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, 24 April 2011

Meandering through spring

Between Mousa Broch and Beltaine

If I stick to this Earth Year Calendar, we now stand seven days away from the Greater Sabbath, Beltaine, and will follow the cosmic wheel of seasons.

A week earlier, and we were wandering though the offshore island of Mousa... 
Mousa, home of the wild, flat stones and rust - this big rock, east off my township of Sandwick, is home to its own Iron Age fortification, known as the Mousa Broch (we are talking over 2000 years old construction!) itself under the watchful eyes of Historic Scotland, AND inhabited in summer by the smallest of the Petrel family, the Storm Petrel, locally christened as Peerie Mootie.
Still early in the season, the broch's tenants are yet to land in between stones and beach boulders... We nonetheless had a wild time among skylarks, bonxies as well as two Red-throated divers flying around our heads! 

To give you a greater idea of size of such man-made wonder, here is the gang aginst that broch. And if you want to find out what it really looks once you've entered it, well, let's play Mootie inside those ancient stones. 
Now I'm waiting for both avian and human visitors in this corner of wilderness. Thank you, dear Nadia for your lens!
All Mousa photographs courtesy of Nadia Gould 2011.
And as evening settled, we enjoyed two massive male orcas  playing in the Sound at Burland... I love Saturday night on my 60th Parallel! 

as Earth rotates...

Now, on 21 April, four weeks exactly after our cosmic rite of passage through Ostara, otherwise known as the Vernal Equinox, the island bathed from dawn till dusk in sheer boreal blue.

 I remember staring at my Nordic sky through the windows of many classrooms from Lerwick and hoped it would remain the same till our star slides through the silk of our Atlantic... How I love my northern sky when it fulfills such hope!
So blue, we decided to divert to the very southern tip of the island to salute sunset and seabirds. How magnificent in such light, i never get tired of it. As we are galloping to the azure of the Simmerdim (our light blue night season of summer!), our sun takes so much more time to dip in... To give you a better idea of daytime, today, the sun rose at 0522 and will set at 2038 GMT - in other words, we are enjoying 15 hours and 15 min of light!
As a result, days extend like loose rubberbands and nights shrink like nylon exposed to fire. 
So we wandered around this magical headland... Its occupants played around it and nearby stacks. Common Guillemots, Shags, Fulmars, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and Puffins - all six species amused our hearts. 
It felt like a real summer evening, light, calm, warm and soothing. Back home, my garden and nearby fields teeming with life, as shalders, skylarks, sparrows and blackbirds deafen our hearts! At the same time, two swallows graced our sky. They too now perch on our dizzy latitude.

Beltaine begins in seven days. Beltaine, gateway to da Simmerdim!


  1. live in a wonderful place. I can sense the ancient in the photos and your writings.

  2. I loved Mousa Broch, - the sound of the storm petrels flying into their holes in the simmerdim was amazing.

  3. Thank you kindly, Kay :-)
    Yes, and walking the land reminds you of your place in the world; your significance within it all!

  4. Oh, to experience it is pure magic, Elizabeth!
    Maybe will we do so together if/when you decide to leap back up that far north! :-))

  5. Great photos and a most evocative Blog. When we lived in northern Sweden - at 63.41 - we too had wonderfully long days in summer and extraordinary skies/sunsets etc. Wildlife equally great. Now thinking about returning to Scotland, possibly the Hebrides. Seems like a grand idea to me!

  6. Thank you for dipping in. There's no place like Scotland! :-)))