Isles Views 06.02.09

Mr and Mrs

A St Valentine’s social will be a very special occasion in the Burravoe Hall this year as the event has been given over to fund-raising for the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal.

The organisers stress that it is a family night out with games for the children and adults. There will be a three-cornered Mr and Mrs competition between couples from the north, middle and south of the isle.

The couples taking part are Robert and Julie Jamieson from Cullivoe, Keith and Janet Nisbet from North-a-Voe and Tommy and Mary Robertson from Burravoe. Frank and Debbie Guthrie will be the host and hostess, asking the questions and seeing fair play.

As well as the fun the competition will provide there will be an auction for goods and services donated by local businesses. Included are a meal for two and an overnight stay in Kveldsro House Hotel, a £50 travel voucher from John Leask & Sons, a bouquet of flowers from Stems, Emporio Armani perfume from AL Laing, jewellery from Linkshouse Stores, a cuddly toy from Harry’s and some items for the man in your life from Harbro, Less and Mary’s. Tesco will provide single red roses and the prizes for the games will be donated by The Garret, Swanson’s and the Ulsta Shop.

Musicians for the night will be Robert Goodlad, Peter Hay, Julie Johnson, Tommy Robertson, Brendan and Shireen Scollay, Lisa Smith, Darren Stewart, Lana Thomson and Eric and Ian Williamson.

All this takes place on Saturday 14th February and for this special occasion there is a dress code. Ladies should wear or accessorize in red and men need to wear something black and come with full wallets.

A bus will leave Cullivoe at 6.30pm and pick up along the way through North-a-Voe, Mid Yell and East Yell. To a book a seat phone Robert Jamieson on (01957) 744214. Tickets for the social itself are available from Rosemary Johnson on (01957) 722384.

The Burravoe Hall is serving fish and chips tomorrow from 4.30pm until 7pm.

URGE doing nicely

Sarah McBurnie says 2008 was a busy year for the new market garden in Unst known as Unst Regeneration Growers Enterprise or URGE for short. This time last year the land earmarked for growing areas was rough, rocky moorland.

After many hours of hard labour it was transformed into raised beds and rigs. Shelterbelts were made using turf walls and re-cycled materials such as wooden planking, tyres, turf and stones. Seaweed, pony, sheep and cattle manure was used as fertiliser.

This allowed URGE to produce 52 different kinds of vegetables and soft fruits through the summer and autumn. In all 38 different materials were recycled, materials that would otherwise be waste.

URGE has come to the attention of a wider public having had a visit from a Korean film crew at the end of the summer. Baltasound Junior High School filmed too as part of its Could Unst be self sufficient in fresh produce? DVD. Last week Global Islands Network, on a fact-finding mission, was seeing whether visitors could source fresh, local produce while on holiday.

In December URGE won the Shetland Environmental Award in recognition of its efforts to cut air miles on food, re-cycle as many materials as possible and to do something useful for the community as a whole.

This year URGE hopes to double the size of the site. The enterprise has bought the adjacent land from the council and has introduced a veggie box scheme which seems to be popular. Requests have come in from local eateries for URGE to grow dedicated crops for their menus.

If you have any bruck that might be useful to URGE Sarah will be only too pleased to take it off your hands and this will help to keep Shetland tidy and green.

Seaside awards

Fetlar folk have decided they would like Tresta beach to continue in the Seaside Awards scheme. A fresh application for 2009 has been put in and the feeling is that it will help to promote Fetlar as a tourist destination as well as providing financial support and benefits to local groups.

Fetlar Community Council feels that a notice should be displayed with the Seaside Awards information and stating the date when the last beach clean was done. The notice should also explain to the public that, while the beach is regularly cleaned throughout the summer, visitors should be aware that large amounts of rubbish wash up when there are strong south-easterly winds.

If a visit follows a recent gale then the beach managers cannot guarantee that the beach will free of debris. A beach clean rota will be drawn up for 2009 with three-week intervals starting on 1st June and going on until 15th September. A poster will be put up in the shop inviting local groups to take part. However, another large scale clean-up will take place in May and again local groups are invited to take part.

Bring and buy sale

Baltasound Upper Primary held a bring and buy sale last Friday to raise funds for the school trip to Edinburgh in May.

