19th June 2018
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Angling Round-up

The Scalloway Boating Club Angling Section had two competitions last weekend. The first was the Ian Umphray Memorial Eela which attracted eight anglers in three boats. This was won by Richard Young with a total weight of 58.6lbs, followed in second place by Kenny Laurenson with 50.4 lbs and Alistair Fullerton with 43.0lbs. Kathryn Fullerton had the heaviest basket in the ladies’ competition with a respectable 43.6lbs and newcomer to the sport Sinead Blance won the junior competition with a commendable 22.8lbs. The total for all anglers was 283lbs.

The three species (JS & SP Trophy) competition requires anglers to land either haddock, whiting or cod and on this occasion attracted a total of seven anglers in five boats. Tammy Johnson was victorious on the day, completion of the re-engine of his own boat allowing him to steer his own course and carrying him to a winning catch of 30.4lbs. Barry Ward saw victory slip through his fingers as he lost a fine codling on the surface alongside his boat in the last five minutes, leaving him in second place with 29.4lb. Tommy Tyler was a distant third with 12.8lbs. The total for all anglers was 94lb.

Bridge-End Foy

The Bridge-End Outdoor Centre are to hold an afternoon and evening Foy on the fourth of July. The day’s events centre around an eela competition which is open to all ages, local and visitors, men and women, and will run from 2pm to 5pm. The channel to open water from Bridge-End has now been clearly marked with navigation buoys and visiting boats are welcomed for the event. Some overnight berthing will also be available to anyone who wishes to “make a night of it”, with a barbecue and music in prospect after the weigh-in.

Before and during the fishing competition there will be a host of family friendly activities on shore around the centre, beginning at 12pm. There will be a car boot sale for the adults along with teas, soup, sandwiches and homebakes.

The Shetland Canoe Club will be there from 12pm for a demonstration of sea kayaking and a chance for anyone over the age of 12 to have a go. A range of stalls and activities will also be laid on for all ages of bairns, from toddlers and up. Following the weigh-in of the eela, for which there are many prizes and trophies to fish for, the barbeque will be held and entertainment will be provided by Tom Deyell and friends in a marquee at the centre. The whole event is open to anybody and touted as being “not just for fishermen” and a great family day out. As organiser Janice Pottinger said: “We are hoping for a real family atmosphere, with the school holidays just starting, the bairns will be looking for a fun-filled day, and we’ve got arts and crafts to make and take away, games and quizzes for old and young. Isabel Christie is organising teas, coffees, soup, sandwiches and homebakes in the centre, so no-one will have to go hungry! Get that strength built up for a good days fishing.

There are nominal admission fees for the eela and for car boot entries. To book a stall call Janice on (01595) 859054.

All funds raised by the day’s events will go toward further improvements to the centre in the continued goal of creating a hub for the community and eventually a caravan and camping facility to complement the existing hostel. Locals and returning visitors will already have noticed the smartening of the area around the centre and most recently the beautifully crafted dry stone retaining wall and roadside boundary which Theo Fullerton has laboured upon night and day in readiness for the weekend’s events.

Hamnavoe Eco Action Day

Hamnavoe Primary school held an Eco Action Day recently, intended to “encompass all of their Eco commitments”.

Recycling was high among the environmentally related activities and lessons as children learned how to use plastic bags to make a football as one example of the ingenuity used in countries like Ghana where recycling is a matter of necessity rather than an option as it is here. Linda Davis told pupils of her time there in the VSO and showed them a selection of exquisitely crafted ornaments made by people in Ghana form what we in the west would consider junk.

More recycling activities were led by Susan Laurenson as she educated the children into the craft of origami, showing them how to create a range of objects and entertainments for the children, like boats, aeroplanes and hats from old newspaper.

Naturalist Jill Blackadder enthralled the children in a collage making activity in which they created “mini-beasts” using leaves, twigs and flowers. This taught them about botany while recreating the anatomy of insect-like imaginary creatures.

James Johnston had the pupils outdoor getting their hands dirty as they planted flower and potatoes in a small garden area, learning basic horticulture and getting fresh air and exercise in the process.

Among other recent school activities was another with an ecological slant as Harry Rose taught the children about the surprisingly large array of slugs and snails found here in Shetland. This was very much a hands-on lesson as the pupils got to examine and handle a variety of slugs. Mr Rose set the children a goal of seeking out slugs in their own home environments, the process of which would help them to realise the plethora of creatures that remain unnoticed right under people’s noses.

