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Energy secretary considers isles visit

July 18, 2024 | 4.09pm

The secretary of state for energy and net zero will consider visiting the isles to see the potential for tidal stream power.

Energy secretary Ed Miliband was invited to Orkney by the isles MP Alistair Carmichael during an exchange in the Houses of Parliament.

Mr Carmichael called on Mr Miliband to expand support for tidal stream energy and to set a deployment target for the sector in order to maximise its growth.

The Liberal Democrat said developers in the sector needed an “expanded pot” for ringfenced funding and an ambitious development target.

“If he really wants to understand the potential of marine renewables, he needs to get himself up the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney,” Mr Carmichael said. “He’ll be very welcome any time, but he might want to come in the summer, while the days are still long.”

In response Mr Miliband thanked him for the invitation and he would consider it “strongly”.

“I obviously have to make decisions in a certain capacity around Allocation Round 6 but I’ve heard what he’s said,” the energy secretary said.

Mr Carmichael said tidal stream energy had become a “vital part” of the contracts for difference framework.

“These industries of the future have the potential to play a central role in delivering a green energy network – and green jobs to boot,” Mr Carmichael said. “That is particularly true for communities like the Northern Isles where we have been leading the way.”

Summer disruption averted at two major airports

July 15, 2024 | 9.51am

Strikes at Aberdeen and Glasgow airports have been called off at the last-minute.

Almost 300 ICTS search workers at the two sites were due to walk out in mid-July in a row over pay.

But union Unite announced today (Monday) that they had now accepted an improved pay offer, calling an end to the strike action.

The disruption had threatened to affect the summer holiday plans of people travelling to and from Shetland.

Unite said some workers would receive a wage boost of up to 12.8 per cent.

The union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said workers had “overwhelmingly backed” the deal.

“Unite has delivered another significant win for airport workers in Scotland,” she added.

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Shetland’s Strongest crowns first memorial cup winner

July 14, 2024 | 7.45pm

Ethan Bradley was presented the Jonni Manson Memorial Cup at Shetland’s Strongest 2024.

With the event held yesterday (Saturday), the new trophy was presented to Bradley for the best display of sportsmanship.

Introduced this year and presented for the best display of sportsmanship the Jonni Manson Memorial Cup was awarded to Ethan Bradley, presented here by Shetland Weight Training Club rep Stuart Moar Photo: Brian Gray.

Ethan Bradley became the inaugural winner of the trophy. Bradley was presented the trophy by Shetland Weight Training Club representative Stuart Moar.

In the women’s category, Vicki Mackay came out on top, while Calum Elder lifted the prize for strongest man. In addition, Harry Bedding won the strongest novice.

For reports and reaction, read more in the next edition of The Shetland Times.

Isles has lowest food hygiene pass rate

July 13, 2024 | 5.33pm

Eateries in the isles have the worst food hygiene rating in the country according to a new report.

Across all 32 local authority areas, High Speed Training — which specialises in teaching people in food hygiene and health and safety — found restaurants in Shetland had the lowest food standards pass rate (74.71 per cent) in Scotland.

Of the 87 premises which sell food in the isles, around three-quarters were approved by the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS).

Island neighbours Orkney were third on the list (98.17 per cent of 164 premises) which had passed the FHIS.

Orkney was close behind South Ayrshire, who topped the list (99.81 per cent) and Renfrewshire 99.36 per cent.

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Active travel role begins in isles

July 13, 2024 | 2.01pm

A new role identifying the isle’s challenges in active travel was created by Scotland’s walking charity Path’s For All. 

In partnership with ZetTrans, a development officer will spearhead a brand-new project focusing on workplace programmes to increase low-carbon transport.

The isle’s new active travel officer will be responsible for conducting workplace assessments to identify barriers to active travel, developing targeted opportunities and incentives to encourage walking. 

They will also be charged with implementing programs such as the Step Count Challenge, and recruiting and supporting volunteer workplace champions.

Paths for All manager Graham McQueen said this was an exciting opportunity to make a “real difference” in Shetland. 

“By having a dedicated presence in the region, we can better understand and address the specific challenges and opportunities for active travel in island communities,” Mr McQueen said.

“Paths for All is committed to reaching every corner of the country with our mission to promote walking, wheeling and active travel.”

Working closely with key partners such as NHS Shetland and Shetland Islands Council, this role will be instrumental in promoting healthier, more active lifestyles across the islands.

This comes days after cyclist’s have called for more protection on the roads. 

Pick up a copy of The Shetland Times today to read the full story.

Read the story? Email us your thoughts to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk

More Yell ferry disruption

July 12, 2024 | 12.35pm

Yell is set to return to a single-ferry service late next week as the SIC continues to grapple with staff sickness.

The route between Ulsta and Toft will be served by just one ferry on Thursday and Friday next week.

Shetland Islands Council apologised for the inconvenience, and said the disruption was due to long-term sickness and a lack of available cover.

Bookings between Ulsta and Toft on the 6.15am, 6.40am and 7.05am sailings on both days are still valid.

