Views from the Scord 09.01.09

Harbour activity

Scalloway Harbour was unsurprisingly quite as Hogmanay came and went, though what little activity there was kept the staff in attendance for much of the traditional holiday period.

The Maersk Feeder opted to crew change at sea on 30th December, requiring the charter of the Scalloway pilot boat Lyrie. Nine crewmen were ferried to the awaiting supply vessel and the same number retrieved, a relatively large cargo for the small craft.

The 1,125grt standby vessel Grampian Conquest called on 2nd January for crew, fuel and supplies, departing later the same day. Similarly, her larger cousin the Grampian Frontier called in for crew and supplies the following day, also departing in under 24 hours.

The fishing vessel Prolific had a very unfortunate start to the year, suffering extensive damage to her engine room after a pipe ruptured below her water-line while moored on the east jetty on Sunday morning, requiring the local fire crew to pump her out.

Pollution to the harbour was averted by means of a tanker from Total Waste Management being provided to receive contaminated bilge water.

Pierhead discussion asserts that this is the second such incident in the local fleet in recent times aboard a newly-built vessel, with the previous boat being fortunate to have crew in attendance when it happened and suffering no damage.

The new year also started badly on Monday for an SBS crane driver as he accidentally clipped the south-east corner of the SIC store while maneuvering for a boat lift, causing visually dramatic but structurally superficial damage.

Another minor calamity took the form of a burst freshwater pipe near the fishmarket which was also thought to be the cause of the frozen sea surface in front of the market on Monday’s icy start to the day in temperatures claimed to be as low as minus 6º Celsius in the early morning.

The first market of the year saw the Scalloway market filled to near capacity with a substantial 976 boxes on offer to buyers.

Fire festival cancelled

The Scalloway Fire Festival has been cancelled after a near unanimous decision by the festival committee.

The unprecedented move has been taken in respect of the jarl, Michael Pottinger, being unable to attend through commitments to his family at the current time.

The absence of Shetland’s first fire festival of the year has caused a certain degree of controversy but committee secretary Jim Pearson rationalised the situation. “Without Michael the Jarl’s Squad weren’t going to attend and you can’t have a Fire Festival without a Jarl’s Squad or a jarl.”

Given the unprecedented nature of this turn of events the committee has no constitutional directive for how to proceed in addressing Jarl’s Squad attendance at the subsequent Scalloway Gala, procession of squads during the Johnsmas Foy or travel to Stromness in Orkney during their Shopping Week celebrations, in keeping with Scalloway’s strong links with its partnered village.

At the time of writing it is generally assumed that Michael’s jarldom will be carried over to 2010 and the order of squads taking their turn as the Jarl’s Squad will continue from there.

This was to have been the 30th year of the modern Scalloway Fire Festival after it was reinstated in its current form in 1979 with the late Charlie Johnson as jarl.

At that time it was held between Christmas and New Year but the various implications of staging it in the middle of the festive period led to it being shifted to the current date setting of the second Friday in January as of 1984, leaving an apparent gap in 1983 but only by virtue of the shift of a couple of weeks and not the absence of a festival altogether.

The traditional hop night in Scalloway Public Hall has also been cancelled but the subsidiary events in the Scalloway Boating Club and Scalloway Legion are going ahead in a somewhat revised form, with local bands Scaldin Bragg playing at the former from 4pm to 7pm and the Revellers at the latter from 9pm until late. Collections will be taken at each event with all proceeds going to the Edinburgh Sick Childrens Hospital.

Refunds for tickets for Friday night’s events can be sought from the relevant ticket outlets.

The maestro is back

Football legend of the 1960s and 1970s, Bert Sinclair, made a festive return to his former home town of Scalloway over the festive period.

Bert now lives in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where he has been for the past 22 years, having lived for a period in Botswana after leaving here in 1981. He had only made one brief return during the intervening years for a family bereavement.

Events held during his return this time reflect his prominence when living in Scalloway as he has attended a football reunion of some of the notables of the era and a class reunion, as well as catching up with family and friends based here. His daughter Vivian, who lives in Scalloway, said there was an endless stream of folk coming to see him and catch up on old times while he was here.

Bert featured prominently during the golden age of Scalloway football during which time the local team achieved numerous victories and successes, to an extent that one local pundit described him as possibly the “best footballer in Shetland during the 60s”, playing at centre forward and, later, right midfield positions.

Bert was accompanied on this visit by his wife and two of his daughters. Coming from the warmer climes they now inhabit, the smattering of snow that fell in the first days of this year made a special day all the more unforgettable for his youngest daughter Vaila as she experienced snow for the first time on her birthday while here. Her elder sister Chantelle had only seen snow once before and was equally enthralled.

Bert said they all really enjoyed their visit back to Scalloway.

Mark Burgess


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