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Friday, 20 October 2017




I felt a bedraggled wreck this morning, but at least I had not been sick! I wobbled to the 'ladies', cleaned my teeth and sloshed my face with cold water. Speaking to one of the crew this morning, I chatted about my experience of kipping on the floor and how it saved me and the male crew member replied in a wonderful Scottish accent ''aye, you can't get lower than the floor'!!! The ferry was hardly swaying now at around 6.15am. We all met up for breakfast. Unfortunately poor Lyn and John had not been lucky with sea sickness – I really felt for them, there is nothing worse. The rest of our group had got through the night, but no one had had a brilliant night's sleep. The ferry arrived at just before 7am and we had to hurry to go below deck to the mini-bus to depart. As a passenger only, there is no rush, but with a vehicle, you have to depart promptly, so that it is all cleared for on-coming vehicles for the return journey. We set off on our journey south by 7.30am. An hour later, we dropped off John and Lyn at their home in Dundee. I felt quite sad at this point, as they are a really lovely couple and it was so lovely spending the last couple of weeks with them – it would be great to meet up with them again, maybe I will one day!

We continued our journey, stopping off for coffee/snack stops on route. At Scotch Corner, it was complete and utter chaos. The close by roadworks had created a massive congestion with people opting to stop for lunch at the same time. The roundabout into the cafes/restaurants etc was stationary and a single man (who we later noted worked for M&S) was attempting to direct traffic – I felt quite sorry for him. The car parks were full, tempers were frayed and people were getting out of their cars. We eventually got parked and bought sandwiches and tried to get out as quickly as possible. We spent an hour and a half here! On leaving we were in the right turn lane (which everyone wanted to be in), but some people went into the left turn lane and bullied their way into the right hand lane at the end of the road, resulting in no one from the right hand lane being able to get out|!!! There was also a sign saying no caravans were allowed in the carparks that we had just left. A car and a caravan sidled up the left hand lane and when they realised they were not going to be let in the right hand lane, turned left and then attempted a 3 point turn in the middle of the road, crashing into a parked car (at 2.44pm) on the verge (no one in it), which rocked as he hit it!!! The male driver angrily got out of his car and checked his caravan, but failed to go and check out the car he had just hit – this riled me completely and I rang the local police to inform them and give them the reg numbers of both cars involved. At this point, we were in a very difficult queue and I wasn't able to get out and put a note on the windowscreen of the car that had been hit, plus also this could have created a potentially aggressive situation from the caravan/car driver. The lady I spoke to at North Yorkshire police (who cover this area) said that the owner of the damaged car owner would more than probably ring them and she would be able to pass on the details to them, so at least I had done my bit to try and help. We eventually got going and continued home with no more serious traffic jams.

Ashley dropped me off at my home at around 6.30pm and I said goodbye to Ian and John from Watford (John is one of my regular blog readers!), to Nick (who lives in Norfolk and had us continually laughing with his brilliant sense of humour) and to Ashley who has been incredible throughout the trip – his knowledge, his finding of birds, his culinary skills were 10 out of 10, his humour, kindness and passion for birds is second to none. Nothing is too much trouble and his patience and caring nature makes him the perfect tour leader. We saw 118 species of bird on the trip – see 'Entire Trip Here:' link at bottom of this post for the systematic list.

It has been fabulous spending time with everyone and we have seen some cracking birds and had alot of fun and laughs along the way. I hadn't been on a guided birding tour before and wasn't sure how I would feel about spending time with people I had not met before, but I felt we all bonded really well and would be more than happy to go on the same trip, with the same people again. In fact I have asked Ashley to 'pencil' me in for the next Shetland trip in 2018!

Massive thanks to Ashley Saunders and the Oriole Birding team for an incredible Shetland experience and finally a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Ashley, who's birthday is today!



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