The North Atlantic Arc


From Muckle Flugga to the Mull of Galloway





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Wednesday 21 September 2005

Pro Session


A short day--I'm pretty worn out, as I often am in the early days of the trip. I spend a little time in Scalloway and the islands, accessible by causeway, south of it. I take a good nap in the afternoon, hoping to shake off the last of my jet lag.

The session in the Lounge Bar is a much more polished affair than the night before. I've never seen so many accordions in one place in my life! A Norwegian lad, over on the ferry from Bergen just for this, plays some Russian tunes on the violin; his grandfather joins the general jam with his button accordion. A local fiddler who has gained some national reputation (alas, I did not catch his name) causes a buzz when he arrives and sits in for a while. The Canadians and Dutch are there. It's a wonderful evening. I've seen sessions in many pubs around Scotland, and in Ireland and England as well, but nothing that compares to Wednesday night at the Lounge Bar. Perhaps it's the Scandinavian tinge that makes it special for me.

The Lounge Bar has two dozen or so malts. I'm trying to taste things I haven't had before, or not in a long time. Among the surprises for me are Tobermory 10–very cedary; I don't remember that at all--and BenRomach, which strikes me as a mild Ardbeg. I'll have to try them again later to see if my impression is the same.

The hostel has a curfew, so I say goodnight to the Canadians and goodbye to the Dutch--I am off to Unst tomorrow, and they will be gone when I get back. The Canucks are going to Unst as well, and I feel certain I will run into them there.

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Lerwick's central square. You can make out the sign and door of The Lounge Bar up the alley to the left of the optician's shop.

Close But No Cigar

Lerwick's front street, Commercial Street, is at the foot of a hill; a parallel street, Hillhead, runs along the crest of the hill. The two
streets are connected by narrow alleyways, called closes, similar to the closes and winds that run off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
I tried to take as many different ones as possible on my way back and forth from the B&B to town.


Many houses are accessible only via the close. Moving and deliveries must be horrendous!
This garden is unusual--I suspect there was originally another house in the lot, now long gone.


I passed this traffic marking on St Olaf Street every night on my way to the pub. I came to think of it as the Cross Of St Reet,
and it seemed to me to indicate the possibilities of travel--you can go in any direction you want, except back.


The beach at Banna Minn, on the island of West Burra, south of Scalloway.

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