However, a shuttle service is then in operation from 7.30am to 5.30pm – with all bookings suspended.

The SIC said this was “by request of the community”.

“To allow for mandatory breaks, there will be no service for 30 minutes at approximately 10am, and 45 minutes at approximately 1.15pm,” the council added.

In this week’s Shetland Times

July 12, 2024 | 6.39am

In today’s (Friday, 12th July) edition of The Shetland Times:

  • EXCLUSIVE: Cyclists plea for more protection on the roads.
  • Read our comprehensive general election analysis and coverage.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Scalloway mother raises awareness on daughter’s rare muscle condition.
  • Digital switchover plans slammed as BT events held.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Minimarket tastes success with tasty cakes.
  • Report and pictures from sheep show.
  • EXCLUSIVE: MSP backs “pretty and temporary” windfarm projects.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Concerns raised over rare isles magpie breeding.
  • EXCLUSIVE: Fears grow as “skinny” dead dolphin is found.
  • SPORT: Triathletes take county glory in Stromness.
  • SPORT: Report from Dale as eight sides battle for Wilson Cup glory.

Click here to get The Shetland Times delivered to your device every Friday morning.

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‘Keyboard warrior’ went on tirade after parking photo

July 11, 2024 | 3.58pm

A “keyboard warrior” who sent threatening messages after finding his car on a Facebook page called ‘Parking like a Twat’ has been fined.

Douglas Leslie, from Virkie, threatened to set fire to cars and to hurt a dog after going on a drunken tirade between 30th March and 1st April this year.

Defence agent Gregor Kelly said the 52-year-old “should know better”, and procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie called the social media feud “infantile”.

The court heard Leslie’s car had been posted in the Facebook group, which sees users critique and criticise the parking of other drivers.

Mr MacKenzie said Leslie “took exception” to some comments about his parking, sending 14 messages to one man over a five-hour period – including threats of violence.

Leslie also sent 25 messages and tried to call another man twice, making similar threats of violence and to damage their property.

He admitted sending the “grossly offensive” messages to the two men. Mr Kelly said Leslie had been “drinking more than he should have been” at the time, as he recovered from a collapsed lung.

The solicitor said Leslie could not drive at the time, and was being driven around by a friend – who had parked the car for him.

People on social media had suggested that the parking had been caused by Leslie drink-driving, Mr Kelly told the court.

“That was the trigger that set him off,” he added. “He was a keyboard warrior”.

Mr Kelly said that Leslie had been “suitably chastened” by the incident, and had curtailed his drinking.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank said he did not believe that Leslie was going to follow through with any of his threats of violence.

He called this “another example of the rubbish and nonsense that gets posted on social media”.

“Sometimes it’s better to keep your thoughts private than to post it online,” he added.

The sheriff fined Leslie £320.

Sentence deferred after Walls death

July 10, 2024 | 3.03pm

A driver who admitted causing the death of an elderly woman at the Walls pier will be sentenced next month.

Justyna Holbourn, from Ingaville Road, Scalloway, reversed into a parked car at the pier on 17th March last year.

The owner of the car, 72-year-old Kathleen McLachlan, was at the rear of the vehicle at the time and was knocked to the ground and severely injured.

She died in hospital on the mainland four days later.

Appearing from Lerwick Sheriff Court today (Wednesday), Holbourn admitted driving without due care and attention, and failing to make effective use of her mirrors before the crash.

Defence agent Kris Kane asked for her sentence to be deferred for the preparation of background reports.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank agreed, and banned Holbourn from driving in the meantime.

The 46-year-old will return for sentencing on 8th August.

Old Firm bar brawl leads to hefty fine

July 10, 2024 | 2.40pm

A man who glassed another man in the head following an Old Firm football match has been fined over £4,000.

David Houston, from Johnstone, was ordered to pay his victim £1,000 compensation after admitting smashing a glass into the side of his head on 3rd September 2022.

The incident occurred in the Marlex pub, hours after Celtic had beat rivals Rangers 4-0.

Lerwick Sheriff Court was told that though Houston was wearing a Rangers top, and his victim a Celtic top, it was not thought the attack was related to the footballing rivalry.

Bar staff at the pub were said to have become concerned that the atmosphere was becoming “tense” at around 6pm, with a “large number of locals and windfarm workers” together.

A widescale disturbance then kicked off at the bar, with “a number of people going to ground” during so.

CCTV showed an “unidentified female” interacting with Houston before it started, the court heard.

“It’s not clear who or what triggered the disturbance,” procurator fiscal Duncan MacKenzie said.

The complainer and the female moved towards the exit door, and Houston soon followed before appearing to make comments to the pair.

Mr MacKenzie said the complainer pushed Houston in to the pub’s “vestibule area” between its two bars.

The man was grabbed from behind by a friend of Houston, and the complainer raised his arms “either to fend that man off or attempt to seize hold of the accused”.

Houston smashed his glass in to the side of the man’s head with “significant force” in response.

Mr MacKenzie said this was “clearly a deliberate action”, and that the man had then fallen to the ground.

