Views from the Scord 24.10.08

Harbour news
SOMETHING of a record week for Scalloway Harbour in the week to Friday in that the quayside was virtually devoid of anything to record. The reason for this was the prolonged westerly winds causing vessels to seek shelter on the east coast rather than run the gauntlet of the westerly approaches. There is known to be a lot of offshore activity to the west of Shetland at present.

As a result there were no vessel movements in Scalloway harbour other than the Ronja Settler, regular fish-farm tenders, minimal fishing activity and a couple of irregular fishing vessel visitors: the Fraserburgh-registered Polaris II, in for repairs, and the Banff-registered Prospect, and neither vessel landed. The fish through the Scalloway market totalled a mere 30 boxes from the Fertile. As a further measure of the peculiar period of inactivity, line-caught mackerel landing exceeded that of white fish at 31.5 boxes from a variety of small vessels.

However, the week was not without incident for the harbour staff as it was through them that the pollution incident below the Scord was reported by a member of the public at around midnight on Thursday and, in co-operation with staff from the SIC Sellaness office, anti-pollution booms were deployed to contain the spill in the small hours of Friday morning.

All the full time staff in the Scalloway Harbour office are trained to an international standard in pollution handling and control and may be called upon to deal with pollution outwith the harbour confines. They are assisting in the ongoing monitoring and clean-up in the Mill Burn area.

Bonfire building
Local children have been far from idle during the October break from school as they have resurrected a bonfire night tradition in the Sycamore Avenue area of Scalloway.

The bairns have worked industriously to collect and build materials for a bonfire on the field above the avenue, known to some as the “old football pitch” and to others as the “golf course”. Until recently there was a bonfire there every year at this time, but the tradition lapsed for several years. It is the enthusiasm and efforts of the children that have brought about its return. They approached local businesses and people for combustible materials such as old pallets and scrap wood. They are still on the lookout for more bonfire material and anyone with anything suitable should bring it along to the site.

Local parent Julie Jamieson has supervised and assisted the bairns throughout the construction. According to Julie they have all really enjoyed themselves despite working through some of the torrential rain of late as well as in the chilly sunshine.

She said: “It should be a fun night for everybody, it’s the first in [this part of] Scalloway for a long time and we’re hoping for a big turnout as the bairns have put a lot of hard work into it. The children will be really proud if folk come to see it.” The bonfire will be lit after tea-time, around 6.30pm, on the 5th November and parents are encouraged to come along with their children. The setting-off of fireworks will be done by designated adults in a controlled and organised manner and attendees are also welcome to contribute their own fireworks to the evening by bringing them along and giving them to the organisers to handle. Among the team of adults who will be organising on the night will be two qualified first-aiders, and weather and circumstances permitting there may be hot soup laid on too.

The final decision on whether it will go ahead as planned on the 5th will be made on the evening and interested people should check for an announcement on Radio Shetland if the weather is dubious.

Community council
The Scalloway Community Council met on Monday night this week for the month of October. Much of the discussion related to ongoing correspondence, or in some cases the lack of it, from various sources.

The issue of lighting for the castle was discussed again with further information about the cost of replacing the lights being received from a second contractor via Mr Pottinger. It was identified that the cost of replacing the lights cannot be fully assessed until a more complete picture of associated costs is compiled and to that end it was decided to approach Historic Scotland with an invitation to attend a future meeting to explain their stance on the matter.

After previous discussions regarding the general poor condition and maintenance requirements of the public garden between Main Street and Gibblestone House, correspondence was received from Shetland Amenity Trust suggesting a meeting to discuss all of the trust’s areas in the village.

No new information on the issue of refurbishment of street lamp posts in a state of severe corrosion has as yet been received and it should perhaps be noted by the public that if they come across any posts they feel may pose an immediate risk they should contact the SIC directly or the community council.

Members Davy Sandison and Meg Simpson reported back from the recent meeting of the Association of Community Councils. The main item of discussion stemming from this was the continued discourse with the SIC regarding safety of pedestrian usage and general aspirational improvements of the Tingwall valley road and similar areas.

New correspondence of interest at the Scalloway meeting included notification of the upcoming public consultation meeting at the Scalloway Junior High School for the blueprint for education programme. The meeting in Scalloway will be for people from all of the central area (excluding Lerwick), with further meetings being held in other areas of Shetland. The public consultation is intended to give the public a chance to provide input into the future of education provision in Shetland. A presentation will be followed by group discussion with points raised being returned to the SIC for further analysis. The meeting takes place on the 3rd of November at 7pm.

Burra History Group calendar
The Burra History Group officially launched their annual calendar for 2009 at a Sunday teas event in the Bridge-End hall last weekend. The calendar features historical pictures from the local area or of local interest over the past 100 years and some of those portrayed in it may be very familiar to those who buy it. The calendar is now available in Burra from Halcrow’s shop in Hamnavoe, the Scalloway Meat Company and the Shearing Shed in Scalloway and from RW Bayes, LHD Marine Supplies and Blydoit Fish in Lerwick.

Thomas Fraser film
The legend of Thomas Fraser and his musical heritage has been illuminated again in recent weeks with a film-maker making a 30-minute production about his life and work.

For television, the piece is part documentary, part dramatisation with local actors portraying Thomas at various times in his 50 years of life. Filming took place in Shetland last week, with an additional three days planned for during the Thomas Fraser Festival between the 6th and 8th of November.

Local man Robert Williamson, whose uncle Eddie Williamson knew and played with Thomas and plays at the festival each year, conceived the idea approximately a year ago and approached film director Brian Ross. The project is being funded by the BBC via production company Hopscotch Films. The planned screening is on 22nd November this year.

The majority of the filming has been done in Thomas’ native land of Burra and has received support from local company Burnt Candle Productions. The three local actors are Max Tyler, Ryan Cooper and Gordon Gibson, who represent three ages of Thomas Fraser.

Karl Simpson, who is the grandson of Thomas Fraser, says he and his family are wholeheartedly behind the project. “The film really looks good. I have seen the previews and it is really impressive the level of detail and amount of effort they have put into making it authentic.” The production team have liaised with Karl throughout the development and production of the film.

Halloween party
The Scalloway Gala Committee is hosting a fancy dress Halloween party in the Scalloway Public Hall tomorrow. Building on the success of an idea implemented last year for the first time, the party is open to all children of nursery and primary school ages. Prizes will be awarded to the winner of each class after a series of fancy dress parades and a neapy lantern competition. Winners will be chosen by an independent judge from the community. There will be plenty of other fun and party games including ducking for apples and pass the parcel. There will also be a tuck-shop for snacks and refreshments. It is requested by the organisers that nursery-age children be accompanied by an adult. The party starts at 6.30pm and lasts for two hours.

The committee is also holding a car boot sale and Sunday teas in the hall on 2nd November. The event starts at 2pm and runs until 4pm. To book a table call Julie on (01595) 880906 or Tracy on (01595) 880490.


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