Tag Archives: Shetland

Glad I’m home

Golly, I am glad I’m home.Home

So, what happened….

Monday morning I went by air ambulance and was delivered to Woodend Hospital in Aberdeen.  The admitting doctor got excited about my ankle (I went over on it a few days back) so I hobbled down to x-ray (can’t sit, remember?) and they declared I had another avulsion fracture on the medial malleolus of my left ankle. I have had a few in previous years as I lack balance.  So my ankle was put in a blowy-uppy little cast thingy that annoyed more than helped.

Tuesday was the MRI scan and, as that was what I had come down for, that was what I was pleased about having.  With much undignified rolling on and off trolleys in a gown that sort of doesn’t do up at the back, I went through the machine hoping I wasn’t going to get stuck and have to live there forever.

After the scan, one of the spinal team (pain nurse) came over to me to say he could see nothing at first glance (but he did admit he had only been in the job some weeks) so then I spent the next night wondering if folk thought I was a complete fraud and asking myself if this was imaginary attention-seeking pain.  The ward staff were muttering things like normal airplanes and ferries to get home which left me feeling sick with worry as to how I would manage.

Then on Wednesday morning, I was woken by my pain nurse friend from the spinal team who said my surgeon had looked at the MRI and declared L4 was now bulging hence the pain and misery down my left leg and hip and back. This is the one above the original fusion.

The plan is that my surgeon wants me to have a nerve root infiltration with steroids and anaesthetic from the Pain Clinic in Shetland.  I have no idea what that is but I think it involves a big needle and my back.  I asked how I would get home to be told “air ambulance, of course” with which I gave an enormous sigh of relief.  Lumpy and bumpy but at least no hellish sitting.

So thinking happy thoughts, and finally understanding my pain, I was just considering getting up, etc when my nurse popped back to say the worst words ever – “oh yes, Mr Craig has just asked me to tell you that you cannot ride your horse until after the injections”.  I fought my corner but to no avail. I tried to explain that riding helps my back and mobility but it fell on deaf ears.  His parting words were that walking would help.

So now I walk with my Haakon. Even with my duff ankle.

We went for a couple of miles today – him, me and BeAnne in the spitting rain.IMG_7118  

It was lovely to sniff the Shetland air, not be hospitalised or base one’s day on when the tea-trolley is going to appear.BN2A8583 IMG_7126

Meanwhile, everyone at home was fine.  BeAnne was thrilled to see me. I moved the horses into another field and had a massive snog from Bozz-Bozz.  Klængur looked very relieved too, barged past everyone to put his whole head in my arms and just stay there while I rested my head on his and stroked him for five minutes.BN2A8610

I suppose everyone just has different priorities.BN2A8580


Puffins and ponies

I’d like to thank Frances for inviting me to share a post from my blog, from back in June 2011 when  I visited her in Shetland. For more of my photography you can visit my site here —Nick Miners

I visited Shetland recently, more or less on a whim, but mainly to help someone out with some photography tips in exchange for free accommodation in a renovated croft.

The journey there was quite an adventure in itself. Our plane was unable to land at Sumburgh airport owing to low cloud, so we were diverted to Orkney and had to catch the overnight ferry to Lerwick. I was given a lift down to Sumburgh by one of my fellow passengers and his wife, so I could collect my hire car, and stopped briefly at Sumburgh Head to look at the puffins and other seabirds before heading to my accommodation for a much-needed shower.

On the way I was delighted by the various place names that reminded me so much of Iceland. There are various -wicks (like Iceland’s vík), -garths (garður) and -voes (vogur), and even a place called Tingwall which derives from the Old Norse Þingvǫllr, meaning ‘plain of parliament’. Those of you who have been to Iceland will be aware of the similarly named Þingvellir – ‘plains of parliament’.

I spent the rest of the day after my shower exploring the western part of Mainland, the largest island in the Shetland group. The volcanic cliffs of Eshaness are particularly impressive, especially when you look down a sheer vertical drop to the churning Atlantic ocean below.

My second day took me down to Wester Wick, where fulmars nest on huge pink cliffs, then up to the Hermaness nature reserve on Unst, the most northerly inhabited island in the UK. A short walk across a peat bog full of nesting Bonxies (Great Skua) takes you to the cliffs where Shetland’s largest puffin colony can be found. The birds are incredibly tame, and I was able to just sit a few feet way from a small group of them, watching them perform their idiosyncratic little routines.

That evening my hostess took me to Burrastow House where we watched the terns diving into the voe for fish.

My third and final full day on Shetland was fairly photography-free; instead we filmed a short 10-second clip for an online competition, trying (and failing) to get one of the Shetland pony foals to eat a pillow case. I then went on a short ride on Fákur, an Icelandic Horse, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It had probably been about 10 years since I last rode a horse, and it was great to finally get back in the saddle… judge for yourself whether you think I look the part!

Guillemots on a sea stack, Sumburgh Head Haakon, the Icelandic horse Cotton grass Redshank, Burrastow Arctic Tern, Burrastow Wheatear, Hermaness Arctic Skua, Hermaness Puffin with burrow diggings at Hermaness, on the island of Unst Puffins at Hermaness, on the island of Unst Puffin at Hermaness, on the island of Unst Fulmar at Westerwick Cliffs and sea stacks at Westerwick Sunset over Sandness Iacs - an Icelandic Horse Late sun near Sandness Midges Ringed Plover Reawick Cemetery near Eshaness Wheatear at Stenness Stenness Stenness Churning ocean at Eshaness Eshaness Fulmar, Eshaness Sea cliffs at Eshaness Puffins, Sumburgh HeadHorse!