Views from the Scord 13.03.09

Harbour stays quiet

Scalloway Harbour was fairly quiet last week, the weather being a factor in the lack of vessel movements to some degree, but the area was also at the centre of a drama.

The council’s Skerries ferry Filla suffered in the jaws of a gale, recorded by the harbour office as having average speeds of over 60mph and gusts of up to 77mph, at the weekend. The ferry is currently berthed in Scalloway for her annual refit and inspection.

During the height of the storm around midday on Sunday, the fendering on the old west jetty broke off, exposing the concrete of the suspended deck pier, which then began to cause damage to the Filla as she was pummelled by the severe south-westerly wind.

Through good management, more than luck, there were crew aboard at the time and the ferry was not totally immobile when the damage started to occur. It did, however, take time to power up and ensure she was safe to manoeuvre, during which time the crew, assisted by pier staff from Scalloway, struggled to place fenders between the pier and the vessel.

The severe conditions they were working in made things all the more troublesome as the pier yawed underfoot from the impact from the relatively small but hefty vessel. The damage was limited to external sacrificial steel work, designed to protect the vessel in circumstances such as this and she will be fully repaired before going back into service.

This is not expected to delay the Filla’s routine inspection and maintenance and she should be back in service next week. Damage to the pier was superficial aside from the necessity of replacing the fendering.

More mundane harbour activity through the week to Friday included the arrival of the salmon tender Conquest which was hauled out on the Malakoff & Moore slipway for overhaul on Monday.

The well-boat Ronja-Skye continues to deliver salmon to the factory at Blacksness for Scottish Sea Farms and the aqualine 90m cage construction continues on the west quay with cages launched thick and fast during the week. This batch of cages is thought to be nearing completion.

The fishing vessels Devotion, Fertile, Radiant Star, Venture and Discovery landed at the Scalloway market, the highest single landing coming from the Radiant Star with 239 boxes. Also through the market were four boxes of halibut from the Shetland Halibut Company. The combined total for all landings came to 1,117 boxes.

Paddy’s fund raiser

Tomorrow in the Scalloway Boating Club popular local band Scaldin Bragg are to play for a family-friendly, fund- raising event.

The gig will start at 4pm and will be open to children and adults alike but it is asked by the organisers that children be accompanied by an adult.

The event combines a St Patrick’s day celebration with fund-raising for the Scalloway Youth Centre.

In keeping with traditional St Paddy’s day events it would be normal for participants to wear or display something green but this is not obligatory.

There will be a raffle held during the afternoon or early evening, to which local businesses have donated generously.

The concert will go on until around 8pm and tickets are available from the Scalloway Post Office at £6 for adults and £3 for children.

The funds are to go toward the planned outdoor play and leisure areas at the youth centre. Official assessments of the centre and its activities have only ever found fault at the lack of an outdoor area and so plans are afoot to correct this failing.

The planned area will comprise an enclosed play area for younger children and a general leisure area with sheltered bench type seating and planters for older kids.

Filsket meeting

The Trondra-based Filsket Riding Club has its annual general meeting on Sunday 22nd March at 2pm in the Bridge-End Hall.

The meeting is the ideal time for enrolments and the club invites interested parties to come along, find out more and join up too.

This popular club goes from strength to strength in assisting and teaching children in all things equestrian in a safe and friendly environment and their base is conveniently placed in Trondra, making it accessible for people from throughout the central Mainland and further afield.

The club is also proud to point out the launch of its own website which provides news of upcoming and past events, plenty of pony pictures and even a discussion forum where members can keep in touch about club matters, events and more. The site can be found at

Seeking the crafty

The Burra History Group is holding a “craft through the ages” event in Hamnavoe Public Hall next weekend, featuring crafts of any and all kinds.

Examples may be woodwork, painting or knitwear and the group is keen to invite people from the local area to contribute any items they have for the event.

Given the theme it is particularly hoped that people can supply historical crafts, though items of any age will be accepted.

The catchment area for the exhibition takes in Burra, Trondra and Scalloway and anyone with a piece they would like to contribute can get in touch with Adalene Fullerton on (01595) 859623.

Trondra beetles

The Trondra Public Hall staged a beetle drive last weekend, providing fun for all ages and a great opportunity for a community get-together.

