Monday, 10 October 2016

Shetland Wool Week 2016

I have been home for just over a week and think I am now ready to try and sum up in words my amazing week on Shetland.  

The preparations had been ongoing for nearly a year so it seemed hard to believe that the time had come to catch the train up to Aberdeen a few Fridays ago.  By the time I boarded the ferry giddy dancing had set in much to the amusement of my two fellow Shetland Wool Week friends (hello ladies)! 

The overnight ferry turned into a serious knitting party.  This is what happens when you get a 'purl' of knitters who happen to also share a love of gin in a bar.  It was a brilliant start to the week - finally meeting those that I only knew through Instagram and making new friends along the way (including the makings of a new knitter).  Needless to say the chatter and laughter went on into the small hours.  

A visit to a blustery Sumburgh Head on the Saturday morning followed by coffee and cake in the stunning cafe blew the cobwebs away from the previous night.  

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.
Sunday I decided to head south from our base in Lerwick to St Ninian's Isle.  The isle is reached by a sand tombolo which in itself is pretty amazing.  
St Ninian's Isle and the tombolo.
Never before have I had to decide which sea side of the beach to walk on.  I must admit to having no real plans but instead just decided to wonder around and see what I came across.  Luckily I eventually found the remains of the ancient chapel towards the end of my walk.

I spent the next few days mainly in Lerwick where I purchased an amazing cape from Jamiesons of Shetland and added my knitted square to the 'From Shetland with Love' blanket.  I also had a very soggy walk with a friend I had recently met (who also loved walking in the wind and rain) around the Knab of Lerwick.  The idea had been to walk to Clickimin Broch but we decided to cut the walk short after finding a gem of a cafe / bar which served a mean mojito.  I really wish I had been wearing my waterproof trousers that walk.... I was soaked to the skin! 

During the week I saw some truly stunning knitwear.  One memorable trip was to Ollaberry Community Hall in Northmavine.  The local community had put on an exhibition of haps along with homebakes and tea to raise funds for their local community.  The ladies were just so lovely, passionate and generous and I will never, ever forget them or their haps on display.  

Haps at Ollaberry.

Bressay Lighthouse.
Another trip during the week was to take the short ferry from Lerwick to Bressay.  I loved walking down to the lighthouse, taking in the scenery and weather (changeable) and exploring some of the derelict croft houses.  At the lighthouse (along with a very welcoming cup of tea) was a lovely collection of garments including spencers and long johns.  They also had an antique loom which I was very kindly allowed to have a go on.  

The loom in the engine room.

My friend and I spent quite a bit of time just chatting and drinking tea with some of the ladies who were helping out.  It was only later I realised that I had been sitting next to someone I follow on Instagram! Luckily we saw each other again at the Makers Market and caught up again.  My day on Bressay was definitely another highlight of the week.

I also just want to say a big hello to the fab ladies whom I drank gin with on the ferry and who then invited us all over for a curry on the Thursday evening.  Despite burning the candle at both ends all week I had a super night!  Same time next year??

Friday was here before I knew it and with it a great trip to Uradale Farm.  Here I made my first yarny purchase of the week!  Ronnie and Sue made the group feel really welcome as they chatted about their organic farm and fed us amazing soup and cake.  

Ronnie and his Shetland Rams.

As you can tell I had the best of weeks!  I was feeling pretty gutted as the ferry departed Lerwick.   Our love of wool and knitting brings people together from all walks of life and forms friendships which will last forever.  x  

See you next year!