The Shetland Times » The Shetland Times Shetland News, Sport, Jobs, Properties, Shop Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:46:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Scottish government should help end airports dispute – Carmichael Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:42:45 +0000 Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate, Alistair Carmichael, has called on the Scottish government to intervene in the HIAL-Prospect dispute which could lead to strike action at Sumburgh and several airports next week.

Talks between the union and the regional airport operator are to be held tomorrow in a bid to avert a 48-hour strike from 7th April backed by Prospect members.

It will affect all Highlands and Islands airports. The union is wanting better terms and conditions for security staff of HIAL owned Airport Management Services Limited (AMSL).

But HIAL said a near 30 per cent increase in wages was unreasonable.

Mr Carmichael said:”This is the first time in the year that we will see significant tourist numbers to the Northern Isles, never mind local people wanting to get away during the school holidays.

“A disruption of this sort at this time could have a serious impact on local tourism and businesses. That is why we need Scottish ministers to get round the table with HIAL and its subsidiaries. It is Scottish government pay policy that lies at the heart of this dispute.”

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General Election candidates clash over ferry fares Tue, 31 Mar 2015 15:12:42 +0000 Two of the Shetland and Orkney parliamentary candidates are at loggerheads over what the road equivalent tariff (RET) ferry fares could mean for the isles, if it were ever introduced.

Liberal Democrat candidate Alistair Carmichael has described the exclusion of ferry services to Orkney and Shetland from RET as “unjustifiable”.

His comments came as the Scottish government announced the inclusion of ferry services in the Firth of Clyde in the scheme resulting in cuts of 55 per cent for a single car ticket.

But SNP parliamentary candidate Danus Skene said Mr Carmichael “should do his sums” before demanding RET, which links ferry fares to the cost of travelling the equivalent distance on land.

Mr Carmichael has always been in favour of RET for the Northern Isles. He said: “Ferry services to almost every other island community will have this advantage apart from those to Orkney and Shetland. That is unjustifiable on any view.

“Local people will have heard everything that the transport minister said when he launched the scheme. He spoke about the importance of lifeline ferry services and the benefits that would come for local tourism and other industries from RET.

“He is quite right about this so why are Orkney and Shetland to be treated differently? Are our tourist businesses less deserving of support?

“MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur have fought for this since the SNP first started this discrimination in 2007. Throughout that time the SNP list MSPs that are supposed to represent us have stayed silent.

“Local people realise that they can not rely on the SNP to stand up for them.”

However Mr Skene said Mr Carmichael should not get over-excited about the absence of RET in Orkney and Shetland.

Mr Skene said: “Alistair Carmichael and the LibDems are having a good moan again that some island ferry fares in the west of Scotland are about to be brought down by application of RET. Why are the Northern Isles being excluded?

“They should do some arithmetic. The answer is that if RET were applied to the Northern Isles ferries over which the Scottish government has any control – the NorthLink services – then the costs would go up. Transport Scotland is explicitly clear about this.

“The Scottish government has no intention of misapplying the principles of RET, designed to moderate the very high mile-for-mile ferry rates in the west [of Scotland] so as to disadvantage the Northern Isles.”

Minister for transport and islands MSP Derek McKay said: “I’m well aware of the crucial role our lifeline ferry services play for the communities they serve, so I’m delighted to confirm that the RET roll-out [in the Firth of Clyde] will bring significant fare reductions for passengers.

“The roll-out of RET on other routes has been a real success, bringing benefits to local economies and boosting the tourist trade, so I’m sure this will come as welcome news to locals and visitors.”

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Industry to fund £60m search and rescue helicopter Tue, 31 Mar 2015 08:12:28 +0000 Oil and gas operators in the North Sea have committed to fund a search and rescue helicopter service which will replace an aircraft based at Sumburgh Airport.

The move by Bond Offshore Helicopters to operate the new service will help ensure existing rescue and recovery standards are maintained following the decommissioning of BP’s Miller platform. That decommissioning is heralding the end of the Jigsaw helicopter that has provided additional rescue and response cover to the central North Sea on a goodwill basis.

Chief executive of Oil & Gas UK, Malcolm Webb, said: “Jigsaw has been an excellent service that has benefited many in the Central North Sea over the years. However the removal of the Miller platform means that service was not sustainable.

