Before coming to Shetland we quizzed every Scotsman we spoke with on the mainland (none had been here) and Googled for potential itineraries (and came up empty.) Now that we’re here, we’re exploring with no plan, no destinations in mind, no route. Each day we wake up, make coffee, check the weather (a pointless pursuit; it changes) and decide what to do on the day. So far we’ve been lucky and often have blue skies. Some days we wake up to rain and wind. It may clear up, it may not.
On those cold and rainy days we’re just as happy to sit tight, read, catch up on writing, and wait for a break in the weather.
Sometimes we wake up to fog and mist, but within minutes a patch of blue appears and we’re off.
Just driving over the rolling meadows gives us pleasure. Then we learned about cake fridges. Some are actually marked on Google Maps, our go-to for what to do and where to go. Cake fridges, or honesty boxes, hold home baked treats and often fresh eggs. You choose what you want, put the money in a cashbox and away you go. This one, the Sand Cake Fridge, is down a long one-lane road with barely a house in sight. We learned that most honesty boxes are adjacent to bus stops so you can pick up a pudding (dessert) on your way home.
Shetland is sadly devoid of French bakeries and we’re missing our usual café life so we stocked up on brownies, blondies, and a berry crumble, all for £10. We’ll make our own coffee.
We get our eggs from the honesty boxes too. Fresh and delicious.
Not far from the cake box is Da Gairdins, a 60-acre tract of woodland and gardens created and maintained by Alan and Ruby Inkster for public enjoyment. It’s a registered charity and they accept donations to help with the upkeep. It was beautiful to walk through the quiet wooded paths. The ruby red rhododendron is a new one on me.
We’d been in Shetland a few days before we noticed the blocks of peat drying along the roadside. Once we realized what we were looking at, we were as excited as we were when we first saw copra drying sheds in the Pacific. It’s something you read about that’s unique to a place and, you assume, a time long past, yet both peat and copra are still very much part of life in their respective places.
Yes, there are Shetland ponies.
We find stunning parkups nearly every night, both through crowd-sourced apps and on our own. This one gave us the long-distance view that feeds my soul.