A recent visitor to Scalloway was completing a unique homecoming to the village, having been born here in 1945. Jan With and his wife Phyllis had travelled from their home in British Columbia, Canada, to retrace the earliest times of Jan’s life, starting with his birth in the cottage formerly known as Chapelside on Houl Road,
now known as Neirhjem. Born of Ove and Irene With, his father was the engine room quartermaster on the Shetland Bus vessel Hitra. They will continue their voyage of discovery in Norway where are to visit relatives and the refurbished Hitra.
A relatively quiet week in Scalloway harbour. The workboat Annalie belonging to Mainstream Salmon called in to have a new crane fitted at the west quay. The coaster Sirius called with another load of salmon feed. The SIC ferry Snolda finished her overhaul at Moore’s slipway and departed the harbour on Wednesday. The Irish trawler India Rose was in on Thursday to drop off a fishery consultant they had aboard. The India
Rose was prominent in 2005 as being used to survey the extent of ghost fishing in the North Atlantic, whereby discarded or lost fishing gear of gill-net type was retrieved and the catch quantified.
During this survey the vessel retrieved up to 45km of lost net, containing 14,400kg of catch
and 300km of seemingly abandoned gill-nets near Rockall with a shocking array of caught species in huge quantities, including slow breeding species like deep water sharks, halibut and monkfish with the largest casualty species being crab. The extent of this catch beckoned co-operative action from the EU and Norway to address the problem, with most of the gill-netters of Spanish origin. The same fishery consultant involved in the ghost fishing survey in 2005 was aboard the India Rose this trip, though it has not been confirmed what duties they are undertaking at this time.
The dive charter vessel Halton lay in for several days with a number of divers aboard. This fine looking ship is a converted trawler built in 1973 and converted for dive charter in 2004. Operating from Kirkwall she has visited Shetland on several occasions in recent years.
The survey vessel Malene Østervold returned to Scalloway once again for fuel water and crewing and the Ronja Settler continues to operate from Scalloway.
A quiet week for fish landings with local boats and the Scotia putting 738 boxes through the Scalloway market, with the biggest landing coming from the Scotia. She was accompanied by local boats Comrades, Fertile and Tranquility.
An opportunity arose this week to catch up with Scalloway angling prodigy Liam Fullerton to hear how he got on in the Home Nations Shore Championships earlier this year. After succeeding in the try-outs in Scotland he made it to the Scottish team for the championship event at Walmer Beach in England. The Scottish Junior team came third overall with Liam gaining a second and a fourth place towards that result. The format for the event was a beach divided into zones in which an angler from each nation would be placed. For bait they were allowed only ragworm and mackerel, to rig as they pleased. A highlight of the event for Liam was catching his first Dover Sole, which, not being found in local waters, stands out against the wide spectrum of fish species he has caught locally. Liam is looking forward to the try-outs for next years’s team in September this year, leaving him plenty of time to find sponsors and refine techniques for England. As Liam said: “When I got to the try-outs in Scotland I had no idea what I was doing, no idea at all.” But it is a measure of his skill and fishing knowledge that he managed to gain a place on the national team and gain good results in the championships. Liam is delighted with his bronze medal and continues to feature prominently in local competitions.
Other angling news
There were two competitions this weekend for the Scalloway anglers. Friday saw the regatta eela which saw a good turnout of 18 anglers taking part. First place in the men’s competition went to Jimmy Reid with a whopping 226.4lb with B Henderson second on 134lb and R Jones third with 90lb. In the ladies competition M Cumming was first with 46.2lb and S Rennie was second with 2.4lb. In the juniors section J Johnson was first with 51.2lb and O Cummings was second with 41lb.
Saturday was a species competition with the winner landing the most different species on the day, rather than purely going by weight, for the N&S Trophy. T Johnson won through a combination of eight species and 15lb weight against R Laurenson with eight species for 12.6lb in weight and J Reid also with eight species
for 12.6lb in weight. In the juniors Liam Fullerton was first with nine species ahead of Bryan McCaffey with seven species.
Local artist Marvyn Jamieson is a man of vision. From his home at Port Arthur he has come to the opinion that it is long overdue for Scalloway to realise and promote its Viking heritage in a manner befitting its place in the ancient world.
Marvyn has been busy in his tattoo parlour in Scalloway creating the first in what he hopes will be a whole series of sculptures of Viking related items. His first carving was a distinctive dragon’s head based on a design he found represented as being on a Viking bed post, but which he has carved at a size more comparable to ship’s prow dragon heads. His latest carvings have been inspired by the designs
of the Lewis chessmen, a set of 12th century Viking origin found at Uig in Lewis. The larger of the two designs stands almost six feet high and he hopes to donate it for display in a public area in the village. The carving’s distinctive “spooty-een” eyes, as Marvyn calls them, are in keeping with a similar theme on the famous chess pieces and are “deliberately exaggerated for ferocity to intimidate opponents”. He has also incorporated a padded kirtle and authentic Norwegian Viking design on the cross-guard of the sword and a kite-shaped shield with Norwegian flag theme, among some of the fine detailing.
A precursor to the large figure was an actual size replica chess piece fashioned from sheep and cow bone,
with a high level of detail. Marvyn said in respect of the original pieces: “You have to respect the craftsmanship of the men who made the original pieces. Imagine sitting by oil-lamp or at sea carving out the detail on those pieces by hand, it’s amazing.”
Marvyn has drawn a lot inspiration from various books on the subject, but not least the archaeological
record of Scalloway written by Niall Sharples. From this, as Marvyn is keen to promote, it can be concluded that Scalloway harbour would have been a main landing place for Viking chiefs visiting the Althing parliamentary meetings in the Tingwall valley. From the archaeological examination of upper Scalloway it is known that the Vikings spent time around the broch and he thinks it may be fair to assume that there was a Viking settlement in the area between there and the shoreline, possibly built for the Althing, and the source of Scalloway’s Norse name of “The Village of the Huts”.
With a new museum forthcoming and more appreciation of Scalloway’s rich history growing all the time Marvyn is keen to promote Scalloway’s Viking heritage and gain further recognition and examination of it, in
keeping with the other historical periods more widely promoted for the village.
He is intent on producing a whole series of carvings on the theme.