“Furthermore changes to national SAR [search and rescue] provision mean that the two-hour time set down by industry for rescue and recovery cannot be guaranteed in certain parts of the central North Sea. Accordingly, the operators of various fields in the Central North Sea worked together and with Oil & Gas UK to find a solution. This industry-funded search and rescue helicopter service will maintain the rescue and recovery capability we demand for our offshore workforce.”

The participating companies have awarded Bond Offshore Helicopters a £60 million contract over five years to deliver the service which will operate out of Aberdeen and provide rescue and recovery and medivac cover for offshore workers.

Bond Offshore Helicopter’s managing director, Steve Griffiths added: “Our search and rescue teams have been providing a life-saving service with specialist helicopters for almost a decade. Today’s announcement ensures the men and women working offshore in the central North Sea will continue to receive world-class search and rescue support.”

The industry-funded SAR helicopter and the dedicated back-up aircraft will be based at Bond Offshore Helicopters HQ at Aberdeen International Airport and cover a radius of around 160 nautical miles.

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Drama group proves less can be more Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:01:18 +0000 It is difficult to know what to expect when an amateur group takes on a well-known play, but Islesburgh Drama Group’s performance of The 39 Steps last week was quite simply a triumph.

The group’s interpretation of the John Buchan classic was hilarious from beginning to end and the sell-out audience at the Garrison Theatre loved every minute, as the claps and cheers proved.

On the run: Character Richard Hannay tries to outwit the police. Photo: Dave Donaldson

On the run: Character Richard Hannay tries to outwit the police. Photo: Dave Donaldson

The far-fetched story starts and ends in a palatial London flat and romps through a series of improbable adventures en route to the Highlands of Scotland. And, incredibly, a tiny cast of only four actors carried the whole thing off with aplomb.

While main man Richard Hannay was played by one actor, Lawrence Radley, throughout, all the other parts were taken by the three remaining actors. And this feat required swift changes of clothes, headgear and especially accents as the action moved north.

Actor Andy Long in particular appeared in so many guises it was difficult to keep count, and at one time had different hats in each hand to accompany alternate sentences, to great comic effect. And all the cast were completely in character throughout the fast-paced play.

The reduced cast played in a minimalist stage set, which again was very successful and served to illustrate that less really can be more. The revolving door indicating scene changes worked well, the toy train and dog which graced the stage at various points worked wonders in depicting the action – and got a lot of laughs.

In some scenes pyrotechnics, lighting, including strobe lighting and music conjured up the atmosphere remarkably well, grabbing the audience’s attention. And at every possible moment the comic potential of a scene was exploited by producer and director Morag Mouat, whether by a moving window (you had to be there), a mispronunciation or a costume.

The John Buchan classic has stood the test of time, been through many iterations on film and stage – one seen by this reviewer at the West End – but has never been so enjoyable.

More in this week’s paper.

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Airport operator wants talks with union Mon, 30 Mar 2015 11:26:06 +0000 Regional airport operator HIAL is urging trade union Prospect to resume talks to prevent a strike next week.

On Friday the union said security workers would hold a 48-hour strike from midday on 7th April at all HIAL airports including Sumburgh.

Eighty-seven per cent of members voted in favour of striking, with an 85 per cent turnout.

Prospect said the staff of HIAL’s security company Airport Management Services Ltd, should be on equal terms and conditions as other airport staff.

But HIAL said the call for a near 30 per cent pay increase was unreasonable, however is wanting to negotiate.

Managing Director of HIAL, Inglis Lyon said: “Despite our earlier efforts to engage Prospect, and to identify areas where a compromise could be reached, the union has yet to respond.

“We are therefore contacting the union to once again invite them to talks. We have shown a willingness to engage with the union and we are prepared to consider more realistic claims from them. However, we cannot accede to demands for a near 30% pay increase.”

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Indoor golf nets unveiled in Whalsay Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:53:50 +0000 A squash court in Whalsay Leisure Centre is doubling as a golf practice range thanks to a partnership between Shetland Recreational Trust and Whalsay Golf Club with support from Awards for All.

Nets have been installed for the club’s golfers to practise indoors during the harsh winter months. The nets fold away neatly above the court allowing it to be used by squash players too.

The facility, which cost £6,400, was officially opened by Shetland Recreational Trust chairman Bryan Leask, who hit the ceremonial first ball which will now be mounted and used as a junior trophy.

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Bryan Leask takes the ceremonial first shot in the indoor nets at Whalsay Leisure Centre

He said: “The aims of the Shetland Recreational Trust include ‘providing opportunities to discover new recreational interests by the imaginative use of all resources’ and also ‘giving recreational opportunities to all people’. This project fulfils our vision, to have one area within a facility where squash, spinning and golf can all be performed.

