Views from the Scord 22.08.08

Quiet harbour

IT WAS an exceptionally quiet period in Scalloway Harbour in the week to Friday.

For the second week in a row most of the activity was provided by the Ronja Settler, fishing vessels and small craft.

The quiet period is thought to be largely a consequence of the particularly fine weather, allowing the oil-related vessels in the area to work unhindered. The exception was the Grampian Frontier which called in for crew and supplies through the week.

The charter fishing vessel Honestas lay in for several days prior to an angling trip out to Foula for a group of the Scalloway anglers.

The Lerwick-registered fishing boat Alaska spent a brief period in the harbour through the week. Hailing from Burravoe in Yell, she is seldom seen in these parts and thought to be in the area fishing for prawns. Other fishing vessels using the market during the week included the Defiant, Scotia, Venturous, Arcturus, Comrades, Defiant, Radiant Star, Renown and Quiet Waters.

The total landing for the week was 1,971 boxes, up on the previous week, with over 500 of the boxes attributable to the Venturous.

On a smaller scale the mackerel line fishing activity has been prosperous recently and a variety of smaller boats landed over 73 boxes for the week.

Community minibus

Anticipation is growing in Burra and Trondra as the arrival of the new community minibus draws near.

Expected in early September, the minibus is on order and just undergoing final equipping before despatch.

Funded by the communities of Burra, Trondra and Scalloway and the Big Lottery Fund Awards for All scheme, the arrival will be the culmination of concerted voluntary efforts assisted by SIC community worker Sylvia Jamieson, whose input was considered indispensable by the volunteer fundraisers. Watch this space for further news soon.

Community council

Scalloway Community Council met on Monday night in the Scalloway Public Hall.

The main theme of agenda items for the evening revolved around financial matters with grants for unadopted roads being sought and awarded among other funding issues.

An enduring bone of contention was discussed – the lighting of Scalloway Castle – after the community council was presented with a quotation for replacement of the existing lights, some of which are currently defective or inoperable.

The lighting issue stimulates lively debate on the grounds that in the past the lights have been stolen on more than one occasion and, although the electricity bill for lighting paid by the community council is not unreasonable, renewal will cost a notable sum of money, especially given that the property itself belongs to Historic Scotland rather than the village as a whole.

It would seem that Earl Patrick Stewart’s legacy of controversy endures in all matters involving the Castle.

On more positive matters, further steps were taken to progress the fixing of eyelets along Main Street to allow the regular use of bunting across the street during the gala and other celebrations.

Public seating in the village drew some discussion in terms of maintenance and replacement and the question was raised as to what the neighbouring ward of Lerwick did. The public area and benches at the Gibblestone Garden, just off Main Street, are in need of replacement and those on the waterfront need repainting.

Also raised was the provision of a mirror at the foot of Ladysmith Road to allow drivers to see the blind spot at Westshore when trying to exit.

This has been brought back into focus with the new gym being likely to attract more vehicles to the road and the necessity for vehicles to draw out in front of 30mph traffic for drivers to see properly.

Official responses from police and the SIC about this in the past have discouraged the use of mirrors like this, despite the hazard of a blind spot.

In the spirit of accessibility to the community council members considered it worth reminding the public as to who their representatives were, and are listed as follows: Arnold Duncan, Iris Hawkins, Meg Simpson, Davy Sandison, Alan Inkster, John Hunter, Vera Watt, Mark Burgess and Kenny Pottinger.

Shark-infested waters

A basking shark has been sighted on several occasions in the local area in recent weeks.

The first recorded sighting came from the Dale of Walls over a fortnight ago but in the ensuing period a shark has been sighted in the bay of the Bannamin Beach, in Clift Sound and Oxna Sound.

These gentle giants can grow up to 10 metres long and seven tons in weight, feeding only on plankton by filtering water through their gills. The only bigger fish in the sea being the whale shark, it is a privilege to see them as they slowly swim-feed just below surface, with distinctive dorsal fin breaking the surface.

Though sightings in the Burra/Scalloway area have been of one individual, basking sharks are regarded as social and sometimes gather in groups.

Seldom seen is their dramatic behaviour of breaching, where the animal leaps from the water almost completely in a manner similar to many sea mammals and great white sharks. There is a code of conduct for viewing these magnificent leviathans and it states that boats should be in neutral drive within 100 metres of the sharks, allowing shark to come to boat rather than vice versa and swimmers should remain at least four metres away from the sharks, should you feel the urge.

Grand prix racing

The second annual Malakoff Grand Prix was held in Scalloway last weekend. Participants in this event for remote-controlled vehicles bring the world of motor sport to life at one-tenth scale in a series of qualifying heats for grid position and a final grand prix race.

The highly technical aspects of the sport may come as a surprise to non-participants with much the same range of setting up and refinement involved as with full size Formula cars. Suspension geometry, tyres, shock absorber settings and down force are all considered and adjusted in preparation for racing.

As organiser Stephen Gifford says: “We are motor sport fans and this is the most affordable form of motorsport you can get.” However, top specification cars are not cheap by any standard.

All the cars used by the Shetland racers are 4WD electric touring car models. On the day of the Grand Prix there was a field of 12 competitors and around half a dozen spectators.

The final, having been postponed the week before due to unfavourable weather, was true to motorsport form in the standard class. Liam Gibson spun out early in the race but recovered and consistently regained places before being forced to retire, setting the final order.

In the modified class consistent racing and mechanical reliability made for a lesser spectacle as the racers held positions throughout the latter stage of the race. Stephen Gifford took the top prize for modified cars, followed by Jonathan Goodlad and Collwyn Goodlad.

In the touring car 19-turn event Eric Stove took the honours followed by “The Shetland Stig” and Scott Polson. Scott also took the prize for top junior. The “19 turn” designation refers to the type of electric motor used.

The organisers would like to thank the Malakoff Limited for donating the trophies and prizes and the competitors and spectators for attending.

All races adhere to the ever-changing national racing standards and the organisers are keen to attract new competitors and spectators for all their regular events.

Anyone seeking more information about the Radio Racers Association can call (01595) 859331 or 07717 682585 and for anyone just curious to see what they do you can find a few videos on by searching for RC Shetland.

Bridge End eela

The eela competition held last Friday from the Bridge End marina drew a substantial number of competitors and boats and some admirable catches.

First overall in the men’s competition was Jim Anderson with 80.5lb, second Raymond Laurenson with 56.5lb and third David Robertson with 55lb.

In the women’s competition Melanie Couper won with 50lb and Ann-Marie Fullerton followed with 35.5lb.

In the juniors Debbie Henry won with a substantial 72.5lb, with John-Andrew Laurenson taking 50lb and Frankie Sandison 38lb.

The best total for a boat went to the Debbie Joanne with 188.5lb for three anglers giving them an average of 63lb each.

The favourable weather on the day of the event drew 14 boats and 37 competitors and was followed by a barbecue and prizegiving at the hall.

Mark Burgess


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.