By Lawrence Tulloch
Rural Seaside Awards
Two of the most beautiful beaches in the North Isles have received Rural Seaside Awards. The Sands of Breckon was recognised recently and now Tresta in Fetlar has been successful as well.
Those awards are not lightly given and any beach, even to be considered, has to reach a very high standard of cleanliness and water purity. In Fetlar almost every able-bodied member of the community turned out to clean the beach.
It took two days to clear up every bit of bruck from the beach and the entire area of the Tresta links. As well as the army of litter pickers there were tractors, quads and cars with trailers.
In all they gathered enough rubbish to fill two skips; among the bruck was a big, very rusty, motorbike. Martha Devine says that the Fetlar schoolboys have made some brilliant posters about litter awareness and the importance of cleaning up after dogs. These will go on the notice board at the entrance to the beach.
Valsgarth Leadership Programme
The pupils from the Uyeasound Primary School joined the delegates at the inaugural Valsgarth Leadership Programme in Unst recently. The pupils’ enterprise company Rainbow Light was responsible for organising the delegates’ packs for the conference.
Eighteen delegates from Orkney and Shetland participated in a four-day leadership development programme by Janet Trevanion and Kate Coutts. The residential programme made use of the newly-completed conference suite at the Saxa Vord resort.
Kate Coutts says the high standard of the food and facilities added to the success of the programme. The course was aimed at educational personnel but it is adaptable for anyone involved in leadership, team management and supporting change in an organisation.
Tasks ranged from jumping off cliffs to identifying future development areas for the schools service. The community and the scenery of Unst provided the backdrop for many of the activities. Initial evaluation of the programme is very good indeed and it is hoped that this will be the first of many.
The Burn of Arisdale in South Yell was the subject of many a tale told by legendary storyteller Brucie Henderson who lived in the valley close to the burn. Last weekend the burn proved that it has not lost its ability to surprise,
When Leslie Gray took his sons Robson and Jake for a walk they were looking for salmon – sometimes salmon reared in the nearby hatchery find their way back to the burn if they escape from a farm.
As it turned out they saw no salmon but found something far more exciting – a baby seal.
Sadly there was no sign of the mother so Leslie wrapped it in his jacket to keep it warm and contacted the wildlife sanctuary in Hillswick and they readily agreed to care for it. It is something of a mystery why this infant was found almost half a mile away from the sea.
Jan Harvey, who is looking after it at the sanctuary, says that the baby seal, a girl, is doing well but it has to be tube fed and it will be 10 days or so before she can be confident of rearing it successfully. All being well it will gradually be introduced to solids and eventually taught to chase and catch fish before being released into the wild in late August.
The big 40
Burravoe Primary School will celebrate its 40th birthday on 4th July in the Burravoe Hall. It is still referred to as the “new school” and Steven Brown, one of the parents, says it looks as youthful now as it did on the first day it opened.
The school was built in 1967 by contractors Pearson & Tawse and among the employees at the time was Aly Bain, before he became famous as a professional fiddler.
Bertha Arthur says during the building period Aly lodged with her mother, Leila Hughson. Quite a few local builders and craftsmen were employed as well. It was officially opened by councillor Edward Thomason on 27th March, 1968.
The 4th July celebrations will take the form of a reunion when it is hoped that ex-pupils from all over Shetland will gather for a night of catching up and entertainment. It starts at 6.30pm with the current pupils holding their summer concert and prizegiving.
That will be followed by a short refreshment break giving the opportunity for folk to look at the bairns’ exhibition and reminisce over the collection of old school photos on display. Former pupils will host a social evening from 8.30pm until late and provide the entertainment.
The event is open to all but a special invitation is extended to all former pupils and staff involved with the school over the last 40 years.
The next farmers’ market is in Baltasound Hall on Sunday between 2.30pm and 5pm. Organiser Sarah McBurney says that the move from morning to afternoon made for a far busier market in May.
The number of producers taking part increased and Sunday afternoon seems to fit in better with customers and people out for afternoon tea. The combination of teas, farm produce and local crafts is proving very popular.
This market coincides with the Earl Viking tour and it is intended that the Daggri will lie in Baltasound for several hours in the afternoon.
Money raised from the sale of refreshments will go to the youth club this month. To book a table for food phone Anna Niven on (01957) 755245, to book a table for crafts phone Sarah McBurney on (01957) 711367. The maximum cost is £5.
On Tuesday 17th June Unst Angling Club held the second sea angling points competition of the season. With Leslie Stickle having a record-breaking haddock in the first competition it is remarkable that another record was broken in this one.
Heather Gray was fishing in the junior competition with her dad Duncan and brother Robert off the north of Unst when she caught a 2lb 6oz plaice. This completed a hat trick for the Gray family as two years ago Duncan broke a record with a ballan wrasse and Robert holds the record for a herring.
The competition itself was won by Drewie Thomson who weighed in 279lb, including the heaviest fish of the night, a 17lb 13oz cod. Leslie Stickle was second with 256lb and Lindsay Thomson was third with 118lb.
The winner among the juniors was Michael Thomson with 230lb, Heather Gray was second with 52lb and Robert Gray was third with 20lb.
The following evening the first junior trout competition was held at the south end of the Loch of Cliff. Eight anglers took part and six of them caught fish.
Michael Thomson won with four fish for 61 points, Karis Burns was second with two for 29 points and Amber Henderson was third with two for 23 points.
Senior anglers took part in the Simmer Dim trout competition, which started at 6.30pm and finished at 4am. Conditions were testing; the light north-westerly wind fell away entirely around 9.30pm.
Despite that 36 trout were caught and Davie MacMillan had top basket, 12 fish weighting 9lb 8oz. His best fish weighed 2lb 4oz.
Lindsay Thomson was second with nine fish for 8lb 1oz. Two of those were really good trout, one weighed 2lb 9oz and the other 2lb 6oz. Third was David Laurenson with six for 5lb 13oz. Colin McLeish, who had come from Banff to take part, was fourth with three for 2lb 13oz.
The next sea angling competition is tomorrow between 5pm and 9pm. The trout anglers are out on Sunday 6th July between 4pm and 10pm. The next trout competition for juniors is in Helliers Water on Wednesday 9th July between 6pm and 8pm.
Christian Aid Week
The house-to-house collection in Yell and Fetlar during Christian Aid Week realised the sum of £1,426.11. Organiser Lilias Johnson of Otterswick says that this shows an increase on last year. She thanks all the willing collectors and everyone who supported the worthy cause.