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Sandwick: Crash attended by emergency services

August 9, 2022 | 4.25pm

Two vehicles have crashed on the A970 near Sandwick this afternoon (Tuesday).

Police and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service attended the collision.

A fire crew was called by police to try and make the scene safe.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Around 3.10pm on Tuesday, 9 August, 2022, officers were called to a report of a crash involving two vehicles on the A970 near Sandwick.

“Emergency services are at the scene.”

There is no indication to the well being of the people in the vehicles.

Police Scotland have been contacted for more details.

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Exam joy for pupils as results are out

August 9, 2022 | 11.33am

Joy for pupils as exam results show that pass rates are up in Shetland compared to the rest of Scotland.

Pass rates for National 5, Highers and Advanced Highers are all above the Scottish average, with increases in pass rate for National 5 and advanced Highers.

Exams returned for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2019.

The A to C pass rate at National 5 is 86.6 per cent. In 2019, this figure was 82.3 per cent with the Scottish average this year at 80.8 per cent.

A to C pass rate at Higher is 79.5 per cent.  In 2019, this figure was 81.9 per cent and the Scottish average this year is 78.9%.

Finally the A to C pass rate at Advanced Higher is 88.2 per cent.  In 2019, this figure was 78.2 per cent while the Scottish average this year is 81.3 per cent.

Davie Sandison, Chairman of the Council’s Education and Families Committee said: “I’d like to congratulate all the pupils on their achievements, after sitting exams for the first time in three years.

“They’ve shown remarkable resilience in the face of the uncertainty and disruption caused by the pandemic.

“I would like to thank all the teachers, head teachers and support staff who have helped prepare our young people for exams this year and who have provided them with the health and wellbeing support to help them achieve their potential.”

 

‘Aliens will be reported to the space police and transported to Mars’ 

August 9, 2022 | 11.29am

Shetland may be known for its warm welcome to visitors – but that only extends so far.

Any extra-terrestrial interlopers will be facing the long arm of the law.

According to a sign at the entrance of SaxaVord Spaceport in Unst, aliens will be “reported to the space police and transported to Mars”.

The spaceport is progressing plans to host the UK’s first vertical satellite launch by the end of this year.

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Care homes facing greater pressures than at the worst of the pandemic

August 9, 2022 | 11.00am

 Care homes are “stretched to capacity” as the service battles with pressures not seen since the height of the pandemic. 

The SIC has asked for the public’s support as services struggle with a period of “extremely high pressure”.

It said the problems had arisen due to rising demand, coupled with the continuing pressures of Covid, the holiday period, and ongoing difficulties with recruitment.

Services have moved to a business continuity mode, meaning the focus is on directing resource towards the highest risk areas.

The council said similar pressures were being felt throughout the country with the impact reportedly going “beyond that during the worst of the pandemic”.

“We would reassure families and friends of those receiving care that our priority is their safety and support, and we ask for their patience and understanding,” the council said. 

 

 

 

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Wool Week return unaffected by social distancing

August 9, 2022 | 9.58am

Tickets for Wool Week go on sale tomorrow as the event returns after two years of being online. 

It was not expected that a full return would happen as some larger activities had a question mark over them because of social distancing issues but these however, have been rectified. 

The Shetland Wool Week programme was shared last week and, whilst it is slightly scaled back from previous years, it still offers a broad range of classes, talks, tours, exhibitions and drop in events. 

Jacqui Birnie, Cultural Heritage Manager said: “We’ve had a really positive response to the programme and are excited to be back.

“Shetland Wool Week would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in the Shetland community who has stepped forward to put on and organise an event helping us to make it happen.”

The nine-day event will be located throughout the isles with a focus on Shetland wool, crofting, heritage and textiles design.

Ness Utd clinch league title

August 8, 2022 | 8.44pm

Ness United has clinched the Ocean Kinetics league title after a 0-0 draw against Lerwick’s Spurs.

The South Mainland team needed one point from their last two games to take top spot, and managed it in their home match at Boddam tonight (Monday) against the town side – despite a spirited fight by Spurs.

