Photos and the City

Slow travel & photography

It´s already been two weeks that I´ve returned to Vienna and said goodbye to my Scottish summer. Or like it is said in Scotland: Haste Ye Back, return soon!. Something I am already planning on!

Taking a walk in Shetland, Scotland.

But let´s start with this year´s adventure! To give a bit of an overview I want to start with a little itinerary:

Edinburgh

I arrived in Edinburgh and it was just a straight-on journey to my apartment in the Dalry area, where I stayed (indoors) for the next 10 days. On day 11 I set my alarm for 6 am just to take a long walk around Edinburgh. Dalry seems to be a really nice and cute area and I definitely have to come back to try out all the coffee shops and charity stores.

Then a bus brought me (and all of my luggage) to Leith to pick up my rental car for the next 6 weeks and off we went to Aberdeen.

I had enough time for a little stroll around Aberdeen before getting ready to board the ferry to Shetland.

Taking a walk in Shetland, Scotland.

Shetland

The next morning I arrived in Shetland and drove directly to my cosy tiny house in Sandwick, just a 25-minute drive from Lerwick. Time for a little walk around the village and to the local beach. Sandwick was the perfect spot to explore the South and West of Shetland.

My next base was situated in Yell, an island further up north from Shetland mainland. Perfect to visit Unst and explore Yell.

And my third and last cottage was in the Northmavine of Shetland. I really did try to cover every corner of the island and almost managed.

Taking a walk in Shetland, Scotland.

Orkney

The ferry from Lerwick to Kirkwall arrived around 23:00 and the island was bathed in the thickest fog, it took me almost an hour to drive to my next home in Envie, on the East coast of Orkney. When I woke up the next morning I was surprised to see my surroundings, the sea and Rousay, the next island just across the loch.

Envie would have been the perfect place to explore Orkney but I kind of had thought that the island would be bigger and booked two other places too, one on the north coast of mainland Orkney, next to Scara Brae and then I had a few days in Stromness.

Taking a walk in Shetland, Scotland.

Assynt – Stoer

I had to say bye to Orkney and went back to the mainland of Scotland and spent the next week high up in the North in Assynt. I had planned this as a week of relaxation. Traffic was busier than on the islands and it was a long single track lane, so I mostly went for walks and explored my immediate surroundings, which were amazing like Clachtoll Beach.

Ullapool

A quick stop in Ullapool for a fun boat ride to the Summer Isles, seeing a sea eagle and lots of dolphins before I was ready to board another ferry to Lewis & Harris

Taking a walk in Shetland, Scotland.

Lewis & Harris

Again I had booked three accommodations, one right at the border of Lewis & North Harris, one in Lewis and one in Tarbert (Harris). There were a few days that already felt a bit like autumn with lots of rain. But I still enjoyed all the amazing beaches and scenery.

Similar to Shetland and Orkney there are so many brochs and cairns from the Bronze age to explore and I loved all the blackhouses.

Skye

My very last ferry ride for this year brought me to Skye and it was a bit like a culture shock as Skye was so busy compared to the islands. Suddenly there were coaches and tours and just lots of people. I still had a lovely time and visited the Fairy Glen and other lovely places.

Taking a walk in Shetland, Scotland.

Glasgow

I got up very early on my last day and got ready for driving back to Edinburgh. I was lucky to experience very little traffic along the way, thanks to being on the road early, and arrived back at the car rental around noon. Bye to my trusty transport and off I went to Glasgow by train. Glasgow was the next culture shock, so many shops and people and traffic and suddenly being back in a big city. But I also had the best weather ever and just enjoyed getting to know the city.

 

South Queensferry

My very last day in Scotland was in South Queensferry, I took the train to Edinburgh and then the bus to South Queensferry. I had booked the hotel because they usually offer a shuttle service to the airport and just learned at the hotel that this service isn´t running at the moment.

Walked into town and got on the boat to Incholm Island to visit the Abbey and then after some time on the island we were picked up again and went for a little cruise around the Forth, saw some seals and the bridges up close.

It was a nice way to end my Scottish summer – see you next year!

 

All pictures are from my very first day in Shetland!

Today is my last day in Orkney and half of my summer in Scotland is already over. Time flies by! Tomorrow the ferry will take me to the North of Scotland for a week in Assynt and then another ferry to Lewis & Harris. Two isles down, two (and one) more to go before I´ll be back home in Vienna (and probably doing another self-isolation).

Orkney was quite the surprise after Shetland. Shetland feels quite rough and raw, with no trees, high cliffs and lots of sheep. Orkney has soft rolling green hills and sometimes reminds me of Ireland. Very little sheep but lots of cows.

So how is travelling in Scotland in times of the Covid virus – it is definitely different than usual but then also not and it is easy to forget about the whole thing.

St. Ninians beach and some sheep waiting for the phone in yell

First of all, keep an eye on the official Scottish government sites to be up to date with the current regulations, they change regularly AND are different from the ones in England or Wales.

 

Since Monday all of Scotland is on Level 0 which has brought a few changes to social distancing (just one meter) and how many people can meet. But we are still required to wear a mask inside a shop or museum or on the ferries. Ferries have reduced capacities as have restaurants and cafés. Here in Orkney, the inner-islands ferries must be prebooked and during the sailing, we stayed in the cars.

When visiting an island we are asked to take a lateral flow test three days prior and on the day of boarding the ferry (or plane) – I brought lots of rapid tests with me and am testing myself every other day and on the days I am on a ferry.

found a heart on a beach in yell and some shetland ponies

It probably isn’t as busy as it usually would be. In Shetland, I was told that all the cruise ships and coaches had been missing, the same here in Orkney. But this week I saw the first coaches driving around and this week the very first cruise ships were arriving in Lerwick and Kirkwall, so things might get busier now.

Not all sites of interest or museums are open – I have quite the list for next time. But there is still enough to explore and visit. or just take a walk along the shore or in the hills.

Again it helps to have an eye on the sites of the Historic Environment of Scotland and the National Trust of Scotland. It is also often required to book tickets for open sites. Track & Trace is in operation at every site, museum and restaurant or café.

I have mostly booked self-catering places, loved every single one so far, and am always greeted with loads of hand soap and disinfectant. Often things like books or DVDs are removed to avoid “contact” with former guests and every place gets deep cleaned.

a friendly dog in shetland

Even when we might stay two meters apart, people are still incredibly friendly and helpful and there are lots of cute dogs to cuddle! I am enjoying every minute so far! After a year mostly spend in my apartment and in & around Vienna this wideness and having all this space is just the most relaxing ever.