Early this morning, we arrived to Unst, the northernmost island of the Shetland Island group. We explored this wild and remote place with hikes to the magnificent gannet colony of Hermaness and scenic bus tours of some of the most remote and exposed landscapes in Britain. Those of us into birdlife were in heaven. We couldn’t have timed our visit better given the hustle and bustle of the seabird cliffs. We enjoyed close encounters with the great skuas, golden plovers, skylarks, meadow pipits, and wheatears that thrive in the upland habitats here. They are busying themselves for an approaching summertime of plenty.
This afternoon, we set sail for our evening port of Kirkwall, farther south on the Shetlands. We couldn’t pass the sea cliffs of Noss without taking a closer look. The wind and waves may have been wildly crashing against the foot of the sea cliffs, but that didn’t stop birds from flying around our ship in the thousands as they came and went to their nesting areas. Our very own bird nerd Jim Wilson calls Noss a seabird city, and it definitely felt that way for sure!
In the afternoon, we joined National Geographic photographer Macduff Everton in the Ice Lounge for his talk, “How I Became a National Geographic Photographer.” Just before dinner, we were treated to music by Hjaltadans, a group of fantastic, traditional Shetland Island musicians.
The weather can be unpredictable in these exposed northern islands of Britain, but it didn’t stop our adventures today.