I’ve always been a bit of an explorer/adventurer. Ever since I was a little girl growing up in the wilds of Canada I could be found out exploring new areas, always keen for a new adventure. I’d pick a spot in the distance, a tree, a hill, a clearing, and head towards it, always wondering what was waiting around the corner. I was never disappointed; slightly lost, on occasion, but never disappointed. Perhaps that’s how I ended up on Shetland; curiosity, adventure, what’s over that hill or across 3000 miles of open sea. Shetland is on the edge of the world (my postcode begins with Z!) and it is here I’ve set down my roots.
Speaking of roots – when the great-great-great-grandson of John Clunies-Ross asked me, via Twitter, if I could go visit his old homestead and take some photographs I jumped at the chance. I’ve never been to that area, in Sound, Weisdale, Shetland, but my father had pointed out the graveyard last summer when he was visiting, and I filed it away in my brain as a site of interest to explore at a later date.
John Clunies-Ross was a bit of an adventurer/explorer himself, a sea-captain born in Shetland who ultimately ended up as ‘King of the Cocos’ on the Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean back in the mid-1800s. There’s nothing left of the old area he was born in (in 1786) but ruins, sheep, an old graveyard and a plaque, but we thoroughly enjoyed exploring. There were plenty of things to look at and admire, especially the beautiful old trees.
So, to Richard, great-great-great grandson of John Clunies-Ross, these photographs are for you, and for anyone else who is interested in them. I’ve deliberately not marked them with my blog address, so feel free to use them as you will. If you want higher quality images just send me a message and I can email them to you.
This was the first graveyard our youngest children have ever visited, so we used the opportunity to explain what a graveyard was, and since there’s been a spate of vandalism by some children in another local graveyard recently, we made sure we taught ours about respecting the area and not to damage anything. I may have spent a considerable length of time reading all the tombstones while the children were eager to get home out of the wind. We popped in to the shop on the way home, covered in mud, and a woman asked my daughter where we’d been. In all seriousness she replied, “Mum went to see the dead people.” Ack! From the mouths of babes! But thank you, Richard, for spurring us on to visit this place. We’re glad we did.