Monday, May 25, 2009
Adventures in the northernmost of the northernmost
To Unst, two islands up from Mainland (via Yell) here in the Zetlandic archipelago. A fine, slightly dull day, and all the ferry-louping went without a hitch.
There was me, Martha, Sandy and Elaine, and first stop was at the house of Sandy Nelson, comedian, actor, playwright and bon viveur, now resident in Unst with his wife Caroline. We visited, as one must, the astonishing Baltasound bus shelter, which has had a recent makeover from its leopard-spotted past and is now a vision in Barbara Cartland pink.
Then it was time for lunch. The gorgeously-appointed Northern Lights Cafe and Gallery in Haroldswick was shut, it being a public holiday. I know, I know. A dreadful incident involving a non-flushing toilet necessitated our departure, toute suite, from Foords Chocolate Factory, which meant we could not avail ourselves of the offered mugs of Golden Vegetable soup. Instead we had a fantastic feed at the Baltasound Garage, AKA the Final Checkout (its real name) AKA Charlie's. This has to be one of the great country shops, with everything for sale from angle grinders to designer coffee, whisky to socks. The homemade fish soup was superb, the toasties just great
From there we bounded along Norwick beach, one of the greatest in the country, and then had a look around the Unst Boat Haven, which was, as always, wonderful - friendly, informative, and full of both boats and old British Seagull outboards.
Despite not having booked, we managed to squeeze onto both the Yell ferry and the one to the mainland, (total cost for car and four passengers, all the way to Unst and back, £18)and were back in Hillswick in time for tea. A great day.
Unst has its problems though: cafes closed on public holidays in the middle of the tourist season is not a brilliant notion. The much-vaunted Saxa Vord Resort has all the visual charm of the former RAF base it once was, and certain toilets block all too easily...
Oh, and the beer is good. But we didn't taste any.