The weather forecast hadn't looked great for today and when we woke up this morning we could hear the wind howling and the rain pouring down outside. We decided to make a relaxed start to the morning and go to get breakfast at the Fjara cafe where we'd eaten on Wednesday morning. It felt like longer than that since we'd arrived on Shetland!
The view from the car park outside the cafe was still pretty, but the sea looked a lot choppier than it had yesterday. Typical when we have a ferry crossing this evening
Breakfast was just as good as it had been on Wednesday and by the time we'd finished eating, it looked like the weather might be starting to clear up. We had plenty of time before checking in for our ferry to Kirkwall at 16.30, so we decided to start by driving down to Sumburgh on the southern tip of the island again.
We enjoyed seeing the views again, although the sea looked pretty choppy here too.
As we were driving back down from the lighthouse at Sumburgh, we caught sight of an amazing rainbow above the airport.
It looked even more beautiful above the beach.
Our main plan for the day was to drive to the northwestern peninsula of Northmavine.
As ever on Shetland, wherever we drove the views were wonderful.
In some places the weather still looked quite dark and cloudy...
...but overall the day was brighter than the forecast had led me to believe.
The Eshaness peninsula is famous for its cliffs and it wasn't long before we started getting views which suggested that we were heading in the right direction.
We drove through a heavy burst of rain as we followed the signposts towards Eshaness, but once we got to the car park things were looking sunny again.
First impressions were that the cliffs were indeed very impressive.
A signpost directed us to a coastal walk around the top of the cliffs.
It was quite windy, but the wind was blowing us away from the cliffs rather than towards them, so we were able to get close enough for some good photos
I thought the path might be short, but actually we were able to walk for a really long way.
The route led us all the way around this large rocky inlet.
From here we could see back up to the Eshaness lighthouse where we'd started.
From here the path continued far into the distance along the cliff tops.
The views were really stunning
As we walked we also passed numerous pretty little lakes like this one. Overall the ground was quite boggy, so we were glad that we'd changed into walking boots.
We turned a corner and saw more amazing views.
It was hard to resist taking photograph after photograph.
The waves in the sea were absolutely incredible....
...as was the white water swirling beneath these cliffs.
The sky was a bright shade of blue now so the colour of the water was gorgeous, but I was hoping that the waves might calm down a bit before it was time for us to board the ferry to Orkney
It was tempting to just keep following the path indefinitely.
It was mid afternoon by this point though so I knew that sometime soon we were going to have to turn around.
Cliff top walks are beautiful, but they're not circular
When we did start walking back towards the lighthouse car park, we noticed that the sky was looking greyer. Somehow the weather managed to turn from brilliant sunshine to violent hailstorm within five minutes, and we got completely soaked on the journey back!
Never mind, it was a wonderful walk and a great end to our time on Shetland
Tim turned up the heating in the car to help us dry out and we began driving back towards Lerwick. Looking at the views now, you wouldn't know that it had ever rained!
We arrived back in Lerwick around 16.30, just on time to check in for the ferry which set sail on schedule at 17.30. The journey back to Kirkwall seems to be slightly shorter than the journey out, so we'll be arriving on Orkney around 11pm this evening. The captain warned that the sea might be rough as far as Fair Isle, but so far it doesn't feel as rough as the weather we had on the way from Scrabster to Stromness the other day We're staying overnight tonight in a hotel in Kirkwall, before driving across to Stromness tomorrow morning and taking the ferry back to the mainland to continue our journey around the north of Scotland.