Island in the sun?

Posted August 29, 2010

When my husband told me he had booked a romantic island getaway I imagined he was whisking me off to somewhere balmy and Mediterranean - Capri, Sardinia or maybe Corsica. I was not thinking Shetland.  Yet here I am, stoically facing the buffeting wind and squally showers with the occasional burst of sunshine thrown in as a surprise treat.

I’ve never seen so many sheep in one place; they are literally clinging to hillsides everywhere we go. Teeny, weeny horses (Shetland ponies in the wild) graze alongside them and I have no idea what purpose they serve other than looking decorative for the tourists. Today I spotted seals swimming close to the shore as I walked along a deserted beach. Yesterday, I was dive bombed by a protective gull that was guarding its nest on top of a cliff.          

The people here are cheery but direct; they always want to know what brought you to the island (erm, a big boat) and if you would come back. I don’t know if this is because they want to entice new blood or keep it at arms’ length.

The islanders tell me that last summer was a scorcher but I think they’re just pulling my leg. I imagine it’s always this bracing give or take one or two degrees. And the irony is that I’m surrounded by the freshest, clearest and most inviting water I’ve ever seen but I wouldn’t venture in for a swim even in a wetsuit. Mind you, a local family told me that the sea is safe to bathe in and that they always go for a dip ..... on Boxing Day. I actually think they were serious.

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