“To see different organisations working in partnership to develop the plans and promote golf development in Whalsay is to be applauded.”

Joint secretary of Whalsay Golf Club, Robert Anderson, said: “The newly opened golf nets at the Whalsay Leisure Centre are set to be a major boost to golf development in Whalsay. During the early months of the year, junior golf coaching is mostly restricted to indoors due to the weather.

“Although indoors is ideal for the absolute beginner, it does have obvious drawbacks for the more advanced juniors, considering the nature of the game. The golf nets will more than cater for this problem and will also allow more to one-to-one coaching for the more advanced juniors seeking minor swing adjustments.

“Adult beginners can use the facility too, either under coaching instruction or just to try out the basics of golf in a closed environment, before taking the plunge of an introductory membership. Finally, established golfers can utilise the facility over the closed season to maintain, or build on, their skills.

“We would like to thank the National Lottery and Shetland Recreational Trust who both funded the project, with the latter also skilfully installing the facility at the Whalsay Leisure Centre. Also, a big thank you must go out to ClubGolf Scotland, who were heavily instrumental in getting the project of the ground and to the Whalsay Leisure Centre staff, for their time and patience in accommodating the design and installation of the golf nets”.

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Whalsay Golf Club members at the official opening.

The idea was conceived by ClubGolf regional manager, Willie MacKay, the golf club, and Shetland’s Community Sports Hub official, Carl Clinton. For years, younger children have had indoor sessions in the Whalsay Games Hall using plastic clubs, but the club’s growing junior section of older golfers had their practice at the Skaw course interrupted by poor weather.

Mr MacKay said: “From the start when the golf club were keen to explore the idea, I can honestly say that in over 10 years working in ClubGolf this project was partnership working at its best.

“David Wagstaff, SRT technical services manager, drew up plans, we visited the site and along with the manager, Ian Simpson, looked at how the project could work and not interfere with other activities with storage and safety as a priority. With their and the club members’ expertise, many of whom are fishers and familiar with the mechanics needed for the nets to work, they now have a five-star golf practice area.

“The timing is perfect with winter moving into spring and the golf season about to start, the juniors can start preparing for coaching and competitions. The facility will also be perfect for Whalsay Golf Club’s involvement in Scottish Golf’s ‘Get into Golf’ scheme for adult beginners.”

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New music festival pulls in top US acts Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:43:43 +0000 American music stars will share the stage with local talent at a brand new music festival in Unst this summer.

The inaugural Shetland Reel Music Festival will be held on 14th to 16th August, with proceeds going to charity and Baltasound Junior High School.

Organised by the owner of the Saxa Vord Resort, Frank Strang, it follows last year’s successful appearance by Dolly Parton’s guitarist Jim Salestrom, who performed solo and with Brian Nicholson at the Baltasound Hall to mark the launch of Shetland Reel Gin.

Jim, an Emmy Award winner who has also recorded and performed with John Denver and Kenny Rogers, will be returning to Unst to curate the new festival.

He said: “Unst is a truly beautiful place and I had a wonderful time there last year, so I’m really looking forward to coming back and making music again with some of my friends and some of the fantastically talented musicians like Brian Nicholson with whom I played last year.”

The festival will include appearances by the West Coast band Marley’s Ghost, Livingston Taylor and Jim’s son James Salestrom.

The Shetland musicians will include Lisa Ward, fresh from her star turns on BBC1’s The Voice, who is to play alongside friend and fellow Voice contestant Daniel Duke; the Sheila Henderson Band; Arthur Nicholson; Chloe Robertson; Adam Guest; Toni Sidgwick; and Dig Deep.

Lisa Ward. Photo: Dave Donaldson.



Marley’s Ghost comprises singers and multi-instrumentalists Dan Wheetman, Jon Wilcox, Mike Phelan, Ed Littlefield Jr and Jerry Fletcher.

They play genres from roots to rock, blues to bluegrass, and gospel to country, and are known for their trademark multi-part harmonies.

The band recently celebrated their 25th anniversary with their new album Jubilee, featuring guest performances from Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mary Stuart and Larry Campbell.

Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Liv Taylor is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate and Hugh.

Equally at home with a range of musical genres – folk, pop, gospel, jazz – his hits include I Will Be in Love with You, I’ll Come Running, I Can Dream of You and Boatman, the last two recorded by his brother James.

