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hussamillie, and all mingle together on equal terms. In Shetland, it is said, there are two classes, an upper and a lower, but no middle class.'* After all, there is something commendable in the idea of this Arcadian simplicity, fraternity, or whatever we may style it. And from my own observation of the Zetland people, I should judge such a custom to be exactly in accord with their forthright sympathetic manners, which, especially when coming from women to men, are so attractive.

The limitations of space are such that I must hurry over what remains of the Shetlands with few words.

From Scalloway a charming trip may be made to the northwestern regions of Zetland, round by Papa Stour and across the spacious bay of St. Magnus to Hillswick. The whole journey is a vision of strange rock-shapes, fissured precipices, and wavewashed islets, grouped in such sort that, if Hjaltland is not the · Ultima Thule,' it might well pass for it. The mere names of the coast features in themselves carry a suggestion of darksome sea-alleys and gloomy grots-vestibules, it might be, of Erebus -haunted by an under-world of hyperborean mermen and marine monsters; spots where, in the words of the classic singer, 'the seas dashed upon the rocks re-echo.'

Especially striking is the stretch of coast-line betwixt the Sounds of Vaila and Papa. On the islet of Vaila a great rockstack stands up like a ruined castle-tower of old; and from Watsness to Quilva Taing is a majestic chaos of nature's battlements breached and riven into ragged buttresses and pinnacles by the never-ceasing assaults of the tremendous surge. The seamargin of Papa Stour isle itself is a marvel of indented notches -creeks or voes where the furious tides have eaten their way far into the island core. Here, too, are caves, natural arches, subterraneous rock-tunnels, skerries in numbers. Then, rounding the corner of Sandness and holding north-east, we can just sight over yonder the deep-embayed inlet which terminates in West Burra Firth, or Borgarfiord [fiord of the Borg]. Near here stood the Pictish Tower whence the Norsemen gave its name to

*

See an interesting account of this primitive custom in The Scotsman of 5th July, 1894.

the spot; and where, the Orkneyinga Saga tells us, Jarls Magnus and Hakon in their earlier days of amity slew a famous chieftain, Thorbiörn.

The approach to Hillswick, the tourist's portal to Northmaven, is characteristically Zetlandish. The steamer passes up Ura Fiord, a long, narrow, and perfectly sheltered haven and brings to in the little off-shooting loop or vik, where a few houses, sheds, and fishing craft cluster together along a low isthmus. Behind and across this isthmus, a grand vista of lofty cliffs, the 'Heads of Grocken,' are seen looming up in retreating perspective. As for this strange outlying northern region of Northmaven-all but severed from the mainland isle, for the connecting ligature at Ellwick scarcely exceeds fifty yards in width-its broken coast-line is reckoned perhaps the wildest and most diversified in all Shetland, and that is indeed saying much. But to do these labyrinthine sea-shores justice would be to write another article and so we must borrow a rhyme from the poet-fictionist, and say with Claud Halcro,

:

'Farewell to Northmaven,

Grey Hillswicke farewell!
To the calms of thy haven
The storms on thy fell.'

As for Foula, solitary and remote, planted like Fair Isle leagues away from the main Zetland group, it is a spot hard to get at, but wondrous worth seeing. For are there not its sites of ancient church, Picts' House, and burial mounds; its lefty summit-ridge, ‘the Sneug;' the adamantine fantastically-shaped wall of cliffs between the Hovdi capes and on to the Wick of Helliberg, facing out to the golden sunset; and the marvel of superabundant bird-life which makes this island-fastness its home?

It still remains to devote a word to the north group of the Hjaltland isles. Starting from Lerwick in a coasting steamer, one skirts the eastern shores of the mainland, passing many a voe, fiord, ness, and skerry, till Whalsey is reached—an isle which still retains vestiges of its three ancient churches, brochs two, a Pict's house, many lakelets, and a farmhouse which bears the unsavoury name of Sodom. Leaving Whalsey to our right, we

sail through Linga Sound, sighting the 'Out Skerries,' and their lighthouse tower. Thence passing the Ness and Holm of Lunna, and opening Yell Sound [Jalasund], we stand over to Fetlar, and enter the Wick or Bay of Tresta, which, should a south-easter be blowing, will not commend itself to us as a very sheltered harbourage. This island has some interesting antiquities both prehistoric and mediæval. Of the three or four relics of the latter class, the ruined 'kirk' or chapel near the Free Church Manse is said to have been dedicated to a patron saint, whose name I cannot remember to have come across before in Scotland, though it is well known to English lawyers, St. Hilary. Great things were told me of the trout fishing in the little loch, 'Papil Water,' which nestles behind the spit of beach at the head of the Tresta Bay. And doubtless others like myself would gladly stay a few days in this interesting island to explore its treasures, if one only knew where to lodge and could make sure of catching a return steamer after a reasonable interval.

