Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Rittmeister
Posts: 42
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 1:46pm

Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby Rittmeister » 12 Nov 2013, 12:11pm

I am looking for a small 4 day adventure in that awfully named 'Twixmas' period. I noticed that there are some quite reasonable Sail&Rail tickets to the Northern Islands from any Scottish station. Last year I went to the Isle of Man over this period and it was one of my favourite tours of 2012.

Is Shetland over this period possible or even advisable?

gloomyandy
Posts: 1040
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 10:46pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby gloomyandy » 12 Nov 2013, 1:30pm

It is a long way to go for just a few days, but then the journey is part of the adventure. I assume it will be an overnight sailing (was when we went a couple of summers ago). It is a fantastic part of the world and you may be able to make use of the bods for cheap accommodation. Days will be short though! Oh and you might want to take a look at this which was filmed on the ferry...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEEoWqccAyg

Have fun

Andy

Rittmeister
Posts: 42
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 1:46pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby Rittmeister » 12 Nov 2013, 1:42pm

Yes. The sailing is overnight, so could train from Manchester, spend some time in Aberdeen, catch the ferry at 1900 and arrive in the morning.

The rough seas are a slight concern though. I have been on some rough crossings before, but this could be different league!

gloomyandy
Posts: 1040
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 10:46pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby gloomyandy » 12 Nov 2013, 5:14pm

I guess it is just pot luck in terms of weather. When we went our outbound crossing was pretty rough with a few people being ill. We didn't have a cabin or anything on the way out and didn't get much sleep. On the way back we had a much smoother crossing and a cabin and had one of the best night sleeps ever!

Not sure how far you would want to travel when you get there but I would certainly recommend the western part of Shetland (Burra and that sort of area) along with a trip out to Muckle Flugga (to see the light house), as being a nice contrast with the busier parts.

Merry_Wanderer
Posts: 1002
Joined: 31 Aug 2012, 9:33am
Location: North Leicestershire

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby Merry_Wanderer » 12 Nov 2013, 5:48pm

gloomyandy wrote:It is a long way to go for just a few days, but then the journey is part of the adventure. I assume it will be an overnight sailing (was when we went a couple of summers ago). It is a fantastic part of the world and you may be able to make use of the bods for cheap accommodation. Days will be short though! Oh and you might want to take a look at this which was filmed on the ferry...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CEEoWqccAyg

Have fun

Andy


Andy - I've seen exactly the same video with the title 'Cruise Ship in Pacific'. I'd be very surprised if the Shetland Ferry had a piano onboard....:-D

molly
Posts: 48
Joined: 23 Mar 2009, 6:09am

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby molly » 12 Nov 2013, 6:57pm

I live and cycle throughout the year in Shetland so it is possible but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone as a mid-winter destination. I commute to work by bike and experience some seriously extreme weather throughout the winter months. Winds are frequently well in excess of 30kts and snowy particularly icy conditions are often a problem so I resort to studded tyres. As mentioned days are short, infact I ride with lights all the time as it doesn't get properly light until between 9&10am then is getting dark by 3pm. Yes we do occasionally have bright days that show off the beauty of Shetland in winter but my experience over the past few years is that these are extremely rare at that time of the year. However this may be just the type of adventure you are looking for!

Mattie
Posts: 421
Joined: 23 Feb 2009, 9:19pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby Mattie » 12 Nov 2013, 7:01pm

I did this a few years ago - not on a bike but rented a car.

It struck me as how much colder it was than down in the south where I come from. My synthetic woollen jumpers were almost useless. The days were much shorter and you would end up returning from a day's exploring in the pitch dark.

Coming back in the dark I was glad of a GPS because I did not see so many road signs out in the sticks, also with no real visual clues as the scenery was similar all around, and with the sun gone, it was very difficult to see where you were and to work out your way home.

The crossing over was rough, but I had a cabin. I also took sea sick tablets but it was not an issue I slept okay. I was embarrassed suddenly when I asked for an English Breakfast in the cafe in the morning ! but it was okay.

I still have these thick woolen jumpers that I bought there, but they are too warm to wear indoors down here in the Channel Islands !

It was a good trip, thoroughly enjoyed it.

gloomyandy
Posts: 1040
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 10:46pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby gloomyandy » 13 Nov 2013, 9:41am

Merry_Wanderer wrote:
Andy - I've seen exactly the same video with the title 'Cruise Ship in Pacific'. I'd be very surprised if the Shetland Ferry had a piano onboard....:-D



I'm sure you are correct. Thinking about it I seem to remember that the tables and chairs on the Shetland ferry had chains to hold them in place, or perhaps that was to stop a boisterous Saturday night crossing getting out of control!

Rittmeister
Posts: 42
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 1:46pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby Rittmeister » 13 Nov 2013, 1:27pm

Thanks for the advice.

If the first video is not actually on the Northlink, then some of the suggested video alternatives of the ship leaving port are!

I will see nearer the time what the weather is like and am always up for a UK tour somewhere different.

John Holiday
Posts: 425
Joined: 2 Nov 2007, 2:01pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby John Holiday » 14 Nov 2013, 12:06pm

I enjoyed a visit to Orkney & Shetland (a week on each) during May of this year. I travelled as a foot passenger from Aberdeen for a reasonable £26.00. I used my usual heavy Thorn 'Raven' Tourer,staying in the excellent Hostels,but on reflection might have been better with my Brompton.
For some reason,you are not allowed on the buses with cycles,even though they will take wheel-chairs & prams & are frquently fairly empty.I did manage to get on one of the smaller buses which had a boot.
A bus assisted ride would be a good way of seeing more of the Islands.
I wrote to to the Tourist Board pointing out that they were missing an opportunity to expand tourism.They agreed, but said Bus Company were not interested.The Bus Company didn't even reply to my letter!

Rittmeister
Posts: 42
Joined: 24 Sep 2013, 1:46pm

Re: Shetland Islands - Between Christmas and New Year

Postby Rittmeister » 23 Dec 2013, 12:12pm

I did not book to go to Shetland in the end.

I booked to go to Norwich and East Anglia instead.

Looking at the weather, it might have been the right call!