Views from the Scord 04.07.08

Angling news

The Maggie Umphray Memorial Trophy was held on a splendid, warm Saturday with near flat calm seas. The ideal conditions drew out 14 anglers who landed a substantial catch of 620lb between them. First place in the men’s competition was shared between Tommy Johnson and Raymond Laurenson with both landing totals of 69.4lb. Third place was filled by Robert Duthie with 68.2lb. Kathryn Fullerton took the women’s competition with 34.4lb and Scott Sandison was top junior angler with 47lb. The biggest fish of the day was taken by Raymond Laurenson, a 12lb ling.

Harbour activity

Scalloway Harbour was a place of giants through most of the week to Friday, with three substantial vessels alongside at one time. The 65m anchor-handling tug Ursus lay on the west quay for most of the week. The fine lines of this squat, powerful looking vessel were in keeping with its massive output of 19,000hp from four engines and an awe-inspiring bollard pull rating of 227 tonnes. She was only completed into service on the 25th of April this year and joins the existing fleet of five belonging to Harms Offshore Gmbh. One of her sibling vessels, the Primus, is currently engaged in handling the massive barges that have been in evidence in Lerwick harbour of late. The fully-fendered Ursus is designed for long range towing, hose-handling, berthing and fire-fighting as well as her anchor handling capability, with her substantial 18.5m beam providing stability.

The 105m bitumen tanker Stella Virgo filled most of the south quay while discharging over 900 tonnes of bitumen for the Scord Quarry. Concurrently the east jetty was occupied by the 77m supply-ship Ocean Mainport while changing crew and alongside the west jetty lay the Panama registered chase-boat Glomar Venture awaiting spares. Fishing boat Ocean Way lay in without landing and boats Comrades, Radiant Star, Mizpah, Prevail and Tranquility landed 858 boxes in the week to Friday. Banff registered boats Scotia and Caspian were also in the harbour at the beginning of this week.

Well-boat Ronja Seeker continues to operate from Scalloway and recent regular the Aqua Boy has departed back to Norway, taking with her a number of messages-in-bottles from pupils of Scalloway School to be released somewhere in the middle of the North Sea en-route.

Burra senior bus tour

Burra Senior Citizens went for one of their summer bus tours last Wednesday. The trip took them on an extensive tour of the North mainland taking in Hillswick, Ronas Voe, Ollaberry and returning through the Dales Lees and included a stop for lunch at the St Magnus Bay Hotel which was thought to be a “lovely, delicious meal” and very enjoyable. Thirty-four senior citizens took part on the tour. The next will be held on 24th July.

African drummers

A series of drum workshops were held throughout Shetland recently, organised by local African drummer Joy Duncan in co-operation with a troupe from the mainland with a Shetland connection. Geraldine Keïta left Cauldhame for Hong Kong many years ago with her family. She trained with the Ballet Nationale in Senegal and with master drummers Famoudou Konaté and Nansady Keïta in Guinea, West Africa and later, returning to Scotland, she set up a business “Undaja” running African drum workshops throughout Scotland in 2005, already having played in drum groups for five years.

A chance meeting with Joy, at a drum event in Angus, revealed that although the two women had spent over a decade in entirely different parts of the globe they had followed remarkably similar paths into the music of African drumming and its teaching and playing. Two years of planning and organisation by Joy followed during which time she gained funding for the series of drumming events from the Youth Music Initiative through the Creative Links project at Hayfield House, a scheme which is in place to facilitate links between schools in the community and artists. Finally, and in cooperation with another proponent of African drumming, Steve Hayden, Geraldine was ready to come back to Shetland with her partner Nansady for the drumming workshops and events. Nansady holds the title of master drummer after years of playing and devotion to the music. The title is only awarded by other masters in honour of dedication to the art, and he is the first master drummer to come to Shetland.

A week long program of activities included school workshops that at times were filled with as many as 50 children and lasted 30 minutes, with the first sessions at 9am and workshops continuing until 3pm, meaning that during the hectic week over one thousand children experienced the drumming activities, not to mention evening workshops and inclusion in the Lerwick carnival and two events with members of the Pipers Trail who were also in Shetland. The highly popular daytime workshops culminated in an event in the Scalloway Hall that involved 106 children all drumming together. Drumming workshops of this type revolve around the distinctive hourglass shaped djembe drums, one of the oldest and most popular drums to be played outside Africa.

Geraldine described the week as intensive and the kids as brilliant, while Nansady was moved to draw comparisons between Shetland kids and those of rural West Africa, where the values of community and respect are very much upheld, further describing local children as “very special”. By the end of the week he had become something of a celebrity with children from workshops greeting him wherever he went. Joy was “delighted with how the week went” and that it was great for all the children she has worked with locally to get a chance to experience “the real thing” with a master drummer at events such as these. The final event at the Scalloway Hall she described as “absolutely phenomenal” and a truly unique experience for all involved.

Joy works full-time staging school drum workshops, night classes, staff days and activities together with involvement in the Befriending Scheme and Disability Shetland and her drum group “Aest Tae Wast”.
Based in Berwick-upon-Tweed, Geraldine and Nansady hold workshops, classes and performances throughout the country and together with Steve Hayden perform with their group “Sodeya”.

Round Trondra yoal race

After postponement the previous weekend the weather could hardly have been more favourable for the Round Trondra Race. This hard-fought competition provided great excitement for viewers, with all the teams closely matched.

The crews raced in yoals selected at random in the form of a “Hat-Race”, with coxes remaining in their own vessels. The women’s race was held first and in the end only a few minutes separated the boats at the finishing line, which is surprising in such a long race, but the clear victors were the Bigton team in the Trondra boat with Burra (Whitedale yoal) next, Whiteness and Weisdale (Bigton) and Trondra (Burra) in the rear.

The men’s race was next with a highly dramatic sprint finish that whipped the crowd into frenzy during the final moments. Trondra’s eventual victory came in the Bigton yoal with Aith (Whitedale yoal) next then Burra (Aith), Nesting (Trondra), Bigton (Nesting) and Whiteness and Weisdale with the Burra yoal finishing only a minute and a half later. After the races participants and spectators met in the Trondra hall for soup, sandwiches and refreshments and the prize presentation. Aside from prizes for the men’s and women’s races the Johnsmas Foy Cup was awarded to the combined winners, which was Trondra, with Bigton and Burra sharing second place and Whiteness and Weisdale coming third. All proceeds from the event go to the Shetland Aid Trust.

Burra leaving day

Burra Primary School held a special event for the pupils of P7 that are leaving the school. The locally advertised event was held in the Burra Hall and attracted an audience of 40-50 spectators as the children of all classes laid on a series of rehearsed singing and musical items and presentations were made to the pupils by the Reverend Derek Conabeer and headmistress Tina Johnston. It was undoubtedly a most special and memorable send off for those leaving the school.

Historical films

There will be a showing of two interesting historical films in Scalloway this week. One of the films features Shetland through the eyes of Chris Chataway, a runner who was based in Scalloway while training in the mid to late 50s and another filmed in Foula in the same time period. The Scalloway film features many well known local figures including Jim o’ Berry with his aeroplane, Ian Gray newly qualified, Walter Mouat Snr and Jack Moore. The films will be shown in the Church of Scotland on Thursday night at 7.30pm by Larry Sutherland.

Mark Burgess


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