Autumn can be a frustrating season for parents as Scottish weather often dictates whether time is spent indoors or out, and the usual outdoor playground can quickly become off bounds. That said, there are plenty of indoor activities – and a few outdoor ones too – that can be enjoyed, whatever the weather!
One of the greatest things about autumn is the powerful storms that are brought in off the Atlantic. With these come the opportunity to become a treasure hunter, scavenger and prospector. Shetland’s beaches are full of surprises – look out for the elusive grottie buckie or the crème de la crème of beach finds, the sea bean. Perhaps a message in a bottle from a faraway place is your prize, or simply a precious piece of beach glass or pottery?
Head to the Stenness Beach in Northmavine and seek out the glittering red ‘gems’. These beautiful red agate stones form when hot fluids filled with dissolved minerals circle through the Earth’s crust. These fluids deposit their minerals in gas bubbles within cooled volcanic rocks. On the northwest corner of Mainland Shetland, this area is all part of an ancient volcano system that was active some 360 million years ago.
There’s nothing like standing still for prolonged periods for letting the autumn chill seep into your bones. That’s why it’s always important to be out ‘on a mission’ at this time of year! One great way to enjoy the outdoors – and stay warm – is to build a dam. Go to the beach and dam a burn flowing into the sea, collect stones and see if you can stem the water in a hill burn – can you stop the water passing through? It’s harder than it looks!
Inevitably, with children, someone will fall into the water, and it won’t be long before you’re looking for somewhere to get inside and warm up again …