I am not really sure where to begin with my Shetland stories so I will start with this place. Burrastow House is on the west side of Shetland and served as our home for the week. You need to know that we had the most amazing weather. Everyone kept telling us that is was not usual. On our arrival day, it was cool and a bit windy but the sky was blue and the hills were so green. In the afternoon, it began to rain lightly but we all had our rain jackets so we headed out for a pre-dinner hike. We were like a group of sheep, following our leader (Mary Jane Mucklestone) single file, up the hill and over the stiles tha divided the fields. We didn’t get too far because the rain and wind picked up. I was happy that my boots and jacket kept me dry, just as advertised.
Burrastow House has comfortable rooms and gathering spaces. We spent a lot of time in the conservatory, knitting, sipping coffee, tea, and wine, sharing tips and patterns, and enjoying the light. Breakfast and dinner were served in the dining room and I have to admit that this was probably the one downside. You put 13-16 women in a dining room and the volume goes up and up. But the food was amazing! Pierre (the proprietor and chef) served us wonderful meals and went out of his way to make sure that those of us with dietary needs did not feel left out (dessert every night!).
Our days were full of adventures. Each morning we would leave Burrastow House and head out for tours of yarn shops, farms, and, museums. We learned about the wool business, sheep keeping, and the history of Shetland knitting. Everyone had a piece of the story to share.
At some point we would eat our lunch and hike or take long walks through hills and fields, sometimes green and squishy, sometimes rocky. This was my favorite time each day. And after the rain that first evening, we had sunshine and blue skies each day.
In the evening, after dinner, my daughter and I would head out again with our new friend Karen. There is light enough for walking until 11 pm so we made sure to make the most of those long days. It took us three evenings to find the seal beach but we persisted and had a great time watching the seals swim near the shore, eyeing us with curiosity. That was really an adventure.
I will share more about the hiking next time but I came home with an increased desire to return to Scotland for more hiking. My boots still have a lot of miles to tread.