Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Adventure begins!

I set of from the busy town of Doncaster at seven in the morning to catch the train. This was the start of a very long journey up north. Arrving in Edinburgh just before lunch, I just had twenty minutes to catch my connection trying to manouver myself through hundreds of people waiting to go on their easter holidays. By This time next week, I will be away from the hustle and bustle of town life relaxing on a remote scottish island amongst thousands of seabirds. Escaping from the scottish capital, I continued my journey with ScotRail heading up the east coast of scotland, Which has one of the more scenic train routes with plenty of Common Buzzards soaring above forests. Arriving in The busy city of Aberdeen mid afternoon, I had only a few hours to do any last minute shopping and to explore the mazes of the big shopping centres as for the next half year I have only one small shop which is no bigger then the average living room. I did have time to have my last Costa 'fortune' coffee with a fellow friend which she said there were a alot dolphins outside the harbour today so I should stay out on deck when the Northlink ferry leaves. My hopes of seeing them were raised as I have seen leaping Bottle nosed dolphins there before.
When the Northlink finally left, I took my binoculars out only to spy young  family watching the harbour entrance pointing to the sea, The suspence was getting bigger as I was almost certain they were watching the dolphins, but I had to wait a few minutes until the ferry went around the corner, and as we got there my joy turned to disbelief as it turned out the family was watching a lifeboat speeding around the entrance. I did not want to watch boats, so I scanned the harbour wall ticking of coastal birds.......Shag, Herring Gull, Cormorant, Eider, Pheasant........What? .....Who would of thought it, a gamebird sat amongst the seabirds, At least that provided some entertainment, The Dolphins would of been better those!! After a nice sunset over the scottish mainland, I tried to bunk down for the night with little success as only four hours in to the crossing, The swell decided to get alittle bit too bumpy to a point you did not need alcohol not to walk straight. Finally at 7.30am, the ferry finally docked in lerwick of which I was very eager to get on to dry land. At that time, I could only think about how worse the next and final leg of the journey was going to be but I had a couple of hours wait at the viking bus station before I headed 25 miles down south on the bus. During that time, I was a getting text messages from Deryk Shaw (A new 'Good Shepherd' crewman) saying  we are on our way to pick you up  and its very very roly.......By this time I were taking an extra travel calm tablet which means the small boat crossing is going to be very unpleaseant!. Finally I arrived at Grutness to be greeted by the GS and her very nice crew members and a good cuppa tea......just what I needed to try a prepare myself for what is to come.

 After all of the island weeks food and supplies were loaded up, we headed out in to the noost - one of the roughest seas in the uk as this is where the north sea and atlantic ocean meets. The GS was an ex lifeboat and was disigned to bob around like a cork in those sort of of waters. On this particular day, the sea was in a really bad state (this is an understatement) so we had to stay below deck as the risks was too high of getting thrown over board if we was up on top. The crew was amazing, and recommended to lie down and get to sleep - it has worked in the past. I had it all planned out, I was listening to good choice of music (The Corrs) just about to nod off then bang, The swell has just got bigger, Trying to keep down flat and  anchoring your self to stop sliding from one end of the boat to another and its just impossible to try and sleep, At one point, when I dared to look up out of the small round window, The boat was virtually on its side with the top of the waves touching the glass. I would like to say a big thankyou to the crew Neil, Ian, Darren and Deryk as they really looked after us during a rough crossing, I dont know how they can do that several times a week so My hats go off for them. After three hours of what I call hell, I finally arrived at my desination........FAIR ISLE!!..... I was greeted by some of the lovely islanders along with Hollie, Raven  & Ythan and was met by the new warden and administrator 'David and Susannah Parnaby' along with Will and Gary who I will be working with this season. At present, I feel like its just a big dream and  has not really sunk in that Im on the island but when It does, its going to be just MAGICAL!

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