Ness was last champions in Shetland in 1966.

 

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NorthLink pod petition sent to ferry boss

August 8, 2022 | 3.58pm

A petition to replace the pods on the NorthLink ferries has been submitted to the managing director after more than 1800 people supported the cause.

Sarah Stove, from Lerwick, sent the petition to Stuart Garrett for consideration last week and is waiting for a response.

Ms Stove said that despite the support she has for the petition she felt nervous because of the responsibility.

She said: “I just wanted to get it done, I felt like I was on autopilot really. 

“I am proud and my friends are too but at the same time I’m also nervous, I feel like it’s a big responsibility.” 

The aim of the petition is to take away the pods which are “not fit for purpose” and replace them with something more suitable.

Many people have commented on the petition, detailing why they have signed the document and many are not willing to use the reclining sleeping station.

Alan Tulloch, of Orkney, commented: “They are absolutely rubbish. I often sleep on the ground in front of the pod.”

Mary Watt, from Lerwick, also said: “I’m not a good sailor so have to be in a horizontal position to cope, which isn’t possible with the existing pods.”

In recent times, the ferry service has been criticised for overcrowding, with pictures being branded “unacceptable” by Isles politicians.

A ban on shared cabins has also led to solo passengers feeling like they are being treated like “second class citizens” while they travel, having to use pods or sleep in corridors.

Ms Stove’s petition is mainly to replace the pods with something that is more comfortable and acceptable.

However, in her petition she suggested a couchette may be a better option than the pods currently used.

Mr Garrett has went on record in the past supporting the controversial sleeping facilities which are used in the passenger ferries.

In December, Stuart Garret highlighted figures showing the popularity of pods.

He said they were a “competitively priced alternative” to cabins, adding: “So despite what some people might say there is a demand and we have significant satisfaction ratings for both cabins and pods.”

NorthLink have again been approached for comment.

 

 

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Whalsay win Fraser Cup after 2-0 victory over Thistle

August 6, 2022 | 5.05pm

Whalsay lifted the Fraser Cup after a fairly comfortable 2-0 win over Thistle in Scalloway.

Neil Laurenson gave the islanders the lead in the first half with a superb solo goal, before Lee Irvine sealed the win in the second period with an instinctive finish inside the box.

Thistle tested Whalsay keeper Kyle Duncan, mostly in the second half and from long range, but Whalsay held out resolutely to win the trophy.

Coastguard celebrates 200th anniversary

July 16, 2022 | 4.53pm

A celebration took place today (Saturday) to mark the 200th anniversary of the Coastguard service.

The event was held on board the NorthLink ferry Hrossey, providing a maritime link to the occasion.

Alex Dodge, the senior coastal operations officer in Shetland who has worked for the Coastguard over the last 21 years, said: “To be operating for 200 years is quite a milestone.

“We are an island surrounded by water and have relied on the services of the Coastguard from the start.

“Interestingly its first prime role was to stop smuggling and recruit for the Navy, but saving lives is the major reason for the service and over the years it has helped save many thousands of lives.

“This event is to celebrate that history, reflect on the past, including many rescues, and remember those who have lost and celebrate the successes.

“While the service has change, particularly with the advances in technology, the prime role remains the same – to save lives.”

SIC depute convener Bryan Peterson said: “The Coastguard has provided such an important service to a maritime community like Shetland for 200 years, so it is appropriate we celebrate their work.

“Our islands owe a huge debt of gratitude to all the staff and volunteers who have worked with the Coastguard in various capacities.”

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Fun run brings out competitive spirit

July 9, 2022 | 3.03pm

Competitors gathered for a fun-run Unst today [Saturday].

The 5k run was held ahead of UnstFest, which is due to get under way on Monday.

 

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Isle of Vaila for sale – with a £1.75m price tag

June 17, 2022 | 2.50pm

The Isle of Vaila – with six-and-a-half miles of coastline and a 17th century mansion – has gone on the market for offers over 1.75million.

