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EnQuest makes charitable contributions through health and safety scheme

May 21, 2024 | 2.08pm

Three charities have benefited from almost £15,000 in donations from an energy giant.

EnQuest made the bumper grants to Clan Cancer Support, Shetland Heart Screening and the RNLI stations in Aith and Lerwick through its Greenie Day Health and Safety Executive (HSE) scheme.

The scheme sees money banked throughout the year for every day at Sullom Voe Terminal with no health and safety incidents. 

Around £14,750 of contributions were split between the charities, with Clan receiving £7,800, Shetland Heart Screening £2,950 and each lifeboat station given £2,000.

Road resurfacing to get under way

May 21, 2024 | 2.06pm

A summer programme of surface dressing will soon begin on Shetland’s roads.

Around 70 locations have been identified across the isles for works to improve the network and protect from winter frost damage. 

In some locations, work is only needed on short sections of road, while at others surface dressing will be done on sections over a mile long.

The work at each location will involve sealing the road surface with a layer of bitumen before applying a fresh layer of stone chips, pressed into the road surface. 

Shetland Islands Council says the essential maintenance helps prevent water penetration and freezing – which can lead to potholes – and also helps to improve skid resistance for vehicles. 

The work needs to be done in warmer temperatures during the summer months.

Warning signs of “loose chippings” will be in place at each location during and after work has been completed. 

Among the locations with longer sections of road identified for surface dressing this summer are:

  •  A970 Cunningsburgh
  •  Sumburgh Airport Road
  •  B9071 Laxo to Vidlin
  •  B9076 Sellaness to SVT Junction
  • A970 Ronas Voe, Swinister to Leon
  • Queyfirth, near Ollaberry
  • East Yell Road (Gossabrough to Aywick)
  • B9088 Fetlar (Brough to Quarry)
  • Brough to Vaivoe and Skaw, Whalsay
  • B9071 East Burrafirth
  • Watsness, near Walls
  • Silwick, near Skeld
  • A970 Girlsta (Wadbister to Brunthamarsland)

Roads manager Neil Hutcheson said: “Our summer programme of surface dressing will soon get under way, which is an essential part of our annual roads maintenance programme. 

“This work may cause some delays in areas where work is being done and we’d ask drivers to keep their speed down in any areas where stone chips have been laid.” 

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Private appearance on assault charge

May 20, 2024 | 12.39pm

A 46-year-old man has appeared in private charged with assault to injury.

Stephen Downton, whose address was given as Shetland, made no plea when he appeared from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court this afternoon (Monday).

He was committed for further examination and released on bail.

No date was given for his next appearance.

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Community council urges energy giants to move project to another site

May 20, 2024 | 9.31am

A community council has urged two energy giants to look for alternative sites for a major project.

Statkraft and SSEN are currently looking to build a substation to connect the Mossy Hill windfarm to the new 132kV power lines being erected just outside Tingwall.

That is likely to be built to the west of where the top end of Ladies Drive meets the A970 main road north out of Lerwick.

Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council has now urged the two companies to reconsider their choice.

Chairman Andrew Archer said some people may not realise “how big these buildings are” that are being proposed by the energy giants.

“The larger building is 105-metres long – that’s longer than the new Anderson High School,” he said.

“Rather than digging up yet another bit of the landscape, Tingwall, Whiteness and Weisdale Community Council feels that other options should be properly explored before the proposals go any further.”

Mr Archer said they had suggested the buildings be constructed at the Staney Hill quarry instead.

But he said Statkraft “won’t even consider our suggestion”.

“We are asking them to pause the process, talk to the quarry owner and the quarry operator and see whether it is possible. 

“Surely that’s not too much to ask.”

Statkraft project manager John Thouless said he was grateful that people from the community had reached out to discuss their concerns.

However, there had been a thought process before selecting its proposed site near Ladies Drive.

“The site has been carefully chosen, in order to safeguard critical infrastructure, minimise visual impact, and reduce disruption for local residents during construction,” Mr Thouless said.

“I’m looking forward to speaking to members of the local community soon, as our plans progress.”

WATCH: Wreaths laid in Scalloway to mark Norwegian national day

May 17, 2024 | 5.37pm

A special wreath-laying ceremony has been held in Scalloway today [Friday] to mark Norway’s national day.

Crowds gathered round the Shetland Bus memorial for the special event, which was held on a bright and sunny afternoon.

Alcohol by-law consultation opens

May 17, 2024 | 11.30am

A consultation has opened today on changing the alcohol by-law in Shetland – potentially extending it to the whole of the isles.

