Friday, August 1, 2014

Mousa Broch The Shetlands

Mousa Broch located on the island of Mousa in The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, is the finest example of an Iron Age, drystone, round tower in the world and among the oldest buildings in Britain.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

Archaeologists differ as to the purpose of "brochs" some arguing that they were early forts or castles, while other specialists see them as dwellings for the elites of their times.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, Britain

Brochs can be found in the Shetland Islands, the HebridesOrkney and parts of northern Scotland. There are around 570 brochs in total scattered throughout this wide, geographical area.

Mousa Broch, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa Broch is believed to date from around 100 BCE and is 13m high with thick walls and only one entrance. Mousa Broch is built in stone without the use of any mortar.

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Inside would have been two floors built of wood. Mousa Broch is referred to in Norse sagas.

Mousa Broch is well known among bird enthusiasts for its breeding European storm-petrels and the island is a Special Protection Area for the birds. Other animals to be found on the island include common and grey seals, guillemots and Arctic Terns.

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa has been uninhabited since the 19th century. The island of Mousa lies off the east coast of Mainland Shetland about 24 km south of Lerwick.

Mousa, The Shetlands, Scotland

Mousa or "Mosey" means "Mossy Island" in Old Norse and Mousa has some lovely lichen and alpine-like flowers. Access to Mousa is by passenger-only ferry in the summer season from Leebitton, Sandwick, 18km south of Lerwick.

Mousa, The Shetlands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Mousa, The Shetland Islands, Scotland

Shetland Heritage
Mousa Boat

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Busta House Hotel

Busta House Hotel in the The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, is an historic accommodation dating in parts from the 16th century and makes for an excellent base to explore the island. The garden and surrounding countryside are a delight.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, UK

Busta House Hotel is located between the village of Brae and the island of Muckle Roe and offers some excellent Shetland Islands cuisine.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, Scotland, UK

Busta House Hotel has both WiFi in public areas and modem connections in the 22 bedrooms. The bar offers a fantastic range of wines and whiskies.

Busta House Hotel, Shetland

Busta House Hotel

Busta House Hotel, Shetland, Scotland, UK

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Empire Hotel in Bath

The Empire Hotel in Bath was built in 1901, and it has been designated as a Grade II listed building. The Empire Hotel is located on Orange Grove near both Bath Abbey and Pulteney Bridge. The Empire Hotel was designed by the architect Major Charles Edward Davis for the hotelier Alfred Holland. The Empire Hotel is built from Bath Stone.

Empire Hotel, River Avon, Bath, England

The Empire Hotel has six floors plus an octagonal corner tower. The architecture of the roof shows the three social classes: a castle on the corner for the upper class, a house for the middle classes, and a cottage for the lower classes. The Empire Hotel was remodeled in the 1990s and became flats and a restaurant.

Empire Hotel, Pulteney weir, Bath, England

Visitors to central Bath should also visit the nearby St Michael's church or take a ride on one of the Pulteney Cruisers.

The Empire Hotel map


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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Viking Shetland Islands

The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, have a long Viking history and heritage.

Viking Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Shetland Islands were ruled by the Vikings for over 500 years, and many locals claim descent from Scandinavian raiders.

In fact, the Shetland Islands are closer to Norway than the Scottish capital of Edinburgh and did not become part of Scotland until the 15th century.

Viking Longhouse, Shetland Islands, Scotland

The Vikings colonised the Shetland Islands in the 8th and 9th centuries with the Norwegian king Harald Fair Hair taking over the Orkney and Shetland Islands in 875. The local Picts were both absorbed and annihilated by the Scandinavian invaders.

The northern islands were used as a base for raids on the British mainland to the south. The Shetlands Islands did not become Christian until as late as the 10th century and became part of Scotland in 1469 when they were mortgaged to Scotland as part of the dowry payment from Christian I of Norway to James III of Scotland, when his daughter Margaret married the Scottish monarch.

Viking Shetland Islands

The faithfully reconstructed Viking longhouse at Brookpoint is based on excavations carried out on Unst, with the timber for the building shipped from the Scottish mainland and assembled using traditional methods by local artisans.

Skidbladner Viking Ship

The adjacent Skidbladner is a full size replica of the Gokstad, a 24m-long, 5m-wide ship discovered in a Viking burial mound in Vestfold, Norway in 1880. This too was built using Scottish oak and assembled using traditional methods.

Viking Shetland Islands

Both the Skidbladner and the Viking longhouse can be entered and are the focus of various Viking-related events in the summer months. Unst is the northernmost part of the British Isles and has around 50 sites of Viking longhouses.

