Weathered Walks

IMG_4883As I wrote in my last post…Shetland weather is rather erratic! We’ve been having some great dramatic weather recently with gale force 10 winds, lashing rain and even some hail. I enjoy those wild days, it always makes me very aware of the Northern latitude and how small we are against the huge natural elements.
Also, wave watching is a favourite past time!

The gale force winds started to ease over night and I was eager to do something with the calm day that followed. In Shetland we are absolutely spoilt for beaches, with over 1,700miles of coast there are a lot to choose from! My other half and I decided to head to a new beach for us – Back Sand in Ollaberry. This beach is especially of interest because you can get close and personal with the Walls Boundary Fault, an extension to the Great Glen Fault. This fault line cuts right through the Scottish Highlands and here in Shetland you can see it very clearly and this specific point is the best exposure of a shear fault to be seen in the whole of Britain. Pretty special! Read more on the Back Sands Geology by clicking here.

We parked up the car at the Ollaberry kirk and set off on foot to find the beach, enjoying the walk and happy to find more of my favourite brightly coloured mushrooms on the way.

A fantastic view welcomed us to the beach.

IMG_5061The only way down to sea level is by following the 20m shear face of granite. The fault line is immediately apparent and the difference in textures is amazing.
Strong, hard rock on one side and crumbling, squidgy clay on the other…which we quickly found was not so easy to walk on!

Stuck in the mud!

Stuck in the mud!

Once on the beach there was a lot to keep our eyes busy. Ribbons, cracks, layers and folds in the rock could be seen everywhere.IMG_5009

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Layered rock easily crumbled and pulled apart in the hand

All in all, it was a fantastic day of exploring and marvelling at Shetland’s wonderful geology.


If you are interested in Geology and either live in Shetland or are visiting, I highly recommend downloading the Shetland Amenity Trust Geopark App. It lists sites of interest, tells you how to get there, gives information on the geological make up of specific areas and shares a lot of general knowledge and history.

It is brilliant and free. What’s not to love!

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