An explorer's guide to the islands of Britain

https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/breakingdownbarrierswithbrynn

Day 10 of our virtual island bagging journey

Today’s journey: meeting Bryn and high points of Yell, Fetlar & more

Today’s step-up height achieved: 1515 metres (wow!)

We’ve travelled all the way from the Channel Islands to Shetland so far to see our fellow Ordnance Survey Getoutside Champion, Bryn on his home island of Yell. We called in for a cuppa with him and his mum Kim and sister Faith. Now Brynn is an amazing guy. He was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 5, and then ADHD and brittle asthma. At the age of 11, he started to develop cramps, tight muscles and tremors in both legs and now both of his ankles are frozen at 40°.

Thing is Brynn loves adventures, the great outdoors, archery and skiing (yep he’s mastered mono skiing too) and so nothing is going to stop him. What he needs is a new lightweight active wheelchair so that he can get outdoors and do more of what he loves. So to raise money he has set himself the challenge of travelling a virtual 1679 miles around the outside edge of Shetland’s Coastline in his NHS wheelchair on exercise rollers and is fundraising for Ability Shetland through his Justgiving page https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/breakingdownbarrierswithbrynn

Truly inspired by this family we reluctantly left to bag the Hill of Bouster (210m) and to explore more of the un uninhabited moorland, known as ‘da Wilds o’ Yell’ and RSPB’s reserve at Lumbister, the Yell Sound islands and the island of Hascosay spotting loads of otters on the way.

On to the ferry to Fetlar, ‘the island of the fat land’, we bagged Vord Hill (159m) near the airstrip. We then picked our way through the ruins of human settlements from the Stone Age, through the Picts and the Norse, to the 19th century Clearances. Derek delayed us a bit. He’s a bit of a secret twitcher and was determined to spot one of Britain’s rarest breeding birds, the Red Necked Phalarope, along the shores of the Loch of Funzie, so we had to stop for some time. The rest of us challenged each other to find a Frog Orchid and a Knotted Pearlwort!

We then headed north to Unst – the absolute end of every road north in Britain. We got a bit fed up with Charlie telling us this was the northernmost…well of almost everything in Britain. Bombarded by bonxies on Hermaness Hill we dropped down to bag the incredible island of Muckle Flugga (45m), Cliff Skerry (42m), Vesta Skerry (48m) and the Rumblings (44m) – talking of which Derek was hungry again, just as well he had a Crunchie bar with him. The high point of Unst though is off on a headland to the east at Saxa Vord (285m) where you can top up your tan with the rays from the RAF radome. On our way our back we picked up a bottle of Shetland Reel gin (for me).

Time to work our way south and off of the Shetlands to our next destination but first we had two more islands to bag. The Ward of Clett on Whalsay (122m) gave a panorama of the east coast of Shetland. Again we had to wait to leave the island as Derek wanted a quick game of golf on the Britain’s most northerly course so the rest of us had a quick pint at the Oot Ower and enjoyed the lovely harbour of Symbister, home to some of Europe’s largest fishing vessels. Finally we finished our day on Bruray (53m), having enjoyed a show of porpoises, dolphins, Minke Whales and Orcas on the way.

Wow what a day. We decided to sleep on the make-believe overnight ferry to John O’ Groats on the north coast of mainland Scotland to start island bagging again after a weekend’s rest. Have a good one all.

Cumulative total of island bagging height – Cumulative total of 9171m (target total = 47,838 metres)

Method of travel – climbing a ladder up the apple tree in the garden; step ups on a Belfast sink; indoor staircase

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2 Replies to “Virtual Island bagging Britain Step-up Challenge – meeting Bryn”

  1. Charlie says:

    What an awesome challenge, well done to you! Bryn-keep those wheels spinning

  2. Tamsin Grainger says:

    Thanks for all this great info. Succinct, quick, interesting facts. My virtual trip to Shetland starts tomorrow (2-12 May) when I would have actually been there but for the virus!

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