I can’t walk much (to the loo and back but only if really necessary) so I sent Flossie out with my phone camera to be my eyes.
In Shetland, the open hill is known as the scattald. Every croft that has not taken in its apportionment (ie given up the right) has shares in the scattald. This takes the form of grazing for Shetland sheep, Shetland ponies and used to, I think, include cows too but I have never seen a cow on the hill.
With the croft also comes peat rights on the hill and this is an area marked out for you where you take in your winter peats from. We do not dig for peat as it is back breaking.
With my croft, I still have some of my hill rights though I do not have animals on the hill as the single track roads twist through and in the dark, few stop when they run something over in their cars. A dead sheep on the road, and sometimes even a pony, is always the result of a driving accident. You hear things.
Floss obviously walked for miles this afternoon and here are some of her photos. They are very good and even lying on my bed, I can get the feeling and smell of the scattald in autumn.
Floss eventually found some horses as was part of her remit. They seem very spread out in their field of 20 acres and apparently no one was very keen to talk.
Haakon only brought his head up to pause for breath. Winter is coming, he said and went back to stuffing.
Taktur just stands and waits by the gate. He often leaves everyone – this is his spot. He wants to do things, like work, but he is still on his holidays, until at least October, according to his trainer.
Seeing my boys only in photos is all I have. It is not easy this and I haven’t even done a week. My back is not liking it much either.