Usually seen fronting his five-piece band The Electric Sunday, James Salestrom will be appearing as a solo artist at the Shetland Reel Music Festival, playing an eclectic fusion of revival rock, funk and blues, with just a touch of soul.

James said that his mission is “to bring back the fun and the beauty of what music used to be, while at the same time creating something new and exciting”.

Mr Strang said: “This is all about creating a unique blend of the sounds of America, sounds of Shetland – and it will be great fun.

“These are some of the most talented musicians in the United States who want to come to Shetland, to Unst, after hearing from Jim Salestrom about how great it is.

“Jim’s performance went down really well in Unst last year and we are hoping that music lovers from all over the country will come to hear some great music.”

He added: “I’m hoping that we can build this into a major fixture on the country’s music calendar.”

Mr Strang said he and his staff were hoping to erect a covered stage at Saxa Vord and possibly use other venues in Unst for performances.

More information about tickets and venues will be made available next month.

Profits from the event will be donated to charities including Horseback UK and Alzheimer Scotland (Shetland branch) as well as Baltasound Junior High School to help with funds and allow local children to join trips out of Shetland.

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Creative Watt shines in music city Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:00:48 +0000 Isles musician Joe Watt is thriving in Glasgow.

Watt was a prominent member of the Shetland contemporary music scene prior to moving south last year to study a degree in commercial music at the University of West Scotland in Ayrshire.

Being only a short train journey from the burgeoning musical city, the young musician has certainly got stuck in, working as an audio engineer, producer and gigging all over Glasgow.

Watt’s passion for hip-hop and rap has been evident in the Shetland ventures Wind-Up Projectiles and Shetland Phony – the latter a musi­cal project with Watt at the fore, described not as a band, but Watt along­­side musicians he works with.

Since moving to the mainland and playing and seeing other Scottish hip-hop artists, he has decided to drop the American accent, rapping in his own burr instead.

The American tinge came from the US hip-hop he listened to in younger years, though he admitted breaking into a Scottish accent between songs, when other Scottish artists are rapping in their accents, would seem a little odd.

Watt is working on a Shetland Phony EP, and has recently released Can’t Fight featuring Stuart Ram­age of acoustic duo Bella and The Bear (contains explicit lyrics).


“I just put out a single to give more of a taste of my accent,” said Watt.

The song is a clever mixture of funk flavours, rap, hip hop and Scottish lilts.

It is clear early on in our con­versation that Watt is enjoying him­self, and has immersed himself in the Glasgow and Ayr music scenes.

His enthusiasm bursts down the phone line and Watt is excited about his work as an engineer and pro­ducer.

His audio engineer Facebook page has clocked up hundreds of likes and Watt has been grafting away producing Bella and The Bear’s debut EP, which he said “is one of the biggest projects I’ve worked on.”

And Watt said he has become quite well known as a go-to acoustic music engineer, and things are going well for him.

“I can be offered jobs left and right and I never thought that would happen,” he said.

Living in Ayr and so close to the big city, he can go to a gig every night of the week, and be recording in the studio.

One of his mixes has appeared on Ayrshire radio station West FM, and next month sees the launch of the Bella and The Bear EP.

Watt said since leaving Shetland, he has realised he does not want a career as musician but finds work­ing as an audio engineer and producer more satisfying.

“I find more creative satisfaction from bringing those feeds of creat­ive works from people to fruition than creat­ing those feeds myself,” he said.

“I was really nervous when I came down here,” added Watt, who questioned whether or not he could make a living out of being a creative person.

But playing and learning about music in Shetland has stood him in good stead.

Shetland has given him the oppor­tunity to learn about song­writing, marketing, video product­ion and musicality.

And for such strong foundations he is very grateful.

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More work on Clickimin footpaths Sun, 29 Mar 2015 08:00:30 +0000 Work on the next phase of the Clickimin footpaths will begin tomorrow, leading to the closure of the path on the east side of Clickimin Loch.

Footpaths on the west side of the loch via Westerloch Drive, are nearly complete and the paths will be open early next week.

But work will move to the path running beside the south football pitches, and the footpath will be closed from Monday morning until 30th June, or earlier if work is finished.

The footpath around the Clickimin rugby pitch will be closed until the new roundabout, tied in with the new Anderson High School, is finished towards the end of the year.

Shetland Islands Council said all paths are being resurfaced with tarmac and widened to three metres ahead of the new school being built.

