The settlement of Quendale, on the southwest tip of South Shetland Mainland, takes its name from the Norse Kverndal, or "mill dale", and in fact one of its most noted visitor attractions today is a restored 19th century water mill. The mill offers visitors a short video explaining how it works followed by a tour, including the chance to view artefacts and memorabilia. The beaches in these parts are noted for their white sands, which prompted this flowery narrative by Robert Monteith in 1845: "It is a white sand so admirably light, but that with an ordinary gust of Wind, it flies so thick, that (like Mist) it darkens the horizon" *
A glance at an aerial photograph of the nearby Garths Ness shows an angry looking sea, so it is no surprise that a succession of shipwrecks have occurred off this coast over the years. The most recent was in 1993, when the Braer oil tanker ran aground on its way from Norway to Canada with 85,000 tonnes of crude oil on board. The stormy weather which followed the disaster was a mixed blessing: on the one hand the wave action helped the natural dispersion of the oil, but on the other hand field crops inland were badly affected by the nasty oily spray coming in on them.
* Description of the Islands of Orkney and Zetland, by Robert Monteith, 1845.
Map of the area.
© 2009 Stuart Wilding, via Wikimedia Commons