Vaila, on the west coast, is separated from mainland Shetland by the Vaila Sound, and is a short 10-minute boat journey from the island’s private shore base into a sheltered bay with a pier.

Selling agents Savills state that Vaila encompasses rugged cliffs, rocky outcrops, caves and pebble beaches.

To the north and east, Vaila overlooks the northern and central part of the Shetland mainland towards Muckle Roe and Lerwick.

On a clear day, there are uninterrupted views to the Fair Isle to the south and to Foula to the west.

Luke French, of Savills, said: “At the meeting point of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, this is a wild and beautiful part of the world.

“The juxtaposition of the dramatic, elemental land and seascape with the exquisite craftsmanship of historic Vaila Hall makes for a quite extraordinary property.

“A rare prize indeed for the next owner but also one which benefits from practical forethought by the sellers with the shore base building providing ease of access and the farming enterprise, farmhouse and cottage creating a variety of opportunities.”

He adds: “This striking location, once home to Norwegian Viking chiefs, is the unlikely setting for a magnificent 17th century mansion house.

“Vaila Hall was developed from a laird’s house into a grand summer residence in the late 19th century and by the early 20th century, lavish house parties were being held there, with as many as 30 people listed as employed on the island in 1901.

The current owners bought the island in 1993 and since then the house has undergone an extensive and sympathetic restoration to provide a well-appointed and comfortable home.

“Highlights include a baronial great hall with massive stone fireplace, full height stained glass windows and a minstrels’ gallery, and a concealed entrance into the functional kitchen.”

Whale of a problem

June 15, 2022 | 8.42am

By Adrian Darbyshire

Inconsiderate parking by orca watchers is a Shetland-wide problem, community councillors heard.

This issue was raised at a meeting of the Association of Shetland Community Councils on Tuesday.

A paper presented by Alastair Cooper of Delting Community Council highlighted inconsiderate parking by groups whale watching, bird watching and loch fishing who blocked roads and lay-bys on single tracks lanes.

This, he said, was a Shetland-wide problem, and it required an island-wide solution. Orca chasers were said at the meeting to have made “twitchers look like well-behaved children”.

Delting Community Council has contacted Police Scotland and Shetland Island Council’s highways division about the problem parking.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Mark Burgess of Scalloway Community Council spoke of being caught up in the “madness of whale chasing” himself in the past and admitted: “We’ve all been there and all done it – blocked roads, parked where we should not, even gone across people’s gardens.”

He said the same thing happened with those hoping to catch a glimpse of the “mirrie dancers”.

Mr Burgess said it was quite a unique situation to the isles and suggested there should be a Shetland-specific countryside access code.

This could be made available to passengers on the NorthLink ferries, he said.

He also proposed that a responsible wildlife watching video should be produced.

Bridges Project helps support Ukraine

June 11, 2022 | 1.43pm

Three young people attending the Bridges Project have an art exhibition on display at Islesburgh Community Centre.

The aim of the project was initially to support them in the process of creating art, learn new skills and to develop their designs to finished artwork.

The Bridges Project has been running a weekly art class since January, with art work made using various techniques, including mono and litho printing, embossing and collage.

With the invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, the three young people – Erik, Paignton and Sadie – felt they wanted to do something to support the victims of the war.

Their favourite pieces of artwork have since been developed into a six-piece pack of cards, including design styles reflecting the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

These packs are available to buy for from Islesburgh and various other outlets, with all proceeds going directly to the UNICEF – Ukraine appeal.

The group has been supported by Hoswick-based textile designer Niela Nell Kalra; and Katie Leask, studio manager at Nielanell knitwear studio.

Gail Herculeson – Bridges Support Worker said: “This has been a really positive and creative journey for this group, who have had the space and time to design pieces that reflect their individual personalities.

“We’re grateful to Niela and Katie for their artistic support, and we hope that folk will come along to appreciate the exhibition and to help raise funds for the UNICEF Ukraine appeal.”

The exhibition will run at Islesburgh until the end of July.


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