Pupils from the Burra school have also learned a range of other useful skills in recent times as pupils of P6 undertook their cycling proficiency training and Martin Rickard of the additional support unit taught pupils basic first aid skills. Martin has visited the school a number of times over several weeks and, besides the first aid, has been delivering a series of activities to develop team-building skills through shared problem solving and craft projects.

Harbour activity

It was fairly quiet in Scalloway Harbour last week with only the Montrose-registered, 680gt Vos Defender and the 1,125gt Grampian Conquest alongside for crewing and supplies. The Ronja Settler continues to bring salmon to factory at Blacksness and the mussel boat Harvester is still working in the area. The Aith Lifeboat Charles Lindbury made a quick visit to the slipway at Moore’s for inspection and cleaning on Tuesday and the relief Lifeboat Margaret Joan and Fred Nye stopped in Scalloway for an overnight stay on its way back to Fraserburgh.

Scottish Sea Farms launched a new six metre net washing barge from the commercial jetty before towing to site.

Fishing activity was fairly average with 1,567 boxes landed from vessels Keila, Venture, Prevail, Mizpah, Tranquility, Carina, Valhalla and Radiant Star. The highest single landing in the week came from the Keila with 289 boxes, though the Venture also had a good landing of 282 boxes.

Community Council

The Scalloway Community Council met on Monday night after a two month hiatus. The agenda was mostly a continuation of some longstanding items, many of which were in hand and being dealt with. An item that drew some discussion was the display in the Scalloway Public Hall over last weekend of the plans for the new housing scheme for the area between Upper Scalloway and Utnabrake. This is part of the developers’ (JHB and Hjaltland Housing Association) public consultation on the project and was reported to have had a low attendance for a project of this scale. The plans are, however, still available for perusal and a further viewing can be arranged by the community council and developers if there is shown to be a need for it.

The community council would like to invite their own public consultations of sorts in requesting feedback from users of the Tingwall valley road, particularly regarding leisure and pedestrian usage of the single-track road. The area has quite rightly become a popular recreational area with trout fishing, golf, cycling, walking and model yacht sailing all featuring constantly and the community council seeks feedback from the public with a view to improving the road safety of area for vehicles and pedestrians alike. Contact the community council clerk or any member if you have any issues you would like to raise on this subject, or use the email address listed above for this column.

The next meeting is set to be largely occupied with the issue of local public opinion regarding the Viking Energy windfarm proposal. The community council would hope, as always, to fully represent the views of the Scalloway public and would seek to gain a knowledge of that opinion between now and the July meeting, or at the meeting itself. More details of this will be presented in due course.

Whale spotters

A group of zoology students for Aberdeen University had a wildlife encounter they’ll not forget on Tuesday this week as they carried out a research aboard the NAFC Marine Centre fishing research boat the Atlantia II. While trawling west of Wester Skerry in the area known locally as “The Deeps” a young female killer whale came alongside the boat, diving underneath and circling the vessel, obviously interested in the boat and the net. The cetacean remained with the vessel for long enough for all aboard to see the spectacular her in great detail.

After departing the vessel the killer whale seemingly rejoined her pod as three of the distinctive dorsal fins were seen at a distance and later through the trip a total of at least five whales were seen grouped together as the Atlantia II continued north between the Scalloway isles and Reawick. Earlier on the same trip the group had already been treated to a sighting of a Minke whale just north of the Cheynies. Dr Peter Fraser, who is accompanying the students for the annual field trip, said: “This is the first time in 11 or 12 years of coming here with the field trips that we have seen killer whales on the west side. The students were delighted, it made their day and it’s a good story to tell afterward.”

The fish and shellfish biology field trip is a compulsory part of the BSc Zoology course and, from a total of 20 students that have travelled to Shetland, groups take turns to go to sea with the Atlantia II.

Aberdeen University has collaborated with the NAFC Marine Centre for over a decade for field studies and uses the research vessel to study and measure fish and shellfish. Minke whales and porpoises are more commonly seen on trips like this and the group also take time out from their fish and shellfish studies to visit Sumburgh Head for the birdlife and cetacean spotting. The group are in Shetland for a week departing tomorrow.

Dr Fraser hold a number of claims to fame but notably among them the project informally and whimsically titled “crabs in space” in which aircraft in parabolic flight were used to create zero-g conditions to study the neurology of balance systems in crabs to gain a greater understanding of how elementary balance functions work in general.

Mark Burgess