Shetland Islands 2015
2014 was notable for the lack of a cycling tour. Whilst we'd had a terrific trip to Sweden where I'd taken part in Siljan Rund with Team Tollco, I didn't even have enough photos to make my traditional bike calendar (which I miss with every month that goes by in 2015). To rectify this situation, I was determined to pencil in a week in the diary and that turned out to be the last week in June. There was only one destination, Shetland for my fourth tour.
The MV Hjaltland would transport me both ways, the cost rose to £399.00 but that included executive cabins and meals. Serco's Northern Isles ferry contract continues to be controversial especially with the present threat to Calmac, so a comparison with two years ago would be interesting.
With the demise of East Coast, I arranged train travel using Virgin's website, first class with a direct train to Aberdeen and a change in Newcastle on the way back, all for £88.00, a lot cheaper than last time.
My daughter bought me the The Shetland Bus by David Howarth for my birthday, which is a wartime account of the special operations that maintained a clandestine link between Shetland and German occupied Norway. The Norwegian sailers first operated from Lunna before moving to Scalloway. I was interested in visiting these places and a route started to emerge.
I also wanted to visit more islands so the Out Skerries ferry timetable largely defined the first part of the week. The remaining visitable islands of Mousa and Ness were possible destinations for the second half. Betty Mouats Böd was fully booked so an idea to venture further south was dropped. As a result, the week's mileage would be modest but I looked forward to the ferry journeys.