Other options on the table will include dismissing the by-law, which prevents people from drinking in public spaces in Lerwick, entirely.

It comes as the SIC looks to review the by-law for the first time in 17 years.

Legal chief Jan Riise said it was “somewhat out of date” after all that time.

And though the by-law applies only to the town, Mr Riise said there was “no reason why that should be its limit”.

Councillor Neil Pearson asked for a review of the by-law in June 2023, calling for measures to be introduced to tackle underage drinking in Lerwick.

Speaking at Wednesday’s community safety and resilience board, Mr Pearson said he was glad to see the consultation finally ready to go out to the public.

“It’s taken a little while to get it off the ground,” he said.

“But I think it covers everything, from no by-law at all to covering the whole of Shetland.

“I’m looking forward to the outcome of that.”

The current by-law prohibits street drinking in the town other than around Hogmanay and Up-Helly-A’.

The boundary lines of the by-law excludes areas around the Lerwick port and harbour.

The consultation will remain open until Friday, 2nd July.

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Body scanners to be introduced at Sumburgh Airport

May 17, 2024 | 10.25am

Full body scanners are set to be introduced at Sumburgh Airport from the start of June.

That will mean passengers can bring liquids of up to two litres in their hand baggage on to flights.

Passengers who do not wish to use the body scanner will be able to request an alternative search method.

New regulations mean all UK airports must upgrade their X-ray screening equipment by 1st June.

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial)’s upgrades will allow passengers at Sumburgh to now bring 2L of liquids on in their hand baggage.

They will also be allowed to leave electronic devices in their hand baggage during screening.

Hial says it has spent around £1m on improving its security equipment.

Councillors to consider earlier Bressay ferry sailings

May 16, 2024 | 3.43pm

Earlier sailings for the Bressay ferry are to be considered by ZetTrans when its board meets next week.

Sailings for the vessel begin at 7am each day to allow people to go to work.

However, the Bressay Community Council has asked ZetTrans to consider earlier departures from 6.30am to allow for residents to make the first scheduled flights from Sumburgh Airport.

The ZetTrans board are expected to ask lead officer Michael Craigie to discuss with the SICs Ferry Operations Service and the Transport committee whether it would be possible and cost effective to run the Bressay ferry earlier.

In the policy statement of the transport partnership, it said links should “provide equitable access to opportunities”.

Bressay Community Council argued that there would be better access to healthcare in Aberdeen as well as business and personal opportunities on the mainland.

Job opportunities in the isles would also be open to Bressay residents, for shifts which start as early as 7am.

Mr Craigie will acknowledge that “preliminary” work has begun to provide a better understanding to the situation. But he will ask for more formal discussions to take place.

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‘A ticking time bomb’ – concerns about groups of tourists cycling

May 15, 2024 | 3.48pm

Large groups of tourists cycling on Shetland’s roads are “a ticking time bomb”, one councillor has claimed.

There have been numerous concerns raised about cruise ship groups taking off in great numbers.

That has made it difficult for drivers to pass the groups, with some even cycling in thick fog recently.

Neil Pearson asked what could be done about this – including possibly staggering the groups, or asking them not to travel in such numbers.

SIC roads safety officer Elaine Skinley said they would be speaking to cruise companies about this.

Mr Pearson said he had almost had an accident with a cyclist who he “could not believe” was on the road in thick fog without any hi-visibility clothes on.

Chief inspector Stuart Clemenson said cruise ships were now bringing their own bikes for tourists to use.

And he added they would be asking Lerwick Port Authority to give some basic guidance to visiting ships – like Orkney Islands Council has done.

42nd Folk Festival kicks off

May 2, 2024 | 5.11pm

The 42nd Shetland Folk Festival has got under way in great fashion today.

Musicians gathered for the launch event this afternoon (Thursday), with an array of concerts planned over the coming days.

The Hackles. Photo: Austin Taylor

Norwegian ban Gangar added a bit of folk, rock and metal at the opening, and were joined by The Fretless with Madeleine Roger and the Tenement Jazz Band, tipped to be one of the star acts of the event.

There are 15 visiting acts joining local performers in entertaining the crowds all over Shetland.

Concerts tonight take place in Lerwick – Da Big Kirk Concert, the Legion and Mareel – and at Hamnavoe and Vidlin.

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Shetland Wool Week patron awarded to Doull family

April 26, 2024 | 8.09pm

The Shetland Wool Week patron for 2024 has been named today (Fri) at a launch event held at the Shetland Museum and Archives.

In a break from tradition, this year’s patron accolade has been presented to Addie and Margaret Doull from Islesburgh Farm in Northmavine, and their family, in recognition of their dedication to the Shetland Flock Book and commitment to preserving and championing the highest-quality Shetland wool.

