As Sean was assigned to the boat over the festive. I did something I have never done before and decided to leave the kids at home and join him to take in the New Year…in Shetland with a couple of our close friends Daniel and Emma.
Since having no3 we’ve found it increasingly difficult to get away for theseso-called date nights, shopping trips and weekends away which are pretty much now out the question! Can’t remember the last time we went out for dinner alone.
Meal times usually consist of bribing the kids to sit on their seats and finish their dinner, someone usually spills their juice and all of a sudden a voice shouts I need a poop when your about 2 mouthfuls in. This happens every time we sit down to eat sometimes someone falls off a chair on a good night, if your lucky. So u can imagine leaving these 3 head cases with anyone is a big take on.
No more babies
Saying that we do have our annual Christmas shopping trip together. Don’t be fooled it’s not like all those Instagram pics you see with a glass of bubbly , Christmas markets etc… it’s usually planned, a list is written out and the exact shops are visited. Pretty much in and out painless as possible. Meanwhile I worry about what the brood is getting up to at home in the care of some of the grandparents or great grandparents. Who’s idea was it to have no 3? I was quite happy with 2 until Sean started hankering for a boy. Luckily Sean just needs to smile at me and I fall pregnant. Sean was soon handed a vasectomy leaflet to ponder upon last year. My mum did warn me not to have 3! Wouldn’t change it now for the world however do wish we could afford a nanny at times.
Packing up the kids
The boat was leaving Aberdeen heading north for Shetland. Two nights would be spent docked in Lerwick harbour then sail home again during the night. Which means this would be 4 nights in total I would be leaving the kids. Who was going to be the lucky grandparents? After much deliberation I decided to split the kids up to make it an easier time for all involved. My mum kept trying to make me feel guilty by saying things like ‘you’ll miss them you know’ and ‘Malachy will miss his mam, he’s a mammy’s boy’ I didn’t let this bother me as I was really looking forward to some mummy annual leave. The thought of uninterrupted meals and long lie ins kept me going.
So I decided to put Ivy (oldest) and Malachy (youngest) to one set of grandprents and Gracie to the other, and mid break they would do a swap. As placing the two girls together can be a disaster as they have a love hate relationship at the moment. So packing 3 kids to go 2 different ways was a nightmare. Anyways I got them packed and prepped them all on their behaviour for days before hand. If I heard that there was bad behaviour Santa would come in the night and take back their presents! So I dropped them off and ran home! I had an hour to spare in the house before I left and it was amazing the difference in the atmosphere in the house with no kids. It was really strange.
So we set sail for Shetland at 1700 on board the MV Hjaltland courtesey of Northlink Ferries. Leaving the harbour we were on the bridge to see the sights. I was planning a nice evening of catching up with good friends ( Emma and Dan) over supper and a glass of wine. However things did not go as planned, Emma and myself had already taken Stugeron (sea sickness tablets) as we know how we react to the vessels motion on the sea. I didn’t think there was much swell in the sea however Emma didn’t finish her meal before she disappeared off to bed with a sick bag. I thought what a light weight the boat isn’t moving much. Lone behold by 1930 I was in bed with my pal sickky bag the evening came to a sad end with Daniel left watching the game alone at the bar.
We arrived in Lerwick, Shetland at 0730. What about a long lie? Not likely! Sean was still working so he was up and showered at 0630 for arrival and I didn’t get back to sleep after hearing him clatering anout.
We decided to take a drive to explore the island. I have been to Shetland before on placement for 9 weeks when I was doing my nurse training so I knew a fair bit about the island already but hadn’t explored it much at the time. When I started to count back how long ago it was since I was there in placement I couldn’t believe it was nearly 10 years!! That couldn’t be right! I’m not that old!! But as Sean keeps reminding me I am nearly 30!!
We took a walk through the streets of Lerwick, however with it being New Year’s Eve and a Sunday there wasn’t any shops open. The weather was good which is unusual for Shetland at that time of year. We headed for Eshaness it’s along the North West coast. It’s really nice just driving along those single track roads where the sheep roam freely, usually in the middle of the road.When it was my turn to drive Sean’s nerves was running in over drive sitting watching me drive those narrow roads.
We headed back to the boat to get glammed up for the evening events, the staff on board had organised a fancy dress party. Emma and myself are not really big fans of fancy dress Emma in particular so we opted out of the fancy dress competition this time. Sean being Sean went for captain Jack Sparrow, it was a pretty good attempt if you ask me.
We took in the ‘bells’ up on the bridge all staff and guests toasted the old year out and the new year in. Glasses of champagne clanged while listening to the horn of the boat being honked by the oldest person on board and the youngest member on board, lovely way to start the new year. Soon after I whisked Sean off to bed. Yes not in that manner at all! I’m not used to the late nights and in this case extremely late…1pm!! I usually would be thinking about getting up with the kids shortly if I was at home! Well not quite 1am but not long off it.
Beach Hopping in Burra
The celebrations probably went long into the night. The staff then provided a lovely New Year lunch for all on board the next day. We decided to take another road trip this time exploring the South West of the Island. We set off in search for the well-known Meal Beach, been known to be compared to some of the beaches in the Caribbean. After a short walk from where we parked the car we found it. Beautiful scenery so calm yet the air was so crisp and before our eyes was this exquisite white sandy beach hidden away beneath the rock face. We didn’t miss out on some selfies and writing our names on the sand. Emma and Daniel don’t do PDA so they weren’t up for some romantic photographs taken by myself.
It was -3c in the car and the narrow single track roads with random sheep about was making Sean rather nervous as I was driving. I kept reassuring him however the grasp of his hand on the roof handles told a different story. We traveled further West of Burra and came across another gorgeous stretch of beach called Minn beach. At the end of the stretch of beach sat a cottage, alone with no car access. How nice would it be to go there on holiday, no distractions, and just chill, no phones, just the simple life?
Due to work commitments Emma and Daniel decided to book a flight home. As the boat wouldn’t reach Aberdeen Until the 3rd am. I was in two minds of flying home too after the sail north, I was constantly checking the weather. However I decided to take the boat home. The next day we drove the love birds to the airport…yes Shetland does have an airport at Sumburgh. What you might not believe is that you have to actually drive over the runway to get to it! The runway actually stops when the land stops, so if you don’t take off by the time you get to that section you will be going for a swim in the sea! Emma didn’t know this so she was now on edge about the take off!
It was a lovely break and I was super excited to see my brood again when I got home. I felt it refreshed my head..well refresed my head so much that I had vertigo for about a week after iIretunred home! It was lovley to see the brood again.
The simple life
Shetland is a beautiful Island with many different aspects to it. We were lucky enough to visit just a small section of it. They have a language of their own and if you listen closely you can just make out what they are saying. They heritage of the Island is instilled in generations today, and they are proud of the Island and what it has become.
How to get there
By ferry from Aberdeen-Lerwick : The boat sails overnight, Cabins can be booked for up to 4 people. Occasionally the ferry stops by Orkney if you fancy a trip there too. If you are at all queezy on board a boat I would advise you travel in the summer months otherwise best of luck. Sick bags are provided in all easy to reach places!
Online bookings can be done Here
Check regularly for adverse weather updates before you travel.
On board the ferry there is a cinema, guest lounge, sleeping pods and a lovely restaurant and quaint shop full of local produce and products.