By Photogen

Croft on Fetlar

Yesterday that elusive sunset materialised by which time I had uploaded my photo of Sandwick Bay. The sky was clear and around 10pm the sun turned into a ball of pink and sank below the horizon of the the Bluemull Sound. I was told this was a rare occurrence as it usually disappeared into a distant bank of cloud. So I was thrilled to have captured some great atmospheric shots for this year's Unst album.

Today the nearby island of Fetlar (25 minutes by ferry) was our destination as the day was once again glorious. Fetlar used to have a thriving population of 700 crofting people but is now reduced to about 70/80 residents, many of whom are involved in the tourist/arts and crafts business. It still has a small agricultural economy and the picture shows a croft and the ubiquitous sheep and lambs that roam the fields.

However, the biggest draw is some of the country's rarest breeding birds - the red-necked phalarope, the whimbrel and red-throated divers. We walked from the car park to the RSPB hide at Funzie Bay and found that it contained six bird-watchers with seriously long lenses trained on the marshland outside. They looked as if they were there for the duration, and spoke not a word! We moved quietly on, collected baguettes at the local cafe, headed for Tresta Bay, and a picnic!

The 2012 Fetlar Interpretive Centre gives a marvellous insight into the island's culture and current regeneration. They have local crafts and old recordings of some of the Fetlar folk speaking about their working lives. A great place to visit even if the birds never show up when you're there!

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