The keenly awaited hat pattern, which is synonymous with the launch of the patron was also released.

This year’s hat has been designed by Addie and Margaret’s daughter, Anne, and takes inspiration from the family’s Flock Book roots and the location of their farm and is called the ‘Islesburgh Toorie’.

Shetland Wool Week is delighted to shine a spotlight on the Doull family and to celebrate Shetland oo, the product on which Shetland Wool Week is built. The Doulls are frequently invited to judge shows across the UK, drawing on their expertise in sheep and wool evaluation.

As avid knitters, Margaret, and more recently, Anne, produce exceptional garments of the highest quality too, winning prizes both locally and nationally. Margaret, in particular, is renowned for her hand-knitted Shetland lace.

Anne said: “It’s an honour for the family to be asked to be patrons of this year’s Shetland Wool Week. I’m extremely proud for mam and dad to be recognised for their work with the Shetland Flock Book, which works to preserve and promote the native breed, and it’s something that all the family is committed to.

“We have been farming at Islesburgh, Northmavine, since 1970. The whole family, and Addie’s brother Kenny are involved with the farm and crofts, all helping each other to get the work done.”

The Islesburgh toorie, which is named after the family farm, features a distinctive Shetland Ram motif, a tribute to the family involvement with the Shetland Flock Book.

The inclusion of the print of the wave lace pattern celebrates Margaret’s skilful knitted lace. The colourways are inspired by the many natural shades of their Shetland flock and the heather filled hills and sunset views from the farm.

Hazel Sutherland, chief executive of Shetland Amenity Trust, which manages the event, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that the Doulls have agreed to take on the mantle of Wool Week patron. Our outgoing patron, Alison Rendall, has done a sterling job for us and I would like to sincerely thank her for the commitment she gave to the role.

“Her beautiful Buggiflooer Beanie was a fantastic celebration of Shetland’s natural world, and it inspired many folk to attempt fair isle knitting for the first time and experiment with colour. We’re looking forward to sharing more of the Doull family story and we wish them all the very best for what I’m sure will be a very busy year ahead.”

The Islesburgh Toorie is available in three different colourways using Shetland yarn from Jamieson’s of Shetland; Jamieson & Smith; and Uradale Yarns.

The hat pattern is available to download from the Shetland Wool Week website for £1 and is also available as a printed version for £2 from the Shetland Museum and local wool shops.

Puffin in a puddle

April 20, 2024 | 10.44am

Turns out even puffins like splashing in puddles.

This image by Kiera Munro has been shared by Sumburgh Head Lighthouse.

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WATCH: Easter bunny brings joy to Skerries

April 1, 2024 | 9.38am

Passengers aboard the ferry to Skerries were left rubbing their eyes in disbelief after spotting the Easter bunny yesterday (Sunday).

The elusive rabbit was seen waving to the ferry from the Grunay pier as he made his Easter rounds.

And the ferry crew reported adults and children had been left agog at the unexpected sighting, with one said to have declared it as “like something out of a storybook”.

The Easter bunny produced a sign wishing everyone a “Happy Easter”, leaving behind a trail of smiles in his wake.

First ship of bumper season cruises in

March 31, 2024 | 1.15pm

The first cruise ship of what is hoped to be another record season arrived into Lerwick yesterday (Saturday).

Ambassador’s Ambition arrived on an 11-day Easter tour of the British isles, leaving from and returning to London Tilbury.

She is the first of 149 cruise ships booked to come to Shetland between now and mid-November, with roughly 130,000 passengers due to arrive.

There are also 11 maiden calls expected this year, including the largest yet to visit – the MSC Virtuosa in May – which has a capacity of between 4,000 and 6,000 passengers.

Delting Up-Helly-A’ in pictures

March 16, 2024 | 9.45am

Crowds of hundreds turned up to watch the procession led by Guizer Jarl Daniel Johnson and the galley burning in Brae last night (Friday)

Photo: Sophie Whitehead

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Delting Up-Helly-A’ gearing up for a big night

March 15, 2024 | 6.59pm

It’s now down to the big burn in Delting.

Guizer Jarl Daniel Johnson, who is Hakon Galinn for the day, will be preparing for the procession and burning of the galley.

Photo: Sophie Whitehead

Daniel, who was nominated onto the committee by his uncle Stuart Robertson, lives in Muckle Roe with his wife Karen and their two children, Mitchell, 8, and five-year-old Ada. His children joins him in a squad of 45.

Photo: Sophie Whitehead


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