North Mainland Notes 15.08.08

Later start for bannock

THE BIG Bannock will not begin until 2pm tomorrow as a mark of respect for a funeral in North Roe in the morning.

Brae Eela competition

The Brae Eela will be held tonight. Boats are limited to a maximum of three persons and should fish from either Brae or Muckle Roe Marina. Fishing takes place from 6pm to 8pm with the weigh-in at Muckle Roe Marina at 8.30pm. Entry is £5 per boat. Fish will be available for sale after the weigh-in with proceeds to Brae Hall.

Wild west at Big Bannock

North Roe is beginning to take on the appearance of a scene from High Noon as the boys prepare for this year’s Big Bannock with its “wild west” theme. The day will begin with the baking of the bannock. I am vaguely aware of the flavourings to be used this year, but have been sworn to secrecy under the Official Bannock Bakers Act.

The kirnathon takes place next which should provide enough butter for the bannock, depending on the stamina of the kirning teams.

The Merry Tiller Grand Prix, in the late afternoon, will have a selection of tiller drivers racing for the chequered flag with pit stops at Stout Island and Sherry Chicane. The Islesburgh Fire Skeeters will be in attendance to help dampen down any bright sparks.

It is understood that veteran Merry Tiller commentator, Murray Mayfield, has been called upon to provide commentary for the beach volleyball at the Olympics in Beijing and will not be present at North Roe this year, although he hopes to send a stand-in from his selection of modern apprentices. The fun continues with an open day at the Bjorgs railroad where locomotive rides will be available. In addition there will also be a soe sprootin competition although organisers are concerned this year that entrant numbers may be down due to the event clash with Beijing.

During the afternoon there will be a Little Stenkle on da Prairie and a Lallie Corral for the bairns.

If all this has given you an appetite, Red(neck) Lowrie will be on hand at his steak house, searing finest quality beef from the Lochend Corral.

Refreshments will be available in Little Plum’s firewater shack. Music will be provided throughout the day by veteran wild west DJ, Duncan and his GTL Disco.

Live music performances will be provided by ZE2, arriving on a Mississippi Paddle Steamer from the North Isles and arriving on the Wells Fargo Overland Stagecoach will be further boys from the wild west in the shape of Fullscelidh Spelemannslag. If you survive tomorrow there is quite a full Sunday programme for the Redd Up day. Local minstrels will provide musical arrangements and Andy Stephen just might be persuaded to play a few tunes on the guitar. Sunday is also the day for the Desperate Dan Pie Eating contest as well as the Romantic Dancing comp­etition. This competition is open to allcomers but entrants must adhere to the John Priest Rules.

The organisers would also like to point out that Simon King is unable to attend the bannock in person as the wildebeest annual migration from North Roe to Africa has begun and he is tracking the animals until February 2009. On a serious note, the Big Bannock started in 1998 and has gone from strength to strength. The first year raised around £500 for charity and the amount raised has risen every year, with the 2007 bannock totalling around £25,000.

In total around £76,000 has been donated to both national and local charities and this year the boys hope to break the £100,000 mark.

The boys have got into merchandising over the years and the bannock calendar, t-shirt, mugs and DVD add to the fund-raising total.

Chosen charities this year will be CLAN 123, Cancer Research and local charities.

To organise this event year on year is a credit to the Big Bannock committee and their ability to come up with fresh ideas, props and costumes.

I spoke to one of the organisers and asked how they went about designing the sets and props for the Big Bannock. Did they employ a set designer and use the finest of design products? To which the spokesman answered: “We use a hellery o’ cairdboard, widden pallets, cable ties and bailer twine.” Please remember that the Bannock will only start at 2pm this year and try to park well off the main road.

North Mainland Chinese

Chinese take-aways will be available at two community halls in the North Mainland over the weekend.

Tomorrow night the boys will be at the Vidlin hall while on Sunday take-aways will be available from the Hillswick hall. Opening times are from 4pm to 9pm both evenings. Food can be pre-ordered by phoning the halls.

Andy’s Cabin

Something that began as a hobby to Andy Robertson has now become a passion and even a career, although it’s clear to see that Andy does not view it as such.

Andy’s time in the navy left him with a keen interest in the history of war and a collection of artefacts at Andy’s home in Vidlin, evolved into a war memorabilia and collectables museum known as The Cabin.

As his collection of medals, badges, uniforms and newspaper cuttings grew, Andy moved into a small portacabin next to his house. A series of add-ons and extensions took place to the cabin began over the years.

During this time as he collected and people donated more mem­orabilia, space was once again sadly lacking. Space for visitors was also at a premium as visits from local schools meant that up to 30 children and teachers were crammed into the collection of cabins.

In May 2007, thanks to fund-raising efforts and grant funding, The Cabin re-opened in a purpose-built steel-framed building. As Andy took me on a tour of the artefacts he has gathered over the years, I was amazed by the variety of his collection.

He has uniforms of every description and detailed text, photos and artefacts relating to people from the area that fought for their country.

Badges and medals adorn the walls in custom-made display cabinets and there’s even a selection of motorcycles from the 1930s and 40s.

Tucked at the back of the building is a collection of artefacts from everyday life in the 1930s and 40s including tools and household implements. The col­lection of tushkars may be used in future, given fuel prices at present.

A flick through the visitor book reveals that Andy receives visitors from all over the world and his enthusiasm towards visitors is plain to see. The way in which the collections and memorabilia are interpreted is clear and simple but with that rare magic that helps people connect with the experiences on view. Interpretation should provoke, reveal and relate. This helps the visitor understand rather than just merely be informed and The Cabin, through Andy’s presence in particular, achieves just that.

My visit reminded me of trips to the Tomb of the Eagles in Orkney where the land owner excavated the site alone and started a visitor centre where he took people on guided tours of the tomb site. The story was all the easier to make a connection with because the man who had the passion to carry out the work was telling it. The Cabin museum is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 5pm and Thursday from 10am to 1pm. Andy is happy to open outwith these times for viewings and can be contacted on (01806) 544243.

Happy birthday

On a personal note I’d like to wish my grandfather, Harry Hay, a very happy 80th birthday for Monday 18th August.

I hope that he enjoys his party tonight and I’m sure he’s too young to retire fae the saleroom yet. I also hope that his longevity and zest for life are hereditary.

Maree Hay


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