Isles Views 27.03.09

The Brig of Stonganess

The Brig of Stonganess is to be found at the head of the voe and spans what can be quite a wide burn in times of spate. When flood tides are high this whole area is in danger of flooding and a tidal surge goes under the bridge and up the burn for a considerable distance.

The bridge is on a narrow, single track, road and when it was built it was designed to carry nothing heavier than a horse and cart but nowadays trucks that can weigh up to 44 tonsne regularly use it and some concern has been expressed that perhaps the bridge will collapse under the strain.

Alan Stevenson of the SIC roads department has been to inspect the bridge and he says that he has found it to be in a “satisfactory” condition, needing no more than some repairs to one of the parapet walls. This is some reassurance because the bridge is the most important gateway in and out of Cullivoe.

GIN explained Graeme Robertson of Global Island Network (GIN) visited Unst Community Council recently to outline what his organisation was all about.

He explained that GIN was a Scottish-based charity, established in 2002, the main aim of which was to “conduct and promote culturally appropriate, ecologically sound, economically sustainable and socially equitable development on islands worldwide”.

The Scottish islands in the network are Unst, Westray, North Harris, Eigg and Gigha. This is called the “Green Island” project and Mr Robertson went on to say the project represented the concept of a geographically defined area in which the community is actively engaged in minimising any damage to the environment caused by economic and social activities.

After numerous meetings Mr Robertson will summarise all the different aspects into a case study. He will compile a report which he will send it to Unst Community Council and when it is on the website it can be updated or changed.

Community council chairman Laurence Robertson would be interested to find out if any of the other islands had study centre facilities as there had been discussions, in the past, about establishing a study centre in Unst.

Dagalien is restored

On Yell Sound the ferry Dagalien was out of action for the best part of a week. The problem was with a printed circuit board which helps control one of the propeller thrusters. Captain David Polson of ferry services described the part in question as being “like two mouth organs back to back”.

Capt Polson said ferries were made up of so many component parts that it was impossible to stock all the spares. This particular part was not seen as one that was likely to give trouble, but from now on they will keep a few in stock. He was full of praise for the women in the Ulsta booking office, who he said had done a great job in diverting passengers to the Daggri, the remaining large ferry in service.

The Thora filled the gap although she has limited carrying capacity. During the time when the Dagalien was off the demand for bookings were not overwhelming and, except for one or two blips, things ran smoothly. The spare part arrived last weekend, it was installed on Monday morning and normal service was resumed.

Bulb show in Burravoe

The Burravoe SWRI held their annual bulb show recently. As well as the show itself there was a whist drive, sales table and raffle with proceeds going to the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal. The hall looked very spring like with the entries of flowers making a riot of colour.

The judging was done by Nita Odie and Jane Smith.

SWRI classes – hyacinths: 1 Mary Williamson; 2 Lilias Johnson. Narcissi: 1 Marie Towriess; 2 Mary Williamson. Miniature daffodils: 1 Margaret Towriess; 2 Lilias Johnson. Cut flowers: 1 Jem Williamson; 2 Margaret Towriess.

Marie Towriess won the M Laurenson Shield for the best WRI entry.

Open classes – single hyacinth: 1 Margaret Towriess; 2 Mary Williamson. Two hyacinths: 1 Marie Towriess; 2 Mary Williamson. Three hyacinths: 1 Margaret Towriess; 2 Margaret Smith. Tulips: 1 & 2 Margaret Towriess, who also won the Rose Bowl for the best exhibit.

Margaret also won the first prizes for miniature daffodils, mount hood, amaryllis, narcissi and ice follies.

Bairns’ classes – crocuses: 1 Lucy Brown and the trophy for the best exhibit; 2 Kerry Brown. Single daffodil: 1 Kerry Brown; 2 Lucy Brown. Cut flowers: 1 James Robertson won the trophy for best exhibit; 2 Fionne Robertson. Miniature daffodils: 1 & 2 Fionne Robertson.

At the well-attended whist drive Ian Clark was the card master and the total amount raised for CLAN 1,2,3, during the evening was £650.

The members of Burravoe SWRI want to say a sincere thanks to everyone who contributed.

School trip to Edinburgh

The primary schools going on the school trip to Edinburgh are raising money for the big adventure.

Ross Johnson says that they are holding a fish and chip night in the Burravoe Hall tomorrow from 5-7pm and the children, parents and helpers would appreciate as much support as possible.

Irish night

Another great success for Burravoe was the Irish night. Councillor Andrew Hughson was there to accept a cheque for the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal for money raised on St Valentine’s night.

Mr Hughson had his accordion with him and joined other musicians on stage. Dana Thompson and Caroline Breyley prepared a wonderful supper of Irish sausages, colcannon and champ while Laurence Odie made the Irish coffee.

Rosemary Johnson said one of the highlights was the visit of the Cullivoe Vikings on their way home from a “raid” on Lerwick. Jarl Euan Henderson and Young Musician of the Year Erin Sandison provided poetry, jokes and songs and they persuaded the crowd to part with yet more cash for CLAN 1,2,3. Another £220 was collected in addition to the official cheque total for £1,330.

Farmers’ market

The first farmers’ market of 2009 in the North Isles will take place in the Baltasound Hall on Sunday.

The format will be the same as last year with local produce for sale in the main hall and local craft items for sale in the library. The afternoon times are slightly different this year; it will be open from 2-4 pm.

To book a table for produce phone Anna Niven on (01957) 755245 and for crafts phone Sarah McBurney on (01957) 711367. On Sunday the teas and home bakes will be provided by the Unst women’s football team.

Town jarl heads back to his homeland

Lerwick Guizer Jarl Stephen Mouat led 23 members of his squad on a visit to Unst recently.

Nine members of his squad had Unst connection and, of course, Stephen himself is an Unst man. The invitation to visit came from Uyeasound Up-Helly-A’ and they were welcomed by this year’s jarl Derek Ritch. They broke their journey north with a stop for an excellent lunch at the Hilltop Bar in Mid Yell.

In Unst they made a beeline for the Uyeasound galley shed to meet their hosts and get dressed for the busy afternoon and evening ahead.

With the new pier and harbour so nearly finished a visit there was a must. The top of the pier was only partly finished but contractor Alistair Tulloch put down some hardcore and Charlie Priest took the coach down the pier for a photo shoot.

Not to be left out the foreman Willie Tulloch offered everyone a dram to keep the cold out. For George Jamieson, the jarl’s father in-law, this was special moment because he has been so involved in the campaign to get the pier and harbour built. From there they went to another place noted for the refreshments available, the Valhalla Brewery, where they were given a conducted tour by owner Sonny Priest.

After that they were royally entertained at the Norwick Up-Helly-A’ galley shed where presentations were made by jarl Leslie Stickle. Nordalea Care Centre was the next port of call to meet the clients and staff there.

In the evening a delicious buffet was prepared in the Uyeasound Hall by the female members of the hall committee and helpers. A dance followed with music by the Alan Nicolson Band. All the Unst ex-jarls were invited to this most memorable and historic evening and among those present was Aly Smith, 95, who was the Guizer Jarl in Uyeasound in 1939.

On Sunday morning a full breakfast was laid on in the Uyeasound galley shed before the squad and their partners began the return journey to Lerwick. Jarl Mouat and his squad said they would like to extend sincere thanks to everyone involved for the wonderful hospitality received in Unst and special thanks to squad musician and coach driver James Leask.

Lawrence Tulloch


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