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To the Shetlands in a Flying 12



The Shetland Flyer Returns, 2008



Foggy day on the Scottish Border


Dennis and Shelia Brown's Latest Long Distance Trip:


Raglan, South Wales - Shetland, and return in a Standard Flying 12 (again)


Some of you may remember that we went to the Shetland Motor Show in 2006 but did not allow enough time to have a look round or do any sightseeing. We met up with Roy and Devina Barker from North Yorkshire on the trip and have kept in touch with them ever since. Roy has always wanted to visit Scapa Flow so we decided to go to Shetland again, do some sightseeing,visit Orkney on the way home and "Fly the Flag"


We had arranged to stop with Roy and Davina at their home in Stokesley, near Holmfirth for a couple of nights so we travelled straight there via the A46 and A1, a journey of 272 miles.


Next day we set off to explore the North York Moors and visit the RNLI Zetland Museum in Redcar. The Zetland is the world’s oldest surviving lifeboat, having been built in 1802 by lifeboat pioneer Henry Greathead.



The Zetland. 


She was unique in having ballast tanks and both ends of the boat are the same so that her 13 man crew never needed to turn her round in heavy seas. They simply sat in the opposite direction and continued rowing.


She predates the foundation of the RNLI and the £200 needed to build her was raised by local fishermen with the help from a clergyman and a local aristocrat. When she was retired in 1880 she had saved over 500 lives with the loss of only one crew member.


On retirement she was saved from destruction by the local townspeople and stored in a shed, and then a barn, until being moved in 1907 to her current home in the old lifeboat house. Here she lay forgotten until being re-discovered in the mid 1960’s by Roy Barker.


Zetland is the local name for Shetland and later on we visited the Unst Boat Haven were examples of traditional Shetland boats are preserved.



Model of the Crew


Our next stop was at Saltburn- by-the-Sea and it’s Grade 2 listed pier. This was built in 1869 and is the most northerly surviving British Pier and the last remaining in Yorkshire. It faces due north with wooden decking on cast iron trestles and was originally 1400 feet long. Due to it’s exposed position it has been damaged many times by the weather and it’s length was reduced to 681 feet in 1976.


120feet above the pier is a water balanced Cliff Lift with a 75% incline and probably the oldest of it’s of type in the world. The original wooden cars were fitted with stained glass windows and when new aluminium cars were introduced in 1979 this feature was re-installed. As usual for us it was closed when we arrived.


We returned to our hosts via the North York Moors and, when parking the car spotted a few drops of oil on their front drive. But more of that later.



Saltburn Pier & Cliff Lift.


Next day both cars set off for Edinburgh, the Barkers in their 1947 Triumph Roadster, again using the direct route via the A1, passing the Middlesborough Transporter Bridge, ( twin of the one in Newport, S.Wales) ,and through the Tyne Tunnel. By the time we reached the Scottish Border it was very misty but we did stop to take a couple of photographs. We were somewhat disappointed with the Border Stone, which is nowhere as near as impressive as the one at Carter Bar on the A68. While taking the photo’s a Coach load of German Tourists arrived and spent the next ½ hour talking to us and taking their own snaps.



At the Border, The Border Stone.


Day 4 saw us setting off for Aberdeen and the overnight ferry to Lerwick. On leaving Edinburgh we called in at Leith to have a look at the Royal Yatch Britannia. We were very disappointed to find it moored behind a modern shopping centre where it looked so out of place we did not bother to visit it.



Britannia


Then it was on over the Firth Road Bridge, all the more enjoyable because it is free, and into Aberdeen Docks. where we filled up with fuel as prices are considerably higher on Shetland.


Up to this point we had covered 670 miles.


The overnight ferry crossing was uneventful, we had taken the precaution of booking a table in the restaurant, so after a good meal and a comfortable nights sleep we disembarked in Lerwick at 7 in the morning.


To be continued............


Dennis Brown


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