement and burial cairn up there.
Remains of a round house.
More evidence of a farming settlement.
And a frog.
What the temple likely looked like. Its origin and purpose still a total mystery.

Then I got distracted by these beautiful stones and the lichen thereon.

And also, the peat bog flora.

A little about cottongrass: bog cotton or Lucka Minnie’s Oo (‘oo’ is Shetland and Scottish word for wool whereas Lucka Minnie is a witch character from Shetland and Orkney folklore). Its long, soft, lustrous fibery flowers cover Shetland meadows in snow white carpets. Interestingly, the Polish name for cottongrass is ‘wełnianka’ what can be translated as ‘woollen grass’ – a noticeable affinity with the Shetland name.

The inset sections may have been where worthies sat during ceremonies or community gatherings. No one knows!
One of the postholes. Its size indicates a quite large pole, so the roof must have been substantial.
Nearby standing stones.
I love to touch the old stones.
Burial cairn.
And another. One sees them atop hills almost everywhere in this part of Shetland.
Veggie and chick pea masala, a pickle, and a cider. I really enjoyed the Rosamunde Pilcher book — not my usual style, but very sweet and … cozy, with just enough bite.

9 June, 2022


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