24th February 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Times Past

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25 Years Ago

Aith lifeboat was called on for a repeat rescue on Wednesday evening.

A year ago coastguards called out the lifeboat to find and tow in a boat with a lone Faroese rower on board. Along with his cat, he was en route from Faroe to Denmark when bad weather off Shetland put him in difficulties.

On Wednesday evening the call out was repeated. Aith lifeboat was again put to sea and brought back Mr Ove Joensen, 36, his boat and his cat.

Fresh southerly winds and an unfavourable tide caught the boat Diana Victoria near the Ve Skerries during Mr Joensen’s second attempt at the 900 mile trip. He managed to row to the north side of Papa Stour where he was clear of immediate danger. He found some shelter there, but the Diana Victoria was still in difficulties.

Mr Joensen had been at the oars for 36 hours and put out a sea anchor which slowed down his drift before radioing for help.

The lifeboat was called out and by 9 o’clock the Diana Victoria had been taken in tow for Aith.

The ship’s cat was forbidden to come ashore by the customs officials and Mr Joensen stayed on board overnight with his feline companion.

50 Years Ago

Not even one of the worst days of the summer could really mar Shetland’s first really big royal day for seven hundred years. After six weeks of good weather, with very little rain, Wednesday had to turn out an awful day – a wind speed of 25 knots, gusting to 40, accompanied by occasional rain. Definitely not a day for flag waving and cheering.

But that did not stop it being a great occasion. The Queen and the Duke carried out all their duties very cheerfully, although at times the Queen looked cold and pinched in clothes too light for the unseasonable weather. She wore a cyclamen wool coat with a matching beehive hat, and beneath the coat a light print dress. At Aith she temporarily donned a raincoat, and the Duke kept his coat on all the time from Scalloway onwards.

But to start at the beginning, Shetland hearts were warmed even before the Royal pair arrived on Shetland soil. Just as Britannia dropped anchor, just two minutes before the advertised time, the Marine Band on board struck up “The Norseman’s Home.”

Fourteen sailing boats braved the rough weather to provide an escort for the Britannia. At 10.15, an RAF band from Buchan arrived, with the local Territorials marching behind. Schoolchildren were given a place of honour; so were members of the youth groups; and six hundred invited guests were arriving.

It was estimated the crowd numbered nearly five thousand and they were spread out from the point of the breakwater all the way round to the information office building.

100 Years Ago

On Saturday, 30th July, 1910 – a year remarkable and memorable for many much greater events on earth, in air, in sky – there occurred in the history of Lunnasting something which deserves some degree of communication beyond the small spot of earth which that name implies. This event was the interesting and impressive ceremony of laying the foundation stone of a public hall at Vidlin.

About nine years ago, Mr Bruce of Sumburgh and Lunna, first expressed his desire that a public hall should be built for the general use of the people, in which religious and other meetings could be held as desired or required, and thus do away with the present practice of holding all sorts of meetings in the Public School – a building specially built and supported for educational purposes exclusively. About three years thereafter, in writing to the Secretary of the Hall Committee, he stated certain conditions to be fulfilled by the people, before he would give his consent and pecuniary support to the erection of the building. The chief of these conditions was that the people of Lunnasting should raise what money they could, so as thereby to prove their real desire for a hall, of which a part could be used as a reading-room and library. These conditions seem now to have been fulfilled to the satisfaction of the proprietor of Lunna, seeing that a beginning has been made by laying the foundation stone.

About 125 persons, including about 35 scholars, were present at the ceremony of laying the foundation stone. The site of the building is at the crossroads at Vidlin – the most central position of Lunnasting. On a platform were seated Mr MacDougall, who presided over the ceremony and laid the foundation stone, and Rev. W. Stables Smith, who performed the religious parts of the ceremony. Some forms were provided for the ladies, of whom about 40 were present. Mrs Kay, Lerwick, ably and pleasantly performed the interesting custom of depositing the written records and several coins, one at least representing each of the ten now in circulation. Numerous names and signatures besides other things, are deposited in the capacious clear glass bottle, and are all intended to be an ancient treasure-trove for the busy antiquarians belonging to future millenniums.

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Great Heat Wave in Shetland – On Saturday last the genial summer weather which has been experienced here since June gave place to great heat, the islands apparently being visited by a current of warm air. At all places in Shetland, from Sumburgh Head to Unst, the day was one of the warmest that has been seen. In fact, not since 1871 has so high a temperature been registered at Sumburgh. At Lerwick the temperature rose in the early afternoon to 75 degrees, while at Sumburgh the shade thermometer touched 82. In Baltasound the highest reading was 77 degrees. What makes it more remarkable is that on the same day in Scotland generally the weather was wet and disagreeable. Shetland can boast this year of having experienced probably the finest summer weather in Scotland.

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The Cocos King – Leaves Fortune of £200,000 – The “king” of the Keeling Cocos Islands, Mr George Clunies Ross, who died at Ventnor, Isle of Wight, on 7 last, has left a will disposing of personal estate amounting to £207,796 net, as far as at present can be ascertained. He is described as of “The Keeling Cocos Islands, in the South Indian Ocean,” proprietor and king of that group, and eldest son of John George Clunies Ross. The personal estate alone mentioned would appear to be exclusive of his properties in the Keeling Cocos Islands.

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