Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sparrow Graduation - Class of 2010

Afraid I failed in my photographic duty tonight, I missed some classic moments, purely because I was transfixed by what was happening.
When I walked up to the shop this afternoon I noticed dozens of sparrows buzzing around in the same small area. I thought they were maybe feeding on some seeds which had ripened, and gave it little more thought.

But tonight I stood, stunned, in the garden watching the greatest simultaneous take-off of newly fledged chicks that I have ever seen.
Heathrow airport didn't have a look in for flight movements. It seemed like all the little un's had decided that today was perfect for their first flight.
We stood and watched the last half dozen teetering on the edge of the roof, awaiting clearance from air traffic control, and plucking up courage for their launch into the great unknown.
I was a bit worried that the last male would fail to beat the females, but he didn't let me down. The smallest female was last to take to the air.
They all had the same destination for their first flight, a tree about 50 metres from here, where it seemed that every sparrow from all the local nests had decided to gather for a graduation party. There must have been about 200 of them, and unlike Norwegian humans at a party, they were sober. But, yes, they were rather noisy.
The tree was simply moving with the bustle of small excited birds, but everything is quiet now. After their party they went on their way. We just have the little chirps of the Great Tits now to remind us that summer isn't really over yet.
I'm going to miss those little Sparrows. They were well behaved, never crapped on me, and were a source of amusement every time I walked out the door.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Journey Home

This is just going to be a load of pictures, with as little text as I can get away with for fear of inducing sleep in viewers.
I'll start with a nice scene from the ferry on the Anda to Lote crossing, at the head of Utfjorden, looking west through Hundvikfjorden, with the entrance to Gloppe fjorden, centre left.
Our route took us east past the shores of Hornindalsvatn. Over 500 metres deep, it is Europe's deepest lake.
Heading north through Hornindal we took a break at Horndøla bru (bridge). It's rather impressive, and in the background is a sharp peaked mountain called Hornindalsrokken.
Next stop was Hellesylt, a lovely little village at the south end of Sunnylvsfjorden.
Road access to the village is through a short (370m) curving tunnel called Hellesyltporten (The Hellesylt gate), which passes under the hill at the centre of this picture.
The village itself is one of the most scenic in the area.
 Especially the river which cascades down below the road bridge.
A ferry runs between Hellesylt and Geiranger. This route is extremely popular with tourists. I haven't been on it yet but that is on the cards very soon.
Here's the view out the fjord. The entrance to Geirangerfjorden is on the right.
Heading north from Hellesylt we passed through what are possibly the worst tunnels in Norway. Built in the late 50s or early 60s they pass through very unstable rock and there's a lot of water in them. To make matters worse just now the roadsurface of one of them had been dug up for resurfacing. At a few points in the tunnels there are actually small openings in the wall where you get a glimpse of the outside world.
Between the tunnels there are some magical viewpoints.
This is the view from just after the 2nd tunnel, looking in the mouth of Geirangerfjorden. The boat heading in is one of the coastal liners.
And this is the view from the main viewpoint before the last tunnel, looking northeast over Sunnylvsfjorden.
It's just a little bit further out this fjord, at Åkerneset, that a large chunk of the mountain (up to 85 million cubic metres) is being monitored, for fears that it may slip into the fjord creating a tsunami. If it were to happen many villages including Hellesylt could be wiped off the map.
We passed through Stranda and climbed the mountain road towards Sykkylven. There were a few nice mountains worthy of snapping.
The road down into Velledalen drops at about a 10% gradient in places. I stopped at a layby for this picture of the valley.
And the mountain at the north side of the valley.
We caught the ferry from Aursnes to Magerholm, across Storfjorden.
This is the view, in the fjord.
The view back towards Aursnes and Sykkylven.
And the view west towards Ålesund, which nestles behind the hills in the centre of the picture.
While on the ferry I spotted Peerie Trowie studying the map. No doubt plotting a devious route for our next road trip. By the way, I think that's only the 3rd time the sunroof of the car has been open this year.
Hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Home again..

