The North Atlantic Arc


From Muckle Flugga to the Mull of Galloway





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Monday 26 September 2005

Rain Day


I've done well--I've seen just about everything I wanted to in Shetland, save for a ruined broch here or there, and so when today turns out rainy and miserable, I am able to take a town day without regret. I spend most of the morning at the tourist office online, posting my pearls to the whisky forum. I also manage to get laundry done for an exorbitant fee (worth it to me--few things I hate more than hanging around a laundromat). In the afternoon, I shop up and down the twisting main street of Lerwick, poking into virtually every shop; it doesn't take all that long. I buy some Shetland knitwear for Mom for Christmas, but the one souvenir I want to find is not to be had--a small Shetland flag, a white Scandinavian-style cross on an azure field.

The island of Bressay protects Lerwick's harbor and is a seven-minute ferry ride from the pier. At the other end, the tiny Maryfield House Hotel stands but yards from the landing. I've been planning to get over here all week, and this is my last chance. I'm a bit worried at the small and empty lounge bar when I arrive, but it's early, and the place livens up a bit later. The hotel is run by an expatriate South African, and my dinner of scallops is maybe the best one I've had in Shetland. The Pulteney that follows is smoky and sweet and just the thing after seafood. I fall in with a couple of lads, one local, the other a displaced Londoner, for several games of pool, under the peculiar local rules. Not having played in ages, I quite naturally shoot very well at first, but the more I think about what I'm doing, the more my play deteriorates. It's a fun evening nevertheless; I wish I'd thought to come over here on Saturday to escape the madness. Of course, the place may have been filled with crazed Bressay youth, as well.

Reluctantly, I catch the 9:30 ferry back to Lerwick, standing on the car deck, watching the lights of the town grow larger. A nightcap in the Lounge Bar caps off my Shetland sojourn.

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