Bus boat returns
THE DISTINCTIVE “bung-bung” noise of the Wickmann engine heralded the arrival of the Shetland Bus vessel MK Andholmen into Scalloway Harbour last Sunday afternoon.
The historic vessel berthed in what is regarded as her home port for the first time in over 60 years after crossing the North Sea from Stavanger in Norway.
She was met by a group of representatives of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society and other interested parties. She is the actual vessel upon which the Shetland Bus memorial sculpture was based.
Built in 1938 as a fishing vessel, the Andholmen was taken into naval service during the war and served in convoy support in Iceland and as transport in Scapa Flow before coming to Scalloway on Shetland Bus duties.
Her wartime crew braved gales and German attacks eight times while crossing to Norway. After her type of vessel was replaced on the route by faster sub-chaser craft after 1942 she continued in naval service, bringing cargo north from the UK mainland.
The Andholmen was completely rebuilt from the waterline upward after being re-discovered serving as a salmon feed barge and recognised for her historically significant identity.
Launched back into service in 2002, she now serves as a “living museum” to represent history about the war and about this now rare type of sturdy fishing vessel. She is crewed and maintained by volunteers of the Andholmen Association in Norway.
An attempt was made to return to Scalloway in 2003, but mechanical problems forced her into Lerwick. The weather for the crossing this time made it less than comfortable for those among her crew not familiar with deep ocean crossings but skipper Magne Stensland was determined that nothing would prevent her return to Scalloway as they braved gale-force winds and heavy swell.
As the retired Norwegian naval captain said: “This was merely a small taste of the seas and conditions that the wartime crews endured. It was a compliment to the ship’s seaworthiness. They said she ‘danced on the water with beautiful movement’ in the heavy seas they crossed.”
Andholmen Association representative Anders Hegland spoke in appreciation of the hospitality the crew received in Scalloway. They attended a variety of events including a meal in the Scalloway Hotel, wreath laying at the Scalloway memorial and the former Shetland Bus base at Lunna and a visit to the new Shetland Museum.
The history-related visit, he said, was a big learning curve for them thanks to the wealth of local knowledge of the wartime activities of the Shetland Bus still present here and it was nice to be a part of, and to represent, the Norwegian association in coming here.
The planned route for the vessel was to continue onwards to Kirkwall for further events before returning to Stavanger.
As a further note on her particularly congenial crew, skipper Magne could divulge that, during his lengthy naval service, on a previous visit to Orkney he succeeded in berthing a submarine in Kirkwall Bay after being told it could not be done in the draught available.
Anders Hegland served on the Norwegian royal yacht during his naval service while the rest of the crew were Per Gjervik as engineer, Torkjel Ravndal as first mate, Terje Torgersen as second mate and Trude Groenning as chef and ship’s doctor.
Other harbour news
It was fairly quiet at the harbour last week with regular visitor the Ronja Settler providing most of the activity and fish landings a low 675 boxes for the week up to Friday from the Alison Kay, Fertile, Quiet Waters and Banff-registered Scotia.
The Lowestoft-registered survey vessel Ocean Seeker was in for shelter at the beginning of the week while the Sirius called in with a load of salmon feed.
In midweek the coaster Simone called in to discharge the next batch of massive “Teekay” anchor chains destined for west of Shetland. Weighing in at over 260 tonnes, the chains required two Streamline cranes to discharge them on to the quay to await collection by one of the mighty vessels used to deploy them and their associated anchors.
The coastguard rescue helicopter Oscar Charlie dominated the harbour last Friday during low-level exercises with boats of the NAFC Marine Centre.
Childcare provision in Scalloway was brought into focus this week as a pilot project was pursued to re-introduce an after-school club in the village.
Organisers Tracey Blance and Carina Isbister are trying to gauge the level of interest in using such a facility from parents in the village and are holding a meeting next week to gain support and accept input from parents, councillors, community councillors, the Childcare Partnership and local head teachers.
This comes as part of a holistic approach to childcare provision locally as ever-increasing regulation continues to undermine existing informal services, leaving only one registered childminder in the village, who is already fully-booked, and the forthcoming new childcare facility in Anderson Buildings which will primarily cater for the 0-5 age range.