Whoso has the chance-or mis-chance, some might hold it— to take the voyage I have been describing in a pretty stiff halfgale [as once happened to the present writer], will best realise the ironbound character of the Shetland coast. For, as one passes now and again the vast swart rock-piles and spires lashed with white jets of sea foam, and the vessel plunges through the narrows of the sounds, quite close to a Scylla on the one hand, or a Charybdis on the other,—one begins to grasp the risks and perils of this coasting service, carried on as it is all through the long stormy darkness of the Zetland winter!

From Fetlar our steamer crosses over to the eastern shores of Yell, the largest of the Shetland isles next after the main island. As we have noted elsewhere in the Zetland archipelago, Yell island is all but cut in two at a central point where two Voes have run up into the heart of the land to within a mile of one another. It is into the eastern of these two Voes that we wend our way, entering it by a narrow passage, and passing within a stone-cast of its northern headland. Once we are inside Mid Yell Voe, the view of inlet and valley is very picturesque, not to say romantic, and conveys an absolute sense of land-locked shelter. Yell is rich in sites or ruins of

quondam Catholic churches and Pictish towers. Of the latter, there is a fine example at Burra Ness, which we pass on the way to Unst. And here it may be observed that the placename, Burra,' is continually recurring all through Shetland, tacked on to firths, capes, islands, or whatever it may be, and all pointing to the near vicinity of some oue or other of these archaic burghs or broughs.

Of Yell Sound (Jalasund) we hear something in the Saga of the Orkneys. One summer, in the early years of the 12th century, came Jarl Rögnvald over to Hjaltland from Norway, bringing with him two noble chieftains, Sölmund Sigurdson and Jón Pétrsson, with a band of warriors and a few galleys. They reached Hjaltland about midsummer, but, strong and contrary winds springing up, they brought their ships to Jalasund, and, being well received by the Bændr (landholders) of Yell, went feasting about the country.

Unst, the northernmost of the Shetland Isles, is separated from Yell by a narrow strait, half a mile to a mile in width. Shaping now our course north-eastward, we sight the islet of Uyea, interesting from its group of Picts' houses and its ruined chapel, which has the same special feature seen in some early Irish oratories, and in certain of the old Orkney churches. This is a doorway constructed without rebate for a door, thus suggesting, thought Sir Henry Dryden, the primitive method of closing an entrance to a building by a hide or curtain. Next we pass the Castle of Muness, of like style and date with the crumbling ruin at Scalloway, and not unlike Orkneyan Noltland. A few miles further the steamer runs in between the islands of Huney and Balta into the fine haven named after the latter, Balta Sound. Here one finds an excellent little hotel, and one or two comfortable 'pensions' to select from.

From Balta Sound, a walk of three or four miles across the intervening high ridge of Vailafield, brings you down to the western shore of Unst, overlooking the boundless Atlantic. At any point between Hevda Hill and Hagdales Nest a really marvellous panorama is obtained away round and across ocean to the far-away Gloups of Yell, but to the north, along the

Unst shore, the view is barred by the Brough of Valaberg. It is a walk and vista once seen never to be forgotten. Another delightful day's occupation is to walk or drive over to the hither extremity of the Loch of Cliff, take a boat for the day there, and row slowly over the three miles' length of this narrow and picturesque lake, with a fishing-line or two out astern. Then fish down the half-mile of rivulet which connects the loch with the sea at the head of Burra Firth. A farther walk past the site of the brough, which has given its name to the Firth, and on to the promontory of Hermaness, will be a good day's work. From the hill of Hermaness you look across the waters of the Burra Firth to the precipices of Saxavord. Then, to northward, the eye gazes down over the forlorn group of skerries, on one of which, Muckle Fladda, is a lighthouse, and travels on over a dark swirling surge of waters to the rocky Out Stack,' outmost skerry of them all, and interesting as the most northerly spot of land in the British Isles !

6

Saxavord, it may be noted, was a terminal station of the great meridional arc observed and computed by the staff of the Ordnance Survey of the United Kingdom. The southern terminal of the arc was at Dunnose in the Isle of Wight.

Balta Sound is associated with memories of two eminent men of science, who, in the early years of the present century, worked alongside of one another, though independently. One was M. Biot, a French savant, who was sent over here to make observations in connection with the length of the seconds pendulum in this latitude. The other was Captain Colby of the Royal Engineers, afterwards chief of the Ordnance Survey, who carried out work of a similar kind and with a similar object. The little island of Balta, which in ancient days had its Pictish tower and chapel, forms a natural and perfect breakwater to the sound, and here Colby and his surveyors took up their quarters.

Harolds Wick, the fine bay next-door to Balta isle, is, says tradition, the spot where in the ninth century the great Scandinavian king, Harald Harfagri, came ashore on his first expedition to Hjaltland to root out the unruly Vikings, and take the islands for himself.

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