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THE PASSING PLACE | THE SHETLAND ISLANDS

Suspended between the Atlantic to the west and the North Sea to the east, the Shetland islands are a wild and remote archipelago. Torn between two huge bodies of water, closer to the Arctic than London, these Scottish shores formed the inspiration and backdrop for our Autumn collection.

Gone are the long warm days of summer; in their place a morning chill. Autumn is the season in between; a passing place, a moment to pause and savour. We gathered a group of friends, packed up our boards and tents and headed north, continuing our journey across the Islands of the Atlantic.

It is a curious place, Shetland. In summer, the skies never deepen further than dusk; in winter, there is only 6 hours of daylight. Windy and often wet and wild, yet with the right conditions there is an abundance of waves to be found.

The water here runs clear and cold; the landscape harsh and diverse. When the seasons start to change, the petrol blue Atlantic begins to stir with the whisper of swell, sending set after set feathering and crashing on to pale sandy beaches and causeways. The past can be read in every hillside; cairns and standing stones in shadows of grey and blue emerge from dark green grass and purple heather, the landscape criss crossed with yellow lichen-stained dry stone walls.

Where the Vikings are once said to have carried their boats between the North Sea and the Atlantic rather than being forced to sail round to the north, we paused as we wound our way north, following the narrow causeway carrying the main road across the island.

We found this isolated surfing community open and approachable. Armed with local knowledge and enjoying unseasonably hot weather, we free camped in the isolated far north, surfing and fishing. Patience goes hand in hand with the life of a surfer and finally, just as we had to head for home, the conditions lined up. We raced along grey walls drenched in monsoonal rain; the sea making us as happy as the sunshine before. We rode wave after wave in a fitting final afternoon.

Words by Rachel Buchanan with thanks to Noah Lane | Images by David Gray

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