Those involved in the childcare sector are attempting to form a unified and complementary service to provide places for the large number of children of working parents that will be without regulated care in the near future and to prevent an increase in so-called “latchkey kids” in the area. Attempts to fulfil the need for care are thought to be a priority with the housing developments in the East Voe bringing more people to the area all the time.
The after-school club would be based in the youth centre and provide children with a place to do homework, a healthy snack if required and also have a range of recreational activities laid on for attendees.
It is hoped that the service could be extended to cover school holidays and other times like in-service training days when many parents are often without childcare provision.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday in the Scalloway Youth Centre, starting at 7pm, and all parties with an interest in this matter are invited. In particular, parents of children who would benefit from this service should attend if at all possible.
It is emphasised that that a small input from parents initially will make a huge difference to the success of the proposed service. If you are interested or would like to know more more before the meeting contact Carina on 880590 or Tracey on 880914 or call the Scalloway Playgroup during opening hours.
Carina is also involved in the Scalloway summer playschemes which are said to have attracted good numbers of children so far, starting on 15th July and lasting a fortnight.
The new Hame fae Hame childcare facility to open in Anderson’s Buildings will provide what is known as “wraparound care” in co-operation with the local nursery and playgroup.
The close proximity of the youth centre will enable children to go to and from the two facilities relatively safely and easily and opening hours of 8am to 6pm will mean that working parents are fully catered for.
This is a development of existing childcare services provided by Kay Sandison and Linda Young at Kay’s home in Castle Street. Kay has been providing childcare for 10 years and describes the sector as currently very busy.
They hope to provide a service very much in keeping with the company name in engaging the children who attend in activities and structured play that they would find at home, to assist in child development in a secure and homely environment.
The premises will also be available for other family-related purposes including family learning and “play therapy” during the evening and weekends. The new premises will be open in the autumn once building work and the registration process is complete.
It is hoped that these new services and perhaps further childminder provision can help to retain children within the village and uphold a spirit of community rather than fragmenting what can be considered as a vital asset to the future of the area.
A lack of proper childcare provision could deter families from staying, or moving, here in the future.
This weekend’s competition for Scalloway Boating Club’s angling section took place last Saturday when six anglers participated for a total catch of 106lb.
The “skate, shark and all flatfish” competition allows anglers to land any type of flat fish or shark species to win, with flat fish having a lower priority in results which gave Brian McCaffrey a win in the juniors with 13.2lb against Liam Fullerton’s 17lb of flat fish as Brian’s catch included a small rokur skate.
In the senior section Howard Foster came out tops with 44.8lb followed by Alistair Fullerton with 9.8lb and Charlie Umphray with 13.2lb.
Round Trondra races
Tonight yoal teams will be pitched against each other in punishing races around the isle of Trondra. The format is a hat race where teams are allocated a boat at random from those present, a notable difference from standard yoal races.
The start and finish line is abeam the Cutts pier, near the Trondra bridge, and the women’ race will start at 6.30pm with the men’s race following on once the women are finished approximately one hour 15 minutes later.
The first prize for the men’s race was donated by Burra fishing boat Radiant Star and the women’s prize is the beautifully crafted model yoal donated by Kenny Jamieson of Laxo.
There is the further Johnsmas Cup in keeping with the weekend’s events and this will be awarded to the best combined results from men’s and women’s teams from each area.
A recommended vantage point for the race is the Burra brig, which is about half way around the course. Entrance fees from the event go toward the Shetland Aid Trust.
No neap in Trondra
After a recent meeting of the Peerie Neap Committee in Trondra it has been decided not to hold the event this year and return next year for more neap-related antics and fun.
Last year’s event at the Trondra Hall was a great success, bringing together the local community and folk from further afield for a range of quirky competitions, a barbecue and music, with funds raised going to the hall.
If you are particularly vexed at the Peerie Neap becoming a bi-annual event contact George Martin on 880391 or June Porter on 880824 to volunteer your services, otherwise await the return of the neap in 2009.