Brian Cheung
IMG_9798.jpg

Northbound

Thoughts, photos and anecdotes from my travels through Norway, Scotland and Finland.

Cliff Walks

After about five days of near continuous gales, I was starting to think that maybe this would just be the norm. It didn’t help that I started feeling (and still do) a bit under the weather. It’s nothing life threatening, just a lot of congestion and excess phlegm/snot, but in that state you just want to hide inside anyway. Today however I noticed that the background howling had gone away at last (momentarily at least). 

Feeling like conditions could change in an instant I dropped what I was doing and went for a brisk stroll along the cliffs heading south towards the end point of Bressay. As always my shoes, socks and feet got a bit wet striding through thickets of grass and scrub, but at least I avoided sinking ankle deep into any mud puddles this time. 

Approaching in from the road, you don’t get a sense of the lighthouse’s position on the sea cliffs. However as I walked away in the opposite direction and up the hilly cliffs I realised that the lighthouse sits on a promontory that has its own dramatic rocky archway jutting out into the water. Obviously the archway doesn't sit right underneath the buildings so there’s no immediate threat of everything eroding and crumbling into the sea, but it is very cool nonetheless.

As I ventured closer to the cliff’s edge I imagined all the mindless sheep over the years taking a step too far and falling to their deaths in the search for good grass. It wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the Cliffs of Moher, but I was very much aware of how alone I was up there, and how no one would probably hear me screaming if I took a tumble. 

Further along the cliffs opened up and suddenly I was surrounded by hundreds of sea birds (mostly fulmars) whose nests lined the rock walls below me. It was a bit overwhelming to stand up there with a panoramic view of the North Sea while curious gulls flew unashamedly close, maybe wondering what kind of bird I was. From the top I could see for another few miles to the peninsula that caps off the southern point of Bressay. The rain had started up again by then so I decided not to keep going and made the descent back to the cottage. 

shetland, scotlandBrian Cheung