Primary six and seven pupils baked in the morning to have fancies to sell in the afternoon. A total of £165 was raised and the children would like to thank parents and friends for supporting the event.

The children, teachers and parents have numerous other events planned for further fund-raising. They will provide teas and home bakes at the car boot sale on Sunday. A curry night is planned as well as a bingo night and a quiz sheet is currently circulating. However, the biggest event is a concert on 6th March. This will be organised by Jennifer McCormack and primary six and seven pupils will perform. Marie Coutts and Michael Thomson will sing and there will also be fiddlers and much more.

The trip to Edinburgh takes place every second year; the Fetlar school and the Yell schools are going too. Among the places the children will see is the Butterfly Kingdom and the Scottish Parliament.


The tour company Brightwater has again brought the first tourists of the year to the North Isles. The main purpose of the Shetland visit was to see Up-Helly-A’ in Lerwick but comparatively few had tickets for any of the halls so they were in bed at more or less the normal time.

That meant they could rise early for the long haul to the very north of Unst to see Muckle Flugga. In all 87 folk took the two Leasks coaches for the big day out. And what a day it was – perfect weather, little or no wind, dry, clear and comparatively mild.

Wilson Keith was behind the wheel of one coach and he had the kilted Malcolm, an able guide, to speak to the passengers. Alistair Mullay drove the other coach, the flagship vehicle of Leask’s fleet.

With Alistair was Blue Badge Guide Pauline Corrigan from Aberdeen who is very knowledgeable about Shetland; she has been on this, and other tours, in the past.

The visitors had a break for coffee and home bakes at the Wind Dog Cafe in Gutcher where they also enjoyed a musical interlude, as Malcolm had arranged for Andy Ross to sing some Shetland songs to each of the parties. To show their appreciation they donated a handsome sum of money to the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal.

The tourists had lunch at the Baltasound Hotel but unfortunately they did not have as much time as they would have liked in Unst because they had to be back in Lerwick for the 5pm sailing of the ferry to Aberdeen.


Last week when I reported the Burns Supper at the Cullivoe School I said that Meilo So played the piano. Meilo is, indeed, a great piano player but it was in fact her daughter Ming Sanford, a pupil in the primary school, who did the piano playing that evening.

My apologies to Ming but I am assured that she does not mind too much because she quite likes the idea of being mistaken for her mother.

Nippy sweeties

It has come to my notice that during this week in 1953 sweets were no longer rationed. I remember it well. As a boy at the Cullivoe primary school we were allowed to go to the Greenbank shop which was close by. Strangely enough I had some money but the disappointment was intense when we all found out that L J Ratters had no sweets. They were sold out.

Some of the older boys ventured to the Greenside shop, which was normally out of bounds, and Sinclairs had lollipops that looked a bit like toffee. But so bad were they that no one could stomach them so they were used to putty up the seams of the teacher’s garage!

Successful Burns supper

To celebrate 250 years since the birth of Robert Burns, the Baltasound Hall played host to the most northerly Burns’ Night Supper.

Gordon Thomson welcomed the large turnout of revellers and said the Selkirk Grace before the larger-than-life haggis was paraded around the hall by Donald Ritch, ably accompanied by Dougal Fraser on the fiddle.

After being cut “with ready sleight” the haggis was toasted and taken back to the kitchen to be served up. The best cookery in the nation was the next presentation after which Gordon Thomson announced the Immortal Toast speaker for the more serious part was visiting reveller Jim McCulloch. Jim kept it light-hearted and enjoyable, greatly assisted by Jennifer McCormick singing O’ My Love Is Like A Red Red, Rose with music by the talented John Laughland. This was followed by stories, poetry and more toasting.

The Toast to the Lassies was pleasantly presented by Steven Douglas of the Baltasound Hotel. Steven rendered many good reasons why the laddies can’t manage without the lassies, and he did so in a very entertaining and enjoyable manner. The reply from Maggie Rayner was most entertaining; she explained in a humorous manner that she would only grudgingly be offering any toast to the lads, but in the end she managed to do it.

Gordon gave thanks to all involved and highlighted what a wonderful evening of true Scottish flavour and craic it had been – an evening of high class Scottish talent. After the supper a dance followed.

Special thanks go to organiser Ethel Hughson.

Lawrence Tulloch


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