SCALLOWAY harbour has been unsurprisingly quiet over the festive period with little more than aquaculture workboats coming and going. The freight coaster Fame called in before Christmas with 136 tonnes of fish feed. The workboat Celtic Queen and her crew have been busy over the festive period involved in the decommissioning of salmon cages from sites off Scalloway. At the time of writing they had towed in five cages to be cleaned and broken up for recycle or waste.
Meanwhile the West Quay sits primed with the component parts of around 18 cages ready to be built, thought to be replacements for those being broken up. The cage parts arrived aboard the 1,713 gross tonne freighter Anette on the 15th December from Norway, the first of two such consignments. The Ronja Settler continues to supply the factory at Blacksness.
Fish landings totalled 70,765 boxes for the year, which is a rise of 41 per cent on the previous year, confirmation of the current prosperity the local markets have enjoyed.
The high cost of fuel may have offset this apparent prosperity for the boats to a certain extent but prices at the market have been generally good and comparing the increase in fuel price, and subsequent decrease, with that of landings it would appear that the industry as a whole is prosperous at the current time.
Harbour traffic in general seems to have changed somewhat throughout the year with a notable absence of larger irregular traffic in the latter part of the year in contrast to the earlier months in which quayside space was in high demand from a wide variety of, high tonnage, oil-related traffic. Regular standby and support vessels operating to the west of Shetland continue to favour the port of Scalloway.
Summary of the year
With the end of the calendar year it is perhaps appropriate to briefly reflect on some of the changes that have happened in the local area in the past 12 months.
Scalloway has seen a number of notable improvements, the development and occupation of the Anderson Buildings being perhaps the most significant, with the the new nursery premises adding to the village infrastructure.
The Post Office moved to new premises at the Yealtaland bookshop as an offshoot of the development and has settled in well under new ownership. One of the few prominent concerns from the Anderson Buildings development was the absence of dedicated parking and the upheaval that could cause, but this appears to have sorted itself out with little or no complaint locally. The neighbouring Fraser Park has also been greatly improved with all new playground equipment that has been generally praised.
The proposed new museum in the former knitwear factory next to the castle has gained all necessary consents during this year and the project is ready to go to tender when funding is secured. It is hoped that the lottery will be one of the main fund sources and a decision is expected in February.
The events of the year were all blessed with particularly fine weather; some say the fine weather for last year’s Fire Festival will never be beaten and this year’s event draws near for comparison. The Gala and Regatta were also staged in weather so fine it was almost unfamiliar.
Burra has seen the Hamnavoe marina development dominate the harbour, with completion well within grasp upon arrival of the marina equipment. The shop changed hands to Alistair and Jane Inkster and the new owners seem to have settled in well in the post.
The long strived for goal of a new community minibus was achieved by community-spirit of the volunteers responsible for the admirable fundraising efforts.
The Thomas Fraser Memorial Concert and associated events have drawn the attention of television and national newspaper media alike and continue to grow in recognition. Throughout the area the variety and enthusiasm of the numerous voluntary organisations is both commendable and inspiring in its community-mindedness and their impact throughout the year has been substantial.
The wealth of local talent at musical events throughout the year should not go without a mention either as the numbers and quality of those who have appeared is outstanding, by any standard.
Looking forward to 2009, the housing scheme at Endavoe, in the east voe of Scalloway, will soon be occupied, further bolstering the village population.
The proposed usage of the former No Catch factory on the Blydoit Industrial Estate as a slaughterhouse is never far from discussion locally and the controversy of the proximity to housing versus improved produce infrastructure is set to run for weeks and months to come.