Alas, our last day of the voyage has come upon us. We spent a quiet night alongside the harbor of Lerwick, the main city on the Shetland Islands. This morning we were up and about early to ready ourselves for the morning activities on offer, which included a wildlife hike, an archaeological outing and a city highlights walk. We happily ate our breakfast and with our engines well stoked, we set off for the day.

Those of us who chose the wildlife walk headed for Sumburgh Head at the southern tip of the Shetland Mainland to view a seabird colony. It was an excellent walk where we saw many birds and even an old lighthouse. It was a great chance to stretch our legs while enjoying the breathtaking views which offered many quiet reflective moments.

The archaeological tour included some remarkable sites covering huge time scales and helped us to continue our understanding of those who went before us. This included the remarkable ruins at Jarlshof. We have been privileged to see many sites on this journey and they certainly have challenged us afresh as to how we view our ancestors.

For those of us who took part in the city highlights walk, it was a chance to appreciate the more recent history of the city and the Shetlands, going back 500 years. Guests saw the places where the huge herring catches were brought into the city, visited the city defenses at Fort Charlotte, walked the small interconnected lanes that allowed people to easily get about the place, and saw war memorials, libraries and churches. It was interesting to see all the different places for Christian worship, which covered all the different denominations. The walk ended at the Shetland Museum and Archives.

If one listened carefully to the enthusiastic chatter during lunch it was obvious that no matter which option was chosen by our guests, they were all equally enjoyed.

When we were all safely back on board, the ship set sail for the city of Bergen in Norway. The waters glistened under the sunny skies and seabirds kept us company for the rest of the day, particularly northern fulmars and the larger gannets. Watching them fly above served as a reminder of how these magnificent birds have made the seas and oceans their home.  

There were two presentations this afternoon. The first was ‘The Sinbad Voyage: Back to the 1001 Nights’ by Tim Severin and the second was ‘The Vikings’ by Vinnie Butler. For tea our wonderful galley team prepared scones with clotted cream, strawberry jam and passion fruit curd.

The day ended with the Captain’s Farewell Cocktails and Dinner. Yes, it is sad that the expedition has come to an end, but we return home challenged, changed, and thankful for all that has been learned, shared and experienced.