Views from the Scord 19.09.08

Burra fun day
THIS SATURDAY the WRVS is presenting a fun day at the Hamnavoe hall. The event, one of a series of seven, aims to raise funds for the service and make people more aware of what it can offer to both clients and volunteers. A whole range of entertainments will also be offered, including storytelling by Lawrence Tulloch. There will be teas and home bakes served, a car boot sale and for the bairns there will be a soft play area, candy-floss, face-painting and more.

The Scalloway Fire Fighters will be in attendance for people to see the fire engine and its equipment along with many other activities for young and old alike.

This is part of a series events staged by the WRVS to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the organisation. The events are taking place in the rural areas where the WRVS is active and has a strong presence. The hope within the organisation is that it will be possible to build upon the increased profile they hope to achieve during these events to extend their service to areas not yet covered by the service.

The main work of the service is all done on a voluntary basis, with the local office handling around 60 volunteers at present, as they assist people in the community. In this area most of the people they help are elderly who, for instance, cannot reach the shops themselves and benefit from having a lift provided or who live alone and require a little bit of extra help around the house, or even just a bit of company.

They also organise economical outings for lunch or short trips to allow people to get out and about and socialise where they would otherwise be unable to do so. Even simple things like providing lifts for hospital visits or dental appointments come under their remit and they work in cooperation with care services provided by social services.

The series of events they have planned each feature different attractions, for instance the next fun day after Burra has Jillian Isbister headlining the event, and a range of displays and information services to complement the teas and car boot sales so it is worth remembering that it will be worth attending more than one of these family events.

The Hamnavoe event starts at 2pm and finishes at 5pm at the public hall.

Harbour news
It was another buoyant week for the fishing industry in Scalloway with landings slightly down on the previous week but still near to record levels. A combination of local and Scottish boats landed a total of 2,650 boxes of white fish in the week to Friday. Scottish fishing boats Moray Endeavour, Discovery and Tranquillity joined local boats Devotion, Alison Kay, Comrades, Quiet Waters, Fertile, Guardian Angell, Radiant Star and Gunners Glory in contribution to this total. Line caught mackerel landings were up again this week with a variety of small vessels landing over 127 boxes.

In other vessel movements, the well-boat Martin Saele called in to Scalloway for water and fuel. The coastguard rescue tug Anglian Sovereign lay in on Tuesday, the standby vessel Grampian Conquest was in on Thursday for fuel and a crew change, followed by the multi-role Grampian Frontier on Friday. The Ronja Settler continues to operate form Scalloway.

On the pier side the west commercial quay was once again a hive of activity from Friday as a series of salmon cage bird net supports were constructed for Scottish Sea Farms. Resembling two cage rings joined in parallel by vertical struts, these floating supports are sized to suit the large circular cages currently favoured by the industry and hold the nets above the cage centre to prevent bird predation. Fundraising concerts People in Scalloway and the surrounding area are spoilt for choice in entertainment this weekend as two neighbouring venues play host to fundraising events on the same evening. The Shetland Bus Friendship Society have a concert in the Scalloway Hall, while across the road in the Royal British Legion popular rock band The Mindsetters are playing in aid of Gala funds. Both events take place on Saturday evening and the hardy event fan may even manage to attend both concerts. The SBFS concert starts at 7pm and the Gala concert starts at 9pm and both cost £5 for admission.

Community council
Scalloway Community Council gathered on Monday night for their September meeting. Some fairly serious public safety issues were discussed along with more routine matters. The first item of concern was the revelation of the condition of the streetlights in Castle Street, brought to the attention of the community council after the interest of an inquisitive small child revealed a potentially serious hazard. The inspection hatches, and their mounts, of a number of poles have become so corroded as to cause the hatch to fall off, exposing the wires within the pole, a situation guaranteed to attract the interest of inquisitive hands, particularly those of small boys.

Another matter brought to the council’s attention was that of the low wall separating Main Street and Moore’s slipway. Although there is no historical track record of this area posing a safety hazard a recent incident where a member of the public fell over the wall revealed the potential risk and the area is to be assessed by council officials to ascertain whether measures should be taken to prevent a similar incident in future.

Reports back from the council departments on previous roads issues drew a mixed response. The council has agreed to reinstate a mirror at the bottom of Ladysmith Road to allow people exiting the road to view the blind-spot on the Westshore Road. Though the hazard was not considered serious enough to justify the placing of a mirror here by the police, council officials have opted to side with the community council in this instance, which was viewed favourably by the members. The combination 30mph traffic heading toward the village centre and the increased traffic from Ladysmith Road due to recent building developments meeting at this visually obstructed point prompted the request for a mirror to be reinstated.

While approval may have been met for the mirror the decision on speed restrictions in the area of the school was met with some dismay. The official reply on this issue suggested that new signage to limit speeds to 20mph around the school would be deployed in the next financial year, suggesting that it may be up to 18 months before action is taken, which was considered unsatisfactory. Other avenues are being pursued to seek resolution to this matter in the interim.

A number of other roads related and miscellaneous items were discussed, some pertaining to a forthcoming association of community councils meeting, while the issue of lighting the castle was further debated upon receipt of notification from Historic Scotland that they would not be able to offer financial aid toward renewal of the current lights and would require certain restrictions be adhered to in any work taking place in the castle grounds, adding further cost to the proposal.

It was with solemnity that the passing of Captain Niels Otto Børresen was noted. Niels was a skipper of the Shetland Bus sub-chaser Hitra and was well liked and respected in Scalloway. His passing was very sudden. A letter of condolence was to be sent to his widow Synøve by the clerk on behalf of the community council.

University visit
The local photographic group of the University of the Third Age (U3A) made a visit to the Scalloway marina last month. They spent an enjoyable afternoon snapping the multitude of subjects there and enjoyed chatting to the owners of craft berthed there, not least the beautiful yacht Mrs Muir.

The U3A is an organisation for semi-retired or retired people, providing educational, creative or leisure opportunities for them. Run by volunteers, the U3As function as learning co-operatives with members sharing their knowledge and skills with other members through interest groups. The U3A nationally offers over 300 different subjects. The Shetland groups offers slightly less but their subjects include reading, sea and ships and philosophy. The photography group organises visits to different locations both indoor and outdoor throughout the year.

Mark Burgess


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