Our last day on Shetland brought warmth and sunshine. The early mist soon lifted and we enjoyed a great ride to Scalloway, with a population of 1000 it’s the largest settlement on Shetland after Lerwick, and was once the capital of these islands. The route was quite hard with several long climbs, we passed by the site of the Tingwall Parliament, the Norse law making body until the 16th century when ownership of Shetland passed to Scotland. It was situated on a small island on Tingwall loch, we passed several more lochs on the way.
Scalloway was our lunch stop, we looked round the peaceful little town with its colour washed houses and a peculiar set of inscriptions relating to the tides, which I was surprised to learn dated only from 1910. Scalloway Castle was open so we wandered in, by now used to buildings being freely accessible with no admission charge. As we were reading the information boards we heard someone call out to ask if anyone was still inside. Christine shouted back, I was unconcerned, thinking that the the coach party organiser was simply checking that all were present. When we’d finished, we found the door locked. We banged on the perspex that covered the windows and shouted, but the coach party near the visitor centre were too far away, and nobody else was in the immediate vicinity. We were getting worried, our ferry was booked for this evening. After about ten minutes someone heard us and collected the key from the visitor centre to relieve us.
It wasn’t far to Lerwick but the climb out of Scalloway was challenging, after which it was an easy run, calling in on Tesco for some food for the overnight ferry journey on our way in to the town centre. We left our bikes at the hostel and marked Rowan’s birthday by lunching at Olafs, moving on to Peedie’s for dessert as he wanted another taste of their chocolate cheesecake. This time we opted for the white chocolate and Bailey’s which wasn’t so rich as the dark chocolate. We walked to the Knab again and round to the hostel. Did you remember we’d left our tent? We did, and collected it from the hostel, attached it to my pannier rack and rode the short distance to the ferry terminal. No hanging around this time, we could board straight away.
We landed on time at Aberdeen, and were away in time for the 07:52 train but our cycle reservations were for the 09:52. This gave us time for a good cooked vegetarian breakfast in the square adjoining the station, after which Christine went off to find lunch provisions to eat on the train while Rowan and I waited with the bikes. The train was again very busy, the sunny weather made the scenery seem so much more appealing than on the gloomy evening ride up but we were heading towards rain clouds and had a short but very wet ride from York station to my mother’s house.