Posted on August 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

I’m back from my lovely week in Shetland with Gudrun Johnston and Mary Jane Mucklestone.

My Instagram has a real time photo record of much of the week, so I can point you there to start if you’re curious, and I’ll fill in briefly here some of the things I left out.

Shetland is full of sheep. You likely know that, but you don’t really get it until you are there and see them at every turn.

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Also: ponies (sheep in the background).

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Sheep are so pervasive, that it seems like people have fences around their houses just to keep the sheep out of their yards.

You can walk anywhere you like, but because of the fences for all the sheep, you have a lot of stile scrambling to do.

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We had many lovely walks, but I especially cherish the day we had at Eshaness at the very north end of the main island. I quickly lost track of how many fences we passed over this way.

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Eshaness gives you a clear picture of the geology of the island and the relationship between the scoured landscape and the North Atlantic even when the wind is as calm as it was that afternoon.

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I have about a dozen photos from the day that look a lot like this; little colorful dots of our company peppered over the sheep-clipped turf between my camera and the horizon. I couldn’t stop admiring everything I saw, how raw and elemental the very ground we walked on felt, and how deeply wild the world was around us.

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Birds played in the wind, and the sea growled under the cliffs we walked along. Our destination was Grind o da Navir, or the Devil’s Gate, a channel of volcanic rock fractured and tossed casually aside by past storms, framing a view out to sea. It must be quite a forbidding place when there’s dramatic weather.

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And even so, as wild and ancient as the place seemed, we were always this far from fences and little sheep.

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As many walks as we had, there was mostly knitting and such. I promise you that. There will be more to come, but another day.