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Today I took my second dip of the year in the sea; this time it was the North Atlantic (rather than the North Sea) – and this time it was unscheduled.
Shetland’s eastern seaboard is flanked by the North Sea – a marginal sea of the North Atlantic stretching across to the mainland of northwestern Europe – on the west side, our 'wild' frontier plays host to the full force of the powerful North Atlantic, bringing storms, ravaging waves and an abundance of seabirds and mammals. With nothing between us and North America the waves which assault the western coastal fringes have had thousands of miles at sea to grow before expelling their mighty energy on our shores.
Both the Atlantic and the North Sea meet with a rip-roaring clash of personalities at the southernmost and northernmost tips of Shetland – Sumburgh Head and Muckle Flugga.
The sea has provided so much for the isles over the years with fishing, aquaculture, oil and of course – pleasure. It’s said that Shetlanders have saat in da blood. And this was no exception today as I felt the full force of the cold salt water as it seeped into my knickers.
Today, while I was out taking photos and videos of the stormy seas I was swept off my feet by an incoming rogue wave, and – ironically – I captured the whole sorry episode on my iPhone. I shouldn't have been so close to the edge and I shouldn't have been glued to my phone. These are the things I tell people all the time when I have my tour guide hat on. Unfortunately, today, the desire to get a good photo got the better of my better judgement and I was – literally – swept away.
So, I am writing this post to act as a reminder – and a warning – to both visitors, (myself) and locals alike to take care when out and about in Shetland.
As someone who grew up here I should, firstly, know better, and secondly, I have probably become complacent to the power of nature.
So here are a few pointers to bear in mind when you visit:
And an additional one (added today!):
At the start, I said that this was my second dip in the sea this year. The first swim was a planned snorkel in the North Sea, and I had on a wetsuit.
So please – go and explore – restrictions on where people can go are limited to courtesy and common sense, all that we ask is that you do it safely.
So stay safe and enjoy your trip – your Shetland adventure awaits.
A little about Laurie
Hello, and welcome to my blog. I hope that you find what you're looking for, whether you are planning that perfect holiday or maybe you're from Shetland and looking for some inspiration. Hopefully, there is something here for everyone.