The morning ferry from Papa Stour to the mainland was much calmer than our first trip. There were four passengers, including us, and 2 vehicles. Neither of which had to be lashed down. I was so relieved!
I spent the trip chatting with Shauna, a woman from Brae who works the ferries. She was very friendly and told me all the places to go on Yell and in Brae. She explained that she had a young son but was single.
“I can’t get married,” she told me. “There would be too many people. I’d have to invite the whole island.” We laughed about that and we’re both happy when the sun started streaming out behind the clouds.
Meanwhile Doug was talking to a woman who was recently widowed who said her husband’s family had lived on Papa Stour for 600 years. 600 years! Now that’s some history.
At the ferry we headed east and north towards the town of Brae, home to the most northerly fish and chips shop in the UK. I had called ahead to reserve a table because they serve gluten-free fish and chips from a dedicated fryer! Heaven!
After eating way too much (but thoroughly enjoying every bite) we headed to the island of Muckle Roe, which has one of the most famous hikes on the island. Of course, we got lost, double backed and I ended up getting directions from a man working outside of his garage who told me stories about working for the US Coast Guard on Shetland.
Every time we’ve hiked it hasn’t been entirely clear where to park. But this time we found a few cars near a farm and followed the guidebook’s instructions to walk between them into a sheep pasture.
In the pasture there was a sign that pointed in two directions. One way was to the Lighthouse and the other was to the Hams. Hams mean havens and the hike was more like a western hike than any we have done. Up and down with a real track and lots of elevation gain above the coast.
We both ran out of cell phone battery so I only have one picture of this spectacular, sunny hike through pink granite cliffs. It took us all afternoon to complete the circular and by the end it was raining again but I insisted we go see Eshaness as well before we took the ferry to Yell.
So D. drove north through more single lane roads with baby sheep playing on the edges and we spent nearly an hour at the Eshaness Lighthouse walking along the cliff side and all I could think about was the seemingly infinite ocean in front of us with no boats or people anywhere in sight.
On the way to the island of Yell (where the Yell are you going?) we stopped for groceries and somehow timed it to meet the ferry exactly as it was boarding the last car.
We arrived at our “chalet” on Yell at Ulsta, with a great view of the ferry just in time for dinner, unpacking, and an episode of Lewis on the BBC.