If you have followed DocKnits on Facebook, you might have noticed that Ingrid and I went to Shetland Wool Week this year. I would highly recommend this trip for anyone who is interested…..the Island is absolutely beautiful, the people very friendly and Wool Week is unforgettable. I thought you might like to read more details about this wonderful event. So here is Sue And Ingrid’s Excellent Adventure!!
We landed at Heathrow and flew on to Aberdeen, where we recovered from our jet lag for a couple of days. I decided to rent a car so we could drive up to Inverness and it was a truly terrifying experience. Not only did I have to drive on the left side of the road, but I had a standard to boot. It took me part of the day to stop putting the car into 3rd gear instead of first (and, therefore stalling). I mastered the roundabouts quickly and the trip to Inverness was fairly good, however I did notice that Ingrid did not pick up her knitting at any time during our trip!! We stopped at a wonderful Cashmere factory (Johnstons of Elgin) and soon realized we were a bit out of our league price-wise. ($250 Cdn for a meter of tweed!) Ingrid loved the $3000 “dressing gown” (you could not call it a housecoat), but decided to forgo the opportunity
I did post a wee rant on Facebook about our terrifying trip from Inverness back to Aberdeen in the dark, so if you have read that already, just skip on to the next paragraph. So, Scottish people are really cheap with pavement. The roads are 2 lanes, with each lane being approximately 4″ larger than the compact car we rented. There are no paved shoulders, in fact, the road merges onto grass banks about a foot high. So, throw in some nice rain and lakes form along the road and try to pull you into the very dark Scottish forests. When you try and correct, you then become in direct line with the lorry (UK speak for transport truck) headed directly at you! There is also a really terrifying optical illusion formed (in the dark, on the left side of the road) that makes it appear that all of the vehicles are headed directly for you. We kept our GPS on as we wanted to be careful, and listened to the monitor tell us EVERY 0.7 MILES that there was a roundabout ahead. After about 200 roundabouts, we pulled into Aberdeen and double scotches were downed at the hotel.
After I had booked the overnight ferry from Aberdeen to Shetland, Ingrid and I both admitted to each other that we weren’t very good sailors and desperately hoped for calm seas. The North Links ferry is impressive and we loved our little rooms (complete with real Shetland wool blankets…tagged to prevent theft!) We headed up to the Magnus lounge, armed with Gravol and knit with other Wool Week Women and listened to several very drunk Norwegian men sing songs and drink themselves into oblivion. Fantasies of Viking Men were completely destroyed!! The lounge featured free drinks, FUDGE and SHORTBREAD….it was fabulous. The sea was calm and we both slept well!
(these guys were more like Floki than Ragnar!!)
But finally, we pulled into Lerwick on a beautiful sunny day!
I was fortunate enough to go to Wool Week last year and saw an adorable rental car covered in Canadian flags, so I made sure we rented that car on my return. It was an automatic….thank God and quite fun to drive. The problem with renting a car though, on a small island, covered with distinctive Canadian flags, is that if you make a driving error, the entire community knows who did it! Fortunately I only drove the wrong way down a single lane road once, and after being yelled at AND the car punched (!) by a very grumpy Shetlander (the men are a bit crusty), I didn`t do it again!! Fortunately, Ingrid wasn`t with me that time, so she didn`t have to endure this humiliating experience.
We were in Lerwick bright and early, so we wondered around the “high street” until we could check into our hotel. Of course, we checked out both the Jamieson’s store as well as the Jamieson and Smith establishment on North road. The best part of a vacation is the very beginning…we were so excited and happy to be in Shetland. Will followup in the next blog with a bit more about our adventures!