Viking Shetland Islands

The annual Up Helly Aa fire festival in Lerwick celebrates the Shetland Islands' Norse heritage and culminates with the ritual burning of a replica Viking ship on the last Tuesday in January. The dramatic event draws visitors from around the world.

Further information on the Viking heritage of the Shetland Islands can be found at and

Viking Shetland Islands

Friday, July 4, 2014

Shetland Islands Cuisine

The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, has a unique and delicious cuisine, much of it organic.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

The Shetland Islands are known for their high-quality fish and shellfish dishes as well as lamb. Fish include haddock, halibut mackerel, plaice and farmed salmon. Mussels are also a specialty.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

Shetland Islands' lamb is raised on both grass and seaweed and has a distinctive flavour.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

Beef is another delicacy from the Shetlands Islands and the local cattle produce some excellent butter, cheese, cream and milk.

Shetland Islands Cuisine

The black potato is a local vegetable and beetroot, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, and turnips are all grown along with strawberries and peppers under glass.

Shetland Islands Cuisine, Scotland

The Shetland Islands have two small breweries to boot. One in Unst and the other in Lerwick. See here for more information on food and drink in the Shetland Islands.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Shetland Ponies

The Shetland Islands, off the north coast of Scotland, possibly most brings to mind its loveable, small ponies.

Shetland Ponies, Scotland, UK

The iconic Shetland pony supposedly originates from Unst in the Shetlands, although they can now be found dotted across the entire archipelago.

Shetland Ponies, Scotland

These small and sturdy horses are bred on the island and many of them are prize-winners throughout the Shetland Islands.

Shetland Ponies

Small ponies have lived on Shetland in Scotland for at least 2000 years, and archaeological finds dating back to the Bronze Age show they have been in domestic use since that time. They may well be a cross-breed with horses brought to the islands by Viking and Celtic intruders.

Shetland Ponies, Scotland, UK

Shetland ponies have heavy coats with long manes drooping over their eyes, short legs and are thought to be quite clever.

Shetland ponies are strong and hardy due to the local climatic conditions and are used for driving, carrying heavy packs and riding.

Shetland Ponies

Due to their native hardiness and small height, Shetland ponies were shipped off in their thousands to a life of endless toil as pit ponies in the dark satanic mills and mines of industrial, mainland Britain in the 19th century. Shetland ponies can pull up to twice their own body weight.

Shetland Ponies, UK

Shetland ponies appear in a variety of colours, including black, bay, chestnut, cremello, palamino and roan.

Shetland Ponies, Scotland, UK

Shetland ponies are usually long-lived reaching ages of up to 30 years. Shetland ponies were introduced to the USA and have successfully bred there.

Shetland Ponies, Scotland, UK

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Merseyway Shopping Centre Stockport

The Merseyway Shopping Centre in Stockport aka Stockport Precinct is the main shopping center in the town.

Merseyway Shopping Centre Stockport, UK

Merseyway Shopping Centre opened in 1965 and was renovated in 1995. The entrance to the centre is from Stockport Bus Station on the A6 from Manchester.

Merseyway Shopping Centre is built over the River Mersey on stilts and effectively the construction changed the historic heart of the town, many would argue for the worst.

Merseyway Shopping Centre has the usual array of shops found on most British high streets including Marks & Spencer, BHS, Argos, Debenhams, Primark, Boots, Mothercare, Next, McDonalds and Superdrug. Sainsbury's and Asda are just to the east of the central walkway.

Merseyway is actually in receivership and is run by GVA.

374 Bus at Merseyway Shopping Centre Stockport

Stockport Market, the Robinson's Brewery Visitor's Centre and the Arden Arms, a Grade II listed building which was previously a 19th century coaching inn are all a short walk off the main pedestrianized shopping area.

Further places to visit in the Stockport area of Greater Manchester include Stockport Town Hall, Stockport Air Raid Shelters, St Mary's Church, Bramhall Hall, Woodbank Park, Vernon ParkFred Perry's birthplace, Woodbank Park, the Viaduct, the Hat Works, the Three Tunnes and The Cock and Stockport Art Gallery.


Take a 192 bus to Stockport Merseyway Bus Station or Merseyway Shopping Center is a fairly short walk from Stockport Station.

Merseyway Shopping Centre
Hours are generally 9am-5.30pm Monday-Saturday and 10am-4pm on Sundays.

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Hotels and Guesthouses in the UK
Hotels and Guesthouses in Manchester UK