Luckily he only sustained “minor injuries”, including a cut to his ear that required attention by an ambulance crew.

The 33-year-old Houston immediately left the scene.

The fiscal said Houston had two “significant previous convictions” for assaults in pubs, one of which also involved a glass.

Defence agent Peter Malone called for sentencing to be deferred for the preparation of background reports.

Sheriff Ian Cruickshank was not swayed, however, and Mr Malone then argued against Houston being jailed.

He said his client “bitterly regrets becoming involved” in the incident, and stressed how fortunate he was that the injuries were not more serious.

Sheriff Cruickshank agreed it was “fortuitous” the injuries were not worse.

He said Houston’s previous convictions had done him “no favours whatsoever”.

But he added Houston had shown a “responsible attitude” by pleading guilty at the first available opportunity, and had “taken responsibility” for his part in the attack.

The sheriff fined Houston £3,175 for the assault, and ordered him to pay his victim a further £1,000.

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European bee-eater on Papa Stour

June 29, 2024 | 11.53am

This picture of a European bee-eater was captured today (Saturday) by Magnie Scott on Papa Stour.

He told The Shetland Times: “He was so colourful he stood out!”

The photo was post on the Shetland Birds and Wildelife Facebook page and local wildlife expert Hugh Harrop confirmed it was a European bee-eater, commenting: “Brilliant.”

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Relay for life raises £174k – so far … and counting

May 26, 2024 | 12.42am

At midnight on Saturday the Relay for Life Shetland committee announced the total raised
so far this year – unveiling an amazing £174,868.

And with fundraising to continue till the end of August, they expect to smash through the £200k mark.

A typical Shetland day saw the relay get underway at its new start time of midday.

Over 125 survivors took part in the opening lap before peeling off for their reception at the
Anderson High School.

They led off the 32 teams, made up of over 600 participants, that had registered to take part this year.

Kerry Llewellyn, chairwoman of Relay for Life Shetland, said “It has been an amazing event this
year, and the support from the community and local business has been overwhelmingly
positive”

“I want to thank all the volunteers who help us on Friday and Sunday putting the site
together, who bake and help in the tea and BBQ tents and the musicians who keep us
entertained through the day and night.

“I also want to thank all the business that donated raffle prizes our main sponsor Cooke Aquaculture, Ocean Kinetics Ltd, LHD Ltd, Lerwick Port Authority, Scottish Seafarms Ltd and Serene LK297 for supporting the event, EMN Plant Ltd for sponsoring the Survivors’ Reception and Malakoff Ltd for their support of the Candle of Hope ceremony.”

Susan Johnstone – senior divisional manager at CRUK said “It’s been an incredible day at
Relay for Life Shetland.

“The committee, teams and the local community out in force raising money for Cancer Research UK is hugely appreciated by everyone at Cancer Research UK. Together we are beating cancer.”

WATCH: Relay of Life gets under way

May 25, 2024 | 2.50pm

Hundreds have turned out for the beginning of this year Relay of Life, raising funds for CRUK.

It is the first time the Relay got underway in daylight – having previously begun at midnight – beginning just after noon with the ‘survivors’ lap’.

Kerry Llewellyn, chairwoman of the Relay for Life, was really excited at the beginning, saying it was an important event that brings together all of Shetland for a cause close to many people.

Around 125 survivors began the relay, with the support of families and huge crowds.

They were then joined by participants from 31 teams taking part, with around 610 participants.

However, it was plain to see many more wanted to join in – so the actual number will well exceed that.

Kerry said: “Relay For Life celebrates the power of community fundraising to make breakthroughs happen.

“Teams of friends and family fundraise for world-leading cancer research then unite as a collective at a festival to remember loved ones, honour everyone affected by cancer and celebrate the progress we’re making.”

The ‘survivors’ lap’ was led by Natasha Fraser and Alison Leith, both from Lerwick.

Natasha is in recovery from breast cancer, having undergone treatment over the last two years, while Alison is currently in recovery for breast cancer.

They both said they were “honoured” to be opening the event and leading the other participants.

A fun day is now underway with games, stalls, bouncy castles, tea tent and the Relay BBQ.

There will be musical accompaniment throughout the day with great sets from some of Shetland’s

greatest bands including the Plonkeys, Just Another Cake Fridge and the Revellers.

The Candle of Hope will take place at 10pm, with the event finishing at midnight.

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Naval ships call into Lerwick

May 24, 2024 | 4.56pm

A flotilla of naval ships which have been operating for NATO have arrived in Shetland for some “rest and recuperation” for their crews.

The ships, four from the Royal Netherlands Navy and one registered under the Belgium flag, arrived on Friday morning. They are expected to remain over the weekend.

The Mercuur, Zierikzee, Wiilemstad and Makkum are all Royal Netherlands Navy ships. They have differing roles, described as submarine support, military ops or minesweeper.

The Bellis is a “military ops” ships sailing under the flag of Belgium.

They have all been described as working for NATO.

Lerwick Port Authority said they were visiting for “R&R”, and were due to leave again on Monday.

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.

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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