The upgrades are being made through a grant of £507,500 from national transport organisation SusTrans Scotland, to encourage walking and cycling to school by pupils.

Pedestrians and cyclists will have an alternative route either along the newly upgraded path on the west side of the loch, via Westerloch Drive; or on the main road and pavements on South Lochside.

The route over Staney Hill between Clickimin and Ladies Drive will remain open for the time being.


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Youngsters crank it up at Battle of the Bands Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:48:07 +0000 Blues, funk, rock and punk were on the menu last night as isles youngsters took to the stage for this year’s Battle of the Bands competition.

Up for grabs was a recording session in Mareel and a chance to play at the Heavy Metal Buffet festival this summer.

The alcohol-free event organised by the Shetland Young Promoters Group and held in Lerwick Legion, was branded the ‘best so far” by judge Bryan Peterson who hailed the diversity of music on show.

The annual gig was an opportunity for talented youngsters to crank up the volume, tread the boards and have their music played to a wider audience.

From sparkling renditions of Nirvana, Duke Ellington and Jimi Hendrix, to self-penned songs, groovy back beats and intricate guitar harmonies the young musicians set the bar high.

Bass and acoustic guitar duo Draugon opened up the night, with their metal-inflected, driving instrumentals.

Despite the stripped down approach, their dark, rocky tones intertwined to great effect.

Judge Graeme Howell, general manager at Shetland Arts said the “band blew him away”

“Keep doing what you’re doing,” he added.

A hearty portion of funk was then served up by The FB, who played their own infectious head-bopping tunes, tight rhythms and a crisp and clever version of No Diggity, where guitarist Peter Kay took the mic with gravelly vocal tones.

“Funky Dave” Varga the drummer was praised by Peterson as was the funk/jazz fusion sounds of Lewis Hall on keys.

And with Drew Garrick on trumpet the classy brass injection added to the smooth and laid-back jam vibe.

Then Blind Summit performed a scorching set of rock-based guitar covers, from the Black Keys to the Foo Fighters and The Clash’s Should I stay or Should I Go, which had the audience dancing along to the punchy guitar chords.

Blind Summit's Rosie Richardson belts out a number at Lerwick Legion. Photo Scott Goudie.

Blind Summit’s Rosie Richardson belts out a number at Lerwick Legion. Photo Scott Goudie.

Led by the honey-sweet, yet powerful vocals of Rosie Richardson, the five piece were bursting with flair, with strong bass lines, screaming guitar tones and alternating guitar lines.

Solid drumming came courtesy of Eamonn Watt, who was a last minute stand-in for James Monaghan.

Toxic Flames were polished and catchy, with their self-penned songs including radio hits Time Twister and DarkScythe with the audience chanting the chorus and singing the keyboard line.

Dual pianos, bluesy bass lines and impressive vocals were next courtesy of Misbehavin’.

Joanne Tait picked up the bass guitar once more and showed the strength and soul in her voice in the tracks Sweet Home Chicago and The A Train. David Varga was again on the kit and the keyboard playing by Melody Duncan and Amy Laurenson was stylish and slick.

Last year’s winners Autopilot wowed the crowd with their punk-flavoured rock songs.

The lads clearly were enjoying themselves on stage and their tune The Islanders was a standout on their setlist.

After a difficult decision, winners of the Heavy Metal Buffet prize were The FB and Toxic Flames.

HMB’s Dirk Robertson described the former as “ a really tight funk band” and added there was “something very special there”.

Toxic Flames gave “an amazing performance” and Robertson said it was the best he had seen the band play.

Newly formed band The FB were happy to win the prize.

Garrick praised the atmosphere on the night and said it was a really good opportunity for young Shetland musicians.

He added: “I think it was a close drawn thing…there was a lot of good bands.”

“I think it’s definitely a good thing for young musicians to be heard and it gives them a chance to get some criticism to improve,” said Kay.

“It’s good to get more young bands playing in Shetland,” said Hall.

Toxic flames, were also happy to be performing at the Heavy Metal Buffet, having performed at the festival previously.

They too noted the opportunity it gave musicians and said they enjoyed taking part.

The recording prize was given to Blind Summit who were called “a great band” and praised for their interaction with the crowd.

The group then rattled off cracking covers to the delight of the punters to end the night with a wonderful wah-wah working of All Along The Watch Tower and Blur’s Song 2 among the encore.

Judge Amanda Pearson said: “We all feel really happy that the future of Shetland music is in good hands.”

I would have to agree.

More in Friday’s Shetland Times

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