Shetland is safe for a while again. Me and Peerie Trowie are safely back to the sweltering heat of Vestnes.
Off with the winter jacket which was so useful in Shetland, long underwear tucked safely away in a drawer, and back to sunshine, shorts, smoked pork cutlets, and having a nap in the afternoon. ;)
Honestly though, the Shetland weather wasn't all that bad, and quite surprised me in fact. The over indulgence in intoxicating liquids didn't surprise me, and wasn't all that bad either.
Obviously, from my point of view, visiting Shetland was all about catching up with family. And of course introducing the new wife.
It was also great to meet some new folk who I'd only encountered online before, Kozetland1 and EM. Gentlemen both, and very enjoyable company for a little drink at the Sandwick Social Club.
I'll likely look back over the Shetland pictures I took, and maybe come up with some posts from them, perhaps to the embarrassment of some folk. ;)

But first, the journey home.
The flight to Bergen was nice, exactly one hour, and although the weather looked nice it got duller and greyer as we drove north. We stopped for a late lunch at Østereidet, on the north side of Osterfjorden. Here's what view there was, towards Bernes.

I'm afraid I'm not really a fan of that area of Norway, so we made our way as quickly as we could, north to Sognefjorden. When we got to the ferry at Oppedal we had to wait for ages. I think that one of the ferries had broken down, and although another one had been brought in, there was a bit of a backlog.
Sognefjord is the longest of the Norwegian fjords, and at well over 1200 metres deep in places, it's also the deepest. Normally I'd get a decent sunny picture, but this is the best I could do.
When we got off the ferry at Lavik we headed east along the fjord to Vadheim, turned north to Førde, and east towards Jølster. As it was getting late we meant to find a cabin in the area of Jølstravatnet, but ended up going north into Våtedalen (the wet valley) to Egge, a place where we'd stayed before.
I really must get around to doing a proper post about holiday cabins. Anybody thinking about a holiday in Norway, but scared by the price of hotels, will see that it's not too bad. Anyway, here's the one we stayed in.
When we got up this morning the sun was shining and Norway was looking beautiful again. I took this snap of the river which runs down through Våtedalen. The river is fed by melt from a glacier, and can have a very weird cold green colour to it, which this picture doesn't really show up correctly. Because the river is so cold the temperature in the valley can be quite a few degrees below normal, so it's a good place to stop in hot weather.
Back on the road, and scenery like this was the norm. A little bit hazy, but calm and the temperature was climbing towards the mid 20sC
We headed north to Anda to get the ferry across Utfjorden to Lote. Here's a nice picture from the ferry of the edge of a small glacier called Glegnalundsbreen.
I'll continue this tomorrow with some more nice pictures, but for now I have to go and check on the quality of the duty free we bought. ;)

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Not maybe a mystery, but....

This is one of the best examples of a street-art mural, legal or illegal, that I've ever seen.
Kozetland1 knows exactly where it is, so I needn't even ask where it is. Unless of course he hasn't seen it yet, in which case I'll feel really chuffed. HE HE!!!!
I'll guess that the artist was a fan of 'Finding Nemo'

Yun's definately aa fir enoo.
Must go and join Sis in the demolition of a bottle of preservative..

Today's mystery shot..

Which building is this architectural feature on?
The turret is one of many on buildings in Lerwick, these turrets were a sort of signature feature of buildings built by architect and builder John M Aitken.

Yun's aa fir enoo

Todays mystery location....

If Kozetland1 gets this one I think I'll eat my hat.
For everybody else, here's a clue.
It's a lane in Lerwick.

Exiting post now, chuckling happily. I think I've beat Kozetland1 this time.

He He.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Random thoughts from Shetland

It's not often I get a chance to see the winch frames I make, as a finished article, so seeing this ship in Scalloway I just had to take a couple of pics,
Then we went for a bit of a hike in the hills, since it was a beautiful day. Looking west towards Foula, on the horizon.
And north over the Tingwall Valley.
Scenes like those are what make Shetland what it is. Barren and beautiful.
But the days of seeing scenes like those are fast coming to an end. All too soon it will be impossible to take a picture of Shetland without getting at least one of these damned things in the frame.
A great scene totally spoiled. GRRRRR!!!!
Maybe this is the future of photography in Shetland. Arty farty pictures of whirlygigs.
Of course coastal scenes will not be damaged by the windmills, but no doubt the Shetland Islands Council will manage to find some way to bugger up the coastline in their drive to destroy Shetland as quickly, and as expensively, as they can.
So I'd better take as many pictures of the coast now, so I can sit in the unspoiled beauty of Norway and remember Shetland as it should be.
Shetland in years to come will be re-defined in most descriptive documents. Most likely something like this:

"Shetland: Natural beauty, buggered by elected representatives"

Yun's aa fir enoo

Friday, July 23, 2010

Today's mystery location in Shetland

Been wandering around today, enjoying Shetland's summer for this year,
As I've said before, Shetland has a beautiful summer, if you happen to be there on that particular day.

