BY Lawrence Tulloch
LEARNER drivers in the Isles are not required, by law, to have a qualified driver with them. Another concession is that MoT certificates are not required either.
Yell policeman Brian Hamilton says that this is an issue that causes him some concern, especially as there are people who are uncertain of what the law demands. In response to a query from Yell Community Council and others he would like to clarify the situation.
With regard to the MoT question, this does not mean that it is legal to drive an un-roadworthy vehicle. If an accident occurs and if, for example, bald tyres are considered to be a contributory factor then the motorist would run a serious risk of the insurance refusing to pay out. This could lead to the motorist being in even more trouble, as they could be charged for driving without insurance.
For L-plate drivers the position is less hazardous, although of course it is against the law not to display plates if a driving test has not been passed.
One offence that is considered to be serious is the towing of trailers. Any learner driver caught towing a trailer would be reported to the procurator fiscal rather than being dealt with by the policeman issuing a ticket.
There are no restrictions on engine size or the carrying of passengers. It does not matter if a passed driver, not behind the wheel but unable to pass a breathalyser test is in the car. It is somewhat ironic that on the Mainland where learner drivers are required to be accompanied by a passed driver then that person is deemed to be in charge of the vehicle and can be charged with drink driving.
PC Hamilton says that he is not a local and he does not know how many folk are breaking the law by driving without L-plates but he would encourage any member of the community to pass on information in this regard. He says that he is quite happy to act on anonymous information and the police are entitled to stop any motorist and ask to see a driving licence.
This means that the person providing the information would have no further involvement and their names would never be divulged to anyone either within the police force or without.
Matthew and Helen Nicholson are celebrating their golden wedding this weekend but there is much more to it than that.
Their daughters are celebrating landmark anniversaries as well. Janet and her husband Keith Nisbet have been married for 30 years, Sunniva and her husband Raymond Pottinger have been married 20 years and the third daughter of the family is coming home from Australia for the occasion.
Matthew and Helen have eight grandchildren and one great great grandchild and they will all be at a massive party in the Mid Yell Hall tomorrow night. Matthew said that they expected over 300 folk, family and friends, to attend.
It all started off when the Nicholsons got married on 22nd July, 1958, but Helen says that this was not the original choice of date. Sadly Helen’s mother died and the big “hall” wedding that they planned in Mid Yell was abandoned. They settled instead for a quiet family wedding in St Ringan’s Church in Lerwick, which is now the county library.
Helen stayed with friends in Mounthooly Street but when she was dressed and ready to leave for the church a thundery shower that turned in to torrential downpour prevented her from going outdoors, even the short distance to the waiting car. And so it was that she had a legitimate reason for keeping Matthew waiting in the church.
Nowadays Matthew and Helen are retired but they lead very active lives and they spend a lot of time in their beautiful garden. Tomorrow night will be a great gathering with Robbie Cumming providing the music. We all wish the three couples many more happy years together to add to the 100 that they have clocked up among them to date.
Canoes in Uyeasound
As well as the annual regatta in Uyeasound last weekend there was a large gathering of canoeists.
Shetland Canoe Club have a special gathering every two years and this time Unst was the place they decided to visit.
On Sunday as many as 30 canoes were in the sea at the same time. The long spell of strong north-east wind relented and a light westerly breeze allowed some of the canoeists to make it all the way to Muckle Flugga while others explored different parts of the Unst coastline.
Unst angling results
On Sunday 6th July Unst Angling Club held the third trout competition of the season.
In this competition anglers had the option of fishing from a boat or fishing from the bank. With the north-east wind almost gale force no one launched a boat. The wind was to ensure that catches were light.
Only five fish were landed and they were shared by three anglers. Davie McMillan had top weight, two fish for 2lb 14oz. This included one good fish from the Loch of Cliff at 1lb 2oz. Steve Palmer was second with two fish for 1lb 2oz and David Laurenson completed the weigh-in with one fish weighing 11oz.
Thankfully the wind had eased by the time the juniors had their second points competition on the following Wednesday in Helliers Water. Kaylee Palmer was first with three fish for 61 points, second was Stewart Ferguson with four small fish for 21 points, Karis Burns and Michael Thomson shared third place with 17 points each, Orin Holt had one fish for 12 points and Mark Ferguson had one fish for six points.
The next junior competition is on Wednesday in the Easter Loch in Uyeasound.
Bell’s Brae visits Unst
Class six pupils from Bell’s Brae Primary School in Lerwick went for a trip to Unst and stayed for three days at Saxa Vord.
The children took part in lots of visits including Foord’s Chocolate Factory, Valhalla Brewery, the leisure centre, the heritage centre, the boat haven and the Skibladner, the full-sized Viking longship beside the road at Brookpoint. They also had a look at the famous bus shelter in Baltasound.
A variety of activities were planned involving the Viking Unst Project Team. Sadly these had to be changed due to the wet weather but they had a very enjoyable day nonetheless. The children also enjoyed some joint activities with the pupils of the Uyeasound and Baltasound schools.
The children thoroughly enjoyed their trip and were asked: “What could we do better if we did it again?” The reply was: “Make it longer!”
Staff at Bell’s Brae said they would like to thank all the people from Unst for their time, kindness and generosity.
For quite a long time the Royal Mail’s post bus was the only public transport in Fetlar.
In spring a dial-a-ride taxi service was introduced and so the post bus no longer offers a service. Bob Leaper who drove the bus says that the isle now has a better service than the one he provided.
Bob says that he did what he could to help folk but he was restricted by the rules of the Royal Mail. He was not allowed to deviate from the set route and routine and he could not do any extra runs. This meant that often a passenger could get transport in one direction only and they had to walk all the way back to the ferry.
R. G. Jamieson & Son of Cullivoe provides the taxi in question but a local person in Fetlar drives it. The SIC transport department has switched the subsidy it used to pay Royal Mail for the service to Jamiesons. Bob still uses the same vehicle for the mail deliveries but he says that as and when it is due to be replaced he will be given an ordinary mail van.
East Yell charity concert
The concert in the East Yell Hall last Friday night to raise money for the British Heart Foundation was a great success.
The organisers wish to say many thanks to Mark Aquilina who opened proceedings and to all the talented people who performed.
A special thanks to the band who played for the dance (James and John Leask, Brian Morrison and Cecil Hughson) and David Gear who rigged the sound system.
The star prize in the raffle was donated by NorthLink, a free trip to Aberdeen for two folk with a car and the use of a cabin.
Many thanks too for the other raffle prizes, to the cooks and those who provided the home bakes and all who helped to raise the splendid sum of £2,577.75.