58. Day 26 in Shetland: Keen of Hamar and Sandwick Beach

Starting off, though, with some more photos of our croft house in Unst. I visited one other renovated croft house on the island, and it had almost exactly the same layout. This window at the top of the stairs gives you an idea of how thick the walls are. About two feet.

A photo of the croft house at night. Very moody!
Observe: no shower! There was a contraption, but it didn’t work very well. Also: you can’t see it behind the door, but there’s a towel warmer. As there was at EVERY SINGLE place I stayed in the UK.
Mmmmmm Ribena!
Mmmmm Heinz Meanz Beanz!
Beanz on toast!

Our first stop of the day was the Keen of Hamar, just a few miles from our house. It is a very peculiar area, a sweep of serpentine rock the likes of which is not found in many places on earth. It looks blasted, but it is not: there are many varieties of wildflowers and grasses that grow there, and they are pretty hardy! And tiny and beautiful. The following photos are concentrating on the flora, but also the amazing geology of the serpentine rocks. They look nothing like anything else I’ve ever seen. And I just kept shooting them! Embiggen to see the color and details.

David likes photos with hands and/or fingers in them. I humor him.

This was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit: to see a plant that occurs nowhere else but here, on this spot: Edmonston’s Chickweed. AKA Shetland mouse-ear, how cute is that!!

And there it is! We saw quite a few. Easy to miss unless you are looking, for sure.

A very interesting serpentine rock. Well, okay, they all are. After all, it used to be the ocean floor.
A bit of the ocean floor, now up top!
This looks like conglomerate.
This was a misty day that stayed that way, but it never rained.
Mosses and lichens on serpentine.
Water water everywhere. There was no visible burn, so this must be flowing from underground up through this here rock.
Walkin’ on the moon.
Or maybe Mars?
“Ye shall not pass!”

Our next stop was Sandwick Beach, and the ruins of a Norse longhouse right on the sand. A jolly walk through fields and past a ruined manse took us there.

These sheep have THE BEST life.

The site of this Viking longhouse is also called Canmore.

Many generations of Viking families lived here from the 1100’s.
Room with a view, indeed.
Maybe my ancestors? They did come from Norway.
Adventures in selective focus part 1.
Part 2.
What you see in the distance, a ruined chapel and graveyard. We didn’t make it up there. What you don’t see: many, many gannet corpses on this beach. Avian flu.
Solitary walker of the avian variety.
Solitary walker of the human variety.
Leaving Sandwick, one comes across one of the MANY standing stones of Shetland. I wish I had seen more!
Back home. Our croft house in the misty mist. So lovely.
The ruins of the kirk and graveyard next door to us.

While you don’t always get the weather you want in Shetland, you get the weather you get, and it’s always beautiful. I was thrilled to have a misty, moody day to explore the serpentine fields and the ancient Norse longhouse. And then we got to go home to our lovely house and build a fire and have a meal. A perfect day.

24 June, 2022


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