The end of Britain

This is it: thus far and no further.

Muckle Flugga lighthouse: the rock to the right, Out Stack, is the northern limit of Great Britain.

Muckle Flugga lighthouse: the rock to the right, Out Stack, is the northern limit of Great Britain.

Out Stack, to the right of Muckle Flugga lighthouse, is the northern limit of Great Britain. The next solid surface north of here is the Arctic ice cap. This is a wonderfully wild and rugged area which seems to vividly portray the battle against wind and sea.

When the first lighthouse was built in 1854, it was designed to withstand only the wind and the rain: but the force of the stormy seas during gales soon became apparent, and the sodden light-house keepers were soon requesting a stronger and higher structure. [ref]

Then there are the bonxies (or great skuas): large, brown, gull-like birds which are notorious for bullying other birds into giving up their food. Over half of their global population is in the Shetlands. I’d only ever seen one from a distance before, but as I walked  across Hermaness Nature Reserve to get to the Muckle Flugga view, I found myself being watched by one after another. I knew that I was in their world. At one point there were more than 15 overhead. I might take a few herrings next time to see what happens.

Bonxies (great skuas): two of the many around Hermaness.

Bonxies (great skuas): two of the many around Hermaness.

View from Hermaness

View from Hermaness

One thought on “The end of Britain

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