After a very enjoyable Christmas period it was time to make my first winter Shetland visit. This was originally meant to help me get through what was going to be a very miserable time, by drowning my sorrows and seeing a few nice birds in the short daylight hours. So fate, being the amusing little shit that he/she is, goes and turns my circumstances around only to make me miserable about coming up here instead!! That's life, but I'm certainly not complaining.
So after leaving the house at 5am I arrived at Birmingham Airport around 6.30. The Aberdeen flight was slightly delayed as the plane had to fill up with Oxygen - surely it would be easier just to open a window! Due to being completely knackered I managed to fall asleep before take off and wake up just as we were landing. Because of the late departure I was unable to jump onto the earlier 9.30 Sumburgh bound plane, so a 3 hour wait at Aberdeen would be necessary. After mooching around this small airport I sat down and read the paper (I don't expect anyone to be still reading this crap by the way). After some 30 minutes an announcement for a Mr Mark Reeder to return to the security desk was made. Shit! I had visions of some dodgy looking security card looking into my case whilst snapping on the rubber gloves and applying a liberal amount of KY jelly on to the finger ends (if I was lucky)!!! Fortunately, depending how you look at it, this was not the case. I had infact dropped my boarding card in the duty free shop whilst purchasing a single malt for Rob. Boarding card back in a safe place I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back down and happy that that was still possible!
The Shetland flight was slightly bizarre in that the plane taxied on to the runway and then turned round and drove back to the terminal to pick up an engineer for a sick plane at Sumburgh. A responsible use of several gallons of aviation fuel Loganair, particularly as the engineer wasn't even there.
Anyhow I got to Shetland at 2pm and promptly cracked my head on the boot of Rob's car something I do once each time I come up here. With the stuff in the car and a dint in my forehead we set off to get some diesel (£1.20 a litre). The pies at Mainlands looked distinctly pre Christmas made and to be honest the Lasagne Pie, I bought was very poor. There was just enough daylight to have a quick visit to Loch of Hillwell. The Redhead Smew (probably the one that was present during my October visit) was still there and a Jackdaw on the fence, both Shetland ticks.
Followers of Rob's blog will be delighted to know that there is indeed green stuff in his fridge and it's not mould. He even has a cookery book!!
As it got dark we had a wander down the road to look at the roosting Jackdaws, apparently the biggest flock ever on Shetland whoopee doo. It started to sleet/snow so we popped back and opened the whisky.