Isles Views 15.08.08

Yell water meeting

SCOTTISH Water has con­firmed that it is to hold a public meeting/open day in the Burravoe Hall on Monday, 15th September from 3pm until 7pm.

The meeting will address the concerns raised by residents of South Yell in regard to the long-term plans for Yell’s water supply.

Currently the island has three separate water supplies that need to be updated. Scottish Water is in the process of linking all three with new stretches of pipeline and the long-term plan is to have a single water source, the Loch of Kettlester in Burravoe.

This idea has been greeted by strong opposition from some folk from the Burravoe and South Yell areas. A petition has circulated and letters of protest written to Scottish Water.

Those opposed to the scheme are unhappy on two main fronts. They are convinced that the loch has insufficient water to supply the whole island and to make it larger and deeper has archaeological implications, the so-called “broch in the loch” will be under water and never seen again. Yell Community Council’s regular monthly meeting will follow on the same night.

Ferry news

The Bluemull Sound ferry Bigga has broken down and is lying at Sellaness awaiting repairs. The problem is with the gearbox on the starboard side, which has been stripped down and will have to be rebuilt.

The vessel has been out of action for two weeks and, at the time of writing, a spokesman for the SIC ferry services was unable to predict when she would return to service.

Looking further ahead there will be no stock boat from Baltasound this year to take the lambs sold in Unst to where they have to go. Captain David Polson of ferry services said they were speaking to NorthLink and planning the extra ferries required. The current thinking is that, on the first day of sales, the two regular ferries will be sufficient but on the second day a third ferry will be drafted in. However, he emphasised that final plans had yet to be made.

Historic Scotland survey

Every so often Historic Scotland sends a representative to inspect the ancient sites that come under their umbrella.

To that end Louise Roger has spent a week in the North Isles tramping through Yell and Fetlar. She visited the Unst sites last year.

The last time some of those sites were visited was in 1999 so another visit was due. Louise says that she looked on herself as being reasonably fit before she came here but she is a lot fitter now – some days she walked through the hills for seven solid hours.

Probably the biggest challenge was the trip to Burgie Geo, the Iron Age fort on the north-west coast of Yell in the middle of a large wilderness area that has neither road nor track.

If that was not enough Louise walked, on the same day, to the Broch of Buraness, another place well away from roads.

The purpose of the visits is to identify and highlight any major problems. An obvious danger is from coastal erosion but Louise says that by far and away the biggest threat is from rabbits. In many places they burrow under walls and weaken foundations to the point of collapse.

As well as her degree in archaeology, Louise has a degree in agriculture and she works closely with farmers in the area of Angus and Fife where she lives. She is keen to make farmers and crofters aware of the grants available, some of which are designed to benefit both farmers and the environment and the eradication of rabbits is high on her agenda.

Louise says that she has very much enjoyed her time here and she wants to thank Davy Leask and Leslie Smith for their help and companionship on the long walks.

Unst angling

Unst Angling Club has completed some of the points competitions and the cups and trophies have been decided.

A trout angling competition was held on Friday 1st August and again the Loch of Cliff produced a quality fish. Davy McMillan landed a 4lb 9oz trout as well as four others to give him a basket of 9lb 2oz.

A catch of 10 fish would normally be enough to win a competition but this time Lindsay Thomson had to be content with second place with a total weight of 5lb 12oz. Barbara was the only other angler to have any success; she had one fish that weighed 10oz.

Thirteen seniors and three juniors took part in the final sea angling points competition of the season on Sunday, 3rd August.Drewie Thomson won with 101lb, just ahead of Steve Palmer who had 100lb. Third was Steve Douglas with 82lb and Leslie Stickle was fourth with 81lb.

Michael Thomson won the junior competition with 92lb and Mark Ferguson was second with 22lb. The best fish of the day was caught by Steve Palmer, a 15lb 14oz cod. Once again it was cod that made up the main part of the catch.

With all the points competitions now fished the Mouat Cup was won by Leslie Stickle. Drewie Thomson had the same points tally, 74, but Leslie was declared the winner because he had the better weight for three baskets. Steve Palmer won the shield for third place with 68 points and Lindsay had 64 points for fourth place.

Leslie also won the Smith/Tysack Cup for the best three from four baskets. Drewie won the Inkster Decanter for the heaviest basket.

The Lillies Construction Cup for the best boat went to Fastworker skippered by Leslie Stickle with 75 points. There was a tie for the second place shield between the Freya skippered by Colin Laurenson and the Uptidder skippered by Lindsay Thomson, both with 70 points. When the best three weights were totalled Lindsay won by 5lb.

Junior trophies were also decided. The Sandison Cup was won by Michael Thomson, Stewart Ferguson was second, Mark Ferguson third, and Heather Gray fourth.

Michael won the Clibberswick cup for the heaviest basket and the best boat, in the junior section, was the Fastworker. Stewart Ferguson fished from the boat in second place, PC Free, and Heather Gray fished from the Freya. The club’s next sea angling competition will be on Sunday, 31st August when the Olick and Tusk Cup will be fished for.

Funds for Burravoe marina

A fund-raising effort has started in Burravoe with the aim of providing public toilets and a shower block at the marina.

To help in this regard, on Saturday 24th August there will be sales tables in the hall combining a craft fayre, farmers’ market and table top sale. Fish suppers will be served from 5.30pm until 8pm. To book a table phone Rosemary Johnson on (01957) 722384.

Hnefetafl in Fetlar

The Hnefetafl World Champion­ships due to be held on 2nd August was postponed due to a bereavement and will be held tomorrow. The timing and procedure will be the same and further information can be had from Peter Kelly on (01957) 733242 or by e-mail at

Stavanger: city of culture

Next week’s Isles Views will be written my better half Margaret. I am away in Norway telling stories at a festival that is part of the celebrations during Stavanger’s year as European City of Culture. Please send your news to Margaret at the same telephone number and the same e-mail address.


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