Views from the Scord 20.02.09

Bridge-End suppers

The fish and chip night at Bridge-End overcame great adversity to achieve a great tally of fish suppers provided to satisfied customers.

Late in the afternoon, just as fryers were powered-up to feed the approaching masses the electricity supply failed at the transformer across the road, leaving the whole east of Burra without electricity for most of the evening.

Meanwhile, no indication of this potential drama was revealed to the remainder of Burra, still having both power and appetites. Quick thinking and public spirit soon prevailed as local Michael Pottinger provided one generator very quickly and David Henry dashed to Lerwick to retrieve another, enabling the night to go ahead as planned and 120 fish suppers to be sold to customers at the outdoor centre, with all funds raised going toward centre funds.

The power was restored to the area around 8pm, just after the supper was finished, but went off again before long and remained off until full repairs were completed later in the night.

Toddlers boot sale

The Scalloway Toddlers Group is holding a car boot sale at the Hamnavoe Public Hall on Sunday.

The event already offers up over 20 stalls, but there are still a couple left for anyone wishing to take part.

The funds raised through staging the event will go toward the toddlers group to buy new toys and equipment. The Scalloway group has seen the substantial influx of over a dozen new bairns at the beginning of this year, now boasting around 20 toddler attendees, with parents in accompaniment.

This leap in new membership is thought to have come in part from the new Hjaltland accommodation in the heart of the village and affirms the aspirations of the scheme to breathe further new life into the settlement.

The car boot sale will run from 2pm to 4pm on Sunday afternoon. If you would like to book one of the remaining stalls call Cyndi Pottinger on (01595) 880458.

Death of Bus veteran

This week sadly saw the passing of Nell Duncan, one of the diminishing band of people who had first-hand experience of the heroic Shetland Bus operations in Scalloway during World War Two.

Mrs Duncan’s funeral was held on Wednesday and there will be more on her life in a subsequent edition of the paper.

Harbour news

The blizzard conditions and build-up of snow that caused so much havoc throughout the isles passed by with little disruption on port operations in Scalloway Harbour last week.

The notorious Castle Brae prevented access to the pier for a crane for a few hours, delaying the discharge of the coastal freighter Havsund, but otherwise it was business as usual.

The 1,209grt Havsund was alongside to deliver further Aqualine fish farm cage components for assembly on the West Quay. The arrival of these parts signifies a halfway point in the current run of assemblies, with 17 cages launched up to this time of an estimated 36 due to be completed in total. The assembly process was halted to make room for the new components but continued thereafter.

Other irregular vessels in port this week included the Sligo-registered crabber Niamh Eaghan which called in for repairs, before returning to sea to continue operating in the Papa Bank area.

A new maritime face to the harbour came on Sunday with the arrival of the 2,311grt Bridgetown-registered Anglian Earl. The vessel has been stationed in the North Sea as the substitute for the coastguard rescue tug Anglian Soveriegn while she is out of the region for refit-related reasons.

Fishing vessel activity through the port was a fairly low in the week to Friday with only 1,479 boxes landed, down on recent weeks but not as low as inclement weather would dictate.

A substantial amount of the week’s landings were trucked from Lerwick or Cullivoe, boosting the total boxes of fish through the market above the quantity actually landed in Scalloway. The Venturous, Venture, Devotion, Fertile, Guardian Angell and Guiding Light contributed to the total, with the largest single landing coming from the Guardian Angell with 405 boxes.

The well boats Reflex and Ronja Settler both continue to operate from Scalloway, harvesting salmon for the processing factories in Scalloway and Lerwick.

Community council

The Scalloway Community Council met on Monday, the February sitting coming relatively soon after the delayed January meeting.

The matters arising featured several long-running items, particularly those relating to public safety and awaiting action for the relevant SIC departments. Among these was the proposed 20mph limit on roads in the vicinity of the school, which according to correspondence from the education department is now scheduled to be put in place in early March.

This has reduced the possibility of a temporary road-crossing attendant being employed in the meantime, as originally agreed. The positioning of these reduced limits around the school is part of a program of similar installations throughout Shetland, most of which are to be completed over the next financial year.

Another long-running safety issue is that of the state of corrosion of some of the older lamp posts in the village. Anyone discovering a lamp post to have exposed wiring or other corrosion should, of course, report the matter immediately to the SIC.

Perhaps the most contentious issue of the meeting was that of the lighting of Scalloway Castle, and the funding required for replacing lights damaged or vandalised in recent times.

While replacement of the lights is relatively expensive for the community council, Historic Scotland, which maintains the property, has provided a resounding dismissal of the possibility of any funding from its coffers, despite offering funding to “present monuments to the public in some cases” in promotional material.

There are certainly those who feel the castle ought to be lit and appreciate its nocturnal aesthetic charm, but for each of those there are undoubtedly others who see the lights as unnecessary and even a waste of resources.

The issue of the castle being construed as a lasting memorial to the tyrannical reputation of its builder, Earl Patrick Stewart, certainly does not aid the decision process, though the huge number of tourists passing through the village to see the castle each year makes it a valuable resource in its own right.

This, like many divisive issues, creates a difficult situation for the community council in endeavouring to represent the interests of the public, without having the opportunity to directly canvas widespread opinion from the local area to gauge support for the lighting.

The decision as to whether to re-instate the lights was deferred to a subsequent meeting, pending further discussion and more information.

The topical issue of allotment provision in the central area drew some discussion, with the outcome being that although the community council entirely supports the idea of allotment provision, identifying suitable areas to meet the required criteria is not an easy task, with no suitable ground being immediately identified in the Scalloway area.

New business brought to the agenda was the serious issue of snow clearance priorities after the recent heavy snowfall and ensuing disruption.

The issue specifically raised was the lack of pavement clearance on the routes to the school and up the Mill Brae. This is alleged to have created a situation whereby children attending the school on certain days last week were forced to walk on the main road due to deep snow, displaced by ploughs clearing roads, being heaped continuously along the pavement.

The same could be said of the footpath up the Mill Brae which is used daily by adults and children alike, often mothers with push chairs and prams. While the efforts of the council workers did not go unappreciated by the community council, it was decided that these pavement clearance omissions were serious enough to warrant the matter being taken further, by way of written representations.

Invitations to the March meeting of the community council were being extended to NHS board chief executive Sandra Laurenson and new head of SIC infrastrucure services Gordon Greenhill, to discuss a variety of issues.

Mark Burgess


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