After a restless night’s sleep on the 8 hour overnight ferry journey in a “so called”comfy reclining seat and a person whistling at 3 am and someone being sick noisily - very noisily and more than once, we disembarked at 7.30 am into early morning Lerwick.
Rode to the Skip Inn for some breakfast and then found the webcam in the town centre next to the Tourist Information. Waved to everyone at home via the public street webcam link whilst speaking to them on the phone which was a bit of an odd experience.(Link)
Set off Northerly out of Lerwick to climb the massive hill out of town.
This was made even harder by the resurfacing works on our side of the road. What a climb the hill goes on and on and it is blooming steep, although motorists were very considerate when passing!
At the peak I looked forward to payback and good downhill, however my excitement was rather dampened as I rocketed down looking over to the other side of the Voe (a valley sea inlet) where there was another massive long uphill beckoning. It proved very long but not so steep and my first virgin Shetland hill up for the town.
We headed north on the main road to get on to the loop road off the main drag where after 1 hour I spotted an otter in a loch, very much to Johns dismay after him being there previously and never spotting one!! Sat watching it play for a while, taking some photos before it left us. What a treat!
Eventually came back to the busy (quiet by home standards) main road and John's idea to get us fit again and go around the Nesting’s area. It does offer lovely scenery and good riding as it is mostly next to the sea. Wecame a across a garage / shop and had a banana for some energy. Really Really enjoyed the area and riding UNTIL John said I should be prepared when we come to the war memorial where we swing away from the sea and head inland again. HE WAS NOT WRONG!!
We paused and ate sweets looking at the beast ahead steeling ourselves for the challenge.
I was only told after the event that John had failed to climb this without getting off when he first attempted it.Clearly he knew I would bail out if he told the unbridled truth about the climb ahead.
Lots of puffing and panting later we got to the summit which did offer glorious view.
During the whole day I was told, we were to climb 3000- 3500 feet in total. But this was a monster of a climb. It didn't stop. BUT Made it…. just.John gushed with praise at my achievement.
Came upon a lake and rounding it we eventually joined main road North again.
Soon we came into Voe where there was a garage / shop offering food and tea.
Chatted to 2 German cyclists who told us they had had rain all the past week.
Great ! as we were predicted rain for the entire week ahead. Yay
Headed north towards the Toft ferry terminal up the side of a beautiful, majestic and very long hilled Voe (Mossbank) which went on forever.
John kept telling me were at the top… when we weren't!!
"Just one more hill" was his incessant encouragement and total fraud. Despite the long, long uphill the scenery was so worth it - any description I provide would never do it justice.
We stopped just after Mossbank shop to see small boat memorial where everyone died in 1900!! John does have this obsession about all things death and tragic and tricked me into visiting this one. Although it was sad looking that all those lost were so young.
Another hill and John spotted the ferry in the terminal so he chased off like a rocket on the downhill (and a bit of uphill !) to get the ferry to hold for my arrival. 18 MPH with full panniers is a major effort let me inform people. I couldn't keep up as usual but was going so fast I flew onto the boat just as they closed it.
OMG what made it worse was the fact that the journey was only 10 minutes so no chance to rest!
We were now on the island of Yell we were again peddling but not before we got off at the dock and called at Ulstashop on Yell to refuel with tea and any food we could!!
We headed East to go around the Eastern Yell loop road via Burravoe. The roads were blissfully quiet but I could see why there is no traffic. Desolate,isolated and barren with just a few very small pockets of houses. We called in at Aywick stores and the man said we had ridden 6 miles but it was now 3 miles further than when we left, before we get to the top of the island and our final ferry for the day onto Unst.
The riding was pleasant and we progressed well but we had now clocked up about 40 miles before we found Mid Yell and visited harbour loos. A sharp incline took us back on main road North and by this time were starting to get tired and it was getting quite late (around 5:00pm) but we needed to get to top of island and get our next ferry.
With no food and getting weary, the next voe kept going on and on and John was getting quiet which I took as not a good sign. He generally goes quiet when he is worried, or thinking. Found out later he was a bit worried and thinking of emergency alternative arrangements for the night.
As usual I had every confidence in him to have a plan b if needed. (at least we had a tent!)
Had to climb up and down, over and over again to reach the ferry terminal which took forever.
Our final challenge came in the form of a huge voe which we had to go around before climbing over a set of hills and freewheeling down to Gutcher Ferry Terminal
We discussed plans to rough it if no ferry but there were several more and we got the 6:15.
Over in 20 mins.
John said one last hill. It went on and on really steep! And with a cattle grid in the middle! (only loaded pannier cyclists will understand that particular conundrum)
Once over on to Unst and with one good hill still to overcome we plodded on wearily clocking up our 60th mile before we finally reached the hostel at Uyeasound at 7pm (Link)
Finally got there - thank god!! A bed, warmth, shower, toilet!
Hostel had a room free yippee. Downside a dormitory with bunks and people were using the showers and toilets so couldn't even pee!!
Upside lovely showers downside a stalker and people were using the showers and toilets so Curled up in my sleeping bagGrrr............
Anyway, decided to sleep in my sleeping bag after having a shower (after waiting for 3 people).
Started tea at 9pm. Bed- had a good night’s sleep
Did 63 miles 7:30 hours in saddle. Went over 30 mph wow!!
Hardest physically testing day I have ever had but enjoyed every minute of it.
How come so much duress and challenge can leave you so fulfilled and happy?