A May Walk at Meal Beach, Burra

Today I'm going to share some photos from a walk I took way back in May. I was driving back from Voe where I'd spent some time with family at Sunday Teas. As I travelled nearer to Lerwick the weather was turning increasingly dull, I turned off the main road and made my way through the Tingwall valley so I could see in the distance if the sun was shining out towards Burra. It was! Yay! Quite often in Shetland the West side is lovely and sunny when the East side, particularly Lerwick and Gulberwick, is dull or even foggy.

It was early afternoon so I figured from the look of the sky that I'd get a good few hours of nice walking weather. So out of the Tingwall Valley, through East Voe and over two bridges - the first into Trondra and the second took me over to Burra's main isle where the Meal Beach is in Hamnavoe.

Path down to the Meal Beach

Path down to the Meal Beach

I know parts of Burra quite well, I lived further south at Bridge End for a while in a tiny old cottage right by the sea and my auntie and uncle live on top of the hill above the Meal beach so I'm very familiar with this area. The walk I took, starting at the beach, is another one of Promote Shetlands' walking routes.

Hamnavoe Circular

Hamnavoe Circular


The sea around the two biggest beaches on Burra (the other being Banna Minn) is always so amazingly clear. There's rarely much seaweed in near the shore so with only the sand below it the water looks incredibly blue and very inviting, although trust me, it will still be freezing!

It was a few months ago now and what I remember most from the walk was the feeling of simply enjoying the warmth of the sun and the sweet smell of the tiny wild flowers as I reached the hillier parks away from the beach.

As always I discovered so many interesting textures and snippets of colour. Over the back of Lu Ness on the way down to lower ground again there are beautiful rock pools! I loved rock pools when I was peerie, imagining that the floaty gardens of seaweed were miniature forests and all the cracks and barnacles were mysterious new landscapes! I spent a good while here exploring. Returning up onto the grass I found a new fascination for fence posts... yeah it was unexpected and maybe a bit odd but I loved the perspective of seeing them leading away in the distance. This could be an interesting subject to play around with in weave.

At this stage of the walk I could see the Hamnavoe lighthouse at Fugla Ness. I made my way between the massive spread of rocks and boulders thrown up by the sea over the years to reach the point. As this was May thankfully the tirricks weren't yet nesting (if you've read my previous blogs you'll understand the significance of that statement!), I could hear them calling and see them flying about just off shore.


After the lighthouse, I retraced my steps along the rocks to head passed the marina, up into Hamnavoe and to the road which returned me to the starting point of my walk above the Meal beach.

It had been one of the best afternoons of the year weather-wise and for me, creatively inspiring and relaxing at the same time. When I got home I didn't really want to go back inside so sat at the door for a bit appreciating my favourite Merrell walking shoes and being thankful yet again for living in such an incredible place.