Chant du monde boréal
Sandshifter, 60N.
Where it all makes sense.



Through Chronicles from Arcania, I shall attempt to share walks with you, this poetics from 60N, where I feel at one with our Earth, my sense of place so maritime.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

nomadic thoughts

adventure day

I love my archipelago.

There are just enough islands to hop onto and embrace its myriad of facets either on your own or with friends...

An end of summer trip to Shetland's most northerly isles of Yell and Unst acts as detox from daily grinding of our lives.  We picked up friends by the roadside and went to explore a few tracks, ferry terminals and carparks, as Alistair was not afraid of taking his 53-seater machine down to the edge of the water.

Yell is a glorious in September.
This 17 mile long island is Shetland's second largest lump of peat...
And yet treasures began at Toft on the mainland, where an otter greeted that Saturday morning along boulders.
Ulsta, West Sandwick, Mid-Yell, Bayanne House right by the burn (stream)... Like magic names right to Gutcher, where we pit-stopped at The Wind Dog (Café) before crossing to magic Unst.

Morning showers did not damper spirits. I saw your eyes on the island. Yell, Shetland, UK

 The café feels like a saloon, the final outpost located at the edge of some blended taste of salty and peaty frontier. There we sat down and shared a homebake and a cup. Andy made us feel just at home. 

The second crossing only lasts five minutes to Belmont, Unst. There, on the way to Baltasound, I tied my hands to humlibaand, as the tarmac narrowed further...
To Uyeasound and its harbour, where I found flowers inside boots and a dragon among lush leaves. ...Remnants from the old artificial world, when Shetlanders had to trade fish, hand-knitted socks, shawls and gansies for the meagrest of subsistance. Those precious morsels of rye bread, tabacco, brandy... Luxury.

Unst's old beehives sleep through the stones. Unst
Today, each bay remains tranquil. No more drifters, coopers, gutters, as herring no longer their king. Every time I retrace steps around the shore at Uyeasound or Baltasound, I stand like a child to the wind and hear the song of ancient oars that survived gales and disasters.
boat haven
 Amidst rivets and fishing nets, my nomadic heart feels at home.  I've never rowed on open sea and yet I feel each humly baand...

That connection so nomadic when I once asked a boat builder from Carbeth what it feels like to float inside a coracle... 

I said I wanted to write poetry and graffiti the calico...
She said, "let's ride the Atlantic."
Coracle. Here's the one I found yesterday inside the Unst Boat Haven shed!

Ruth once built one with her own hands... Took it to water for a ride and her spirit now runs further, as she began to fabricate a bigger craft.

Inside her shed grows a currach. 

You see, your spirit raves around my archipelago, as I dream of expedition SW from Auld Rock and Roost, where tidal currents never rest... Where North Atlantic meets North Sea. sumburgh light Last week alone, I watched that episode of Coast, and wandered around West Ireland, where men rowed currachs through wild waves... Around icebergs, north to Faroe and beyond. Mind you, their craft was designed to tame the might of our north Atlantic! from Galway to Baltimore

That episode nourished my dream, as we returned to the mainland.


  1. fantastic photographs. I felt as if I was with you on your magical journey. Just fabulous x

  2. Thank you very kindly, Abby :-).
    I treasure that adventure day - every mile north to the edge of an island reminds me of my place in the world... It may not look or feel as idyllic as a tropical paradise, but it encompasses the very nature of our Nordic world.
    I sing its beauty as I feel it :-)). Looking beyond its edge is magnetic... My nomadic spirit feels alive. X