Since Kozetland 1 was so quick to get the last 2 locations perfect, very quickly, I had to try for something a bit harder today,
Try this one.
If Kozetland gets this one, I'll definitely buy him a beer, or three.

Yun's aa fir enoo

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Today's mystery location....

Anybody like to have a guess where this is?
I'm fairly sure one of my readers will get it right away.

Coastal Scene

It's amazing how far we had to go, just to get a picture of the coast with no rain.
Guess where..

Must go and explore this strange place now...

Yun's aa fir enoo.

On the road again

Coastal tour of Norway,,,, forget it.
Left Molde in drizzle and mist. That cleared up and turned into rain.
After a couple of ferries, no scenery, and a few more hours the rain changed into pissing down cats and dogs.
Changed plans, gave up on the coast, and headed inland.
Rain stopped for a while when we stopped at an overnight cabin in Forde. I did mention that it had "Cleared up, ready for a day of sh**e". I was right.
This morning it was raining Elephants and larger things. Won't need to wash the car for years.

I'll post a picture in the morning from our latest location in the morning. We eventually found a place with no real rain.

Yun's aa fir enoo

Monday, July 19, 2010

That new suit I bought....

Suits are serious devices of torture, and I had to wear my new one today for a little trip to town.
The town of Molde was a bit chaotic today since the Jazz Festival starts today, which means that the only decent street through town was closed to traffic. So it took a lot of bad words about the other roads before we got to our destination.
Weather, as usual was a bit rubbish, but I took a few nice pictures from the ferry.
There was a cruise ship in port, the 'Black Watch'.
Here's the posh residential area of the harbour.
And another small cruise ship coming in, the 'Adriana III'.

Oh, nearly forgot what I started to post about. The reason for wearing the suit.
Simple, I eventually got around to making an honest woman of my Peerie Trowie.
Here's the official wedding picture.
Ooops! that's the unofficial one, here's the real one. ;)
Peerie Trowie always looks good when she gets her national dress on, and I scrubbed up not too bad.

Yun's aa fir enoo.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Heland - A Shetland Bus boat.

Built in 1937, just next door to the yard I work in now, the M/K Heland is fairly typical of the fishing boats from that period.
60 feet long and was powered by a 85hp Håhjem engine.
Owned by Severin A. Roald, Arne A. Roald, and Olav Røsvik, from the island of Vigra, where Ålesund airport is now located.
The boat was used, depending on the season, for herring, cod, or halibut fishing, and even whaling.

She has been painstakingly restored, between 1994 and 1998, to her former glory. Here's a picture of her lying at the Sunnmøre Museum at Ålesund.
Her role changed dramatically from fishing when Norway was occupied by the Germans during World War 2. Between November 1941 and February 1942 she made several trips to Shetland carrying refugees from the Ålesund area. From then on she became one of the Shetland bus boats and made many crossings to Norway from Shetland, transporting weapons, ammunition, refugees, and resistance fighters.
She continued in this role until until late 1943, when 3 American submarine chasers, the Vigra, Hitra, and Hessa, took over the Shetland Bus crossings.

After the war she continued to operate as a fishing vessel until the late 1960s. In 1963 she was fitted with another engine, a 140hp Heimdal, which was built in Molde in 1953.

In 1971 she was donated to the Sunnmøre museum and eventually restored.

She has returned to Shetland since her restoration. Her first visit was in 2002 when she transported stones to Shetland for the Shetland Bus Memorial. The stones had been collected from the home areas of all 44 men whose deaths are remembered on the memorial. The Heland returned again to Scalloway in 2003 for the unveiling of the memorial.
Much more information can be found at these links:
The Shetland Bus Boats - Shetlopedia
The Shetland Bus Memorial - Shetlopedia

That's some of the history, now here's some more pictures.
And here's my favourite picture, the engine.
The man who showed us around gave an excellent description of the engine and all its workings.
Here's a view down to the crew accommodation, looks a bit cramped.
But they had room for a nice little stove.
The picture above the crews cabin table is Scalloway Harbour, and the plaques to the right of the picture are from the Shetland Islands Council and Lerwick Port Authority.
I think I would kill to have the old radio on that table.

Anyway, it's a fascinating boat to look around, so if you ever get the chance, don't miss it.

Yun's aa fir enoo.