This comes as one of a series of small-scale events planned for the coming months to use this peerie gem of a hall and gain funds toward its maintenance and improvement.

The hall committee are keen to promote the hall for general use by anyone from any area and not just Trondra locals, touting the hall as suitable for birthday parties, music nights and general social events.

The hall is already used for events such as this but it is hoped that the current facilities, which include a bouncy castle and a pool table, can be further improved upon.

The beetle drive was greatly enjoyed by those who attended and on the night attracted six tables of four players for the once-popular social game.

Beetle drives were common at events throughout Shetland in bygone days but have become less frequent in recent years.

The game itself is easy to play for all ages and provides a great social element similar to that found with the more complex games like 500.

The event also featured soup, bannocks, tea and sandwiches.

It was, as are forthcoming events, open to all-comers and anyone wishing to hire the hall for public or private events should contact Denise Nicolson on (01595) 880543.

Variety concert

Scalloway Public Hall played host to a highly eclectic variety performance in aid of Scalloway Gala funds.

The range of entertainments on offer ranged from traditional fiddle music to African rhythms and from individual story-telling to female voice choir.

Hosted by raconteur Robbie Leith, the evening began with traditional trio Kollifirbolli, comprising three young musicians who elude the description of up-and-coming by demonstrating that there are highly talented traditional artists already here and set to go far.

Comprised of Mary Rutherford on fiddle and sisters Astrid and Kaela Jamieson on keyboard and fiddle respectively, the trio performed a set of lively reels, followed by tunes said to be of American origin and a powerful melodic air written by the sisters’ father Ronnie, and rounded off their performance with a further set of lively reels.

Next up, contrary to planned scheduling due to one of the performer’s other commitments, were a second traditional band, Brakdabrod.

Outwardly younger and in some ways perhaps less honed overall than their predecessors, the core elements of the fiddle and accordion five-piece dance band did, however, display the same comfortable and relaxed style of play you would expect to see in a band with many years’ experience. Another one to watch, clichéd as that may be.

The Sandy Burn Singers, hailing from the south end of Shetland, brought with them some pleasant vocal harmonies and a fine rendition of a traditional Shetland lullaby arranged to include a vocal round and followed up with a rendition of Swing Low Sweet Chariot, incorporating a strong solo vocalist.

Singer-songwriter Donald Anderson gave a rare solo performance for the event. More usually veiled by accompanying artists, on this occasion he presented himself as a strong vocal and acoustic guitar-based folk performer in his own right and displayed consummate professionalism.

As a mysterious audio technical fault threatened to mar his performance, Donald persevered and gave a good account of himself regardless of the adversity. Charm was the key component of the next brief act, as a brass section comprised of primary five and six school bairns took the stage and undoubtedly won hearts and smiles with their tuneful rendition of the Calypso song, taking the audience into a break for soup and sandwiches.

Stage regular Bryan McCaffrey took the spotlight for three songs after the break, joined by a drummer and compere Robbie Leith on guitar. Celebrating the local tradition of country music, Bryan competently paid tribute to his grandmother with her favourite song Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain and also to local country music aficionado Robbie Cummings, dedicating the song Log on the Fire to him.

Folk duo Sheerlin, comprised of Anne Eunson and John Izatt on acoustic guitars, gave harmonious and warm renditions of songs by Bob Dylan, Nancy Griffith, Dougie Maclean and Robbie Burns in a weather-themed set.

Recent years of the music scene in Shetland seemed to have produced a plethora of young talented female vocalists in amateur circles and the next performer, Cheryl Goodlad, certainly upholds this heritage.

Accompanied by backing track, the 17-year-old Trondra lass displayed a strong, rich breathy vocal, unexpected from her petite frame and prompting the compére to point out her possession of “the X-factor” and perhaps rightly so.

Another gem from the rich seam of upcoming talent in Shetland today.

Shetland tales, from a perceived fireside, came next from Davy Cooper, regaling the audience with tales of “belly cordial”, pipe smoking, and the man who flew with 50 scarves, of the feathered variety, that were perhaps a little beyond factual verification but highly entertaining nonetheless.

The final act of the evening was the rousing drum rhythms of Aestaewast, spanning Africa, Cuba and more, incorporating what drum leader Joy Duncan, with tongue firmly in cheek, described as a lullaby. The colourful and spirited performance left the evening on a definite high note.

Mark Burgess


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