Views from the Scord 10.04.09

New fish van

Hunters Fish are set to launch a second fish van next week. Recent years have seen the decline of other similar businesses, but the Scalloway-based firm are hoping that their track record of service and quality will enable them to gain customers in some of the more remote parts of Shetland.

Hunters has been successfully running fish vans for over 20 years and has built a reputation of trust, particularly among older customers, that places the firm as a valuable service to parts of the community. The vans themselves carry much more than just fresh, smoked and salted fish products and can provide all manner of groceries, including milk and vegetables.

The firm also adopts a policy of providing just about anything to order with advanced notice including an exotic array of fish products. In recent times they have provided such delicacies as dressed crab, sea bass and even tropical species, such as tuna, swordfish and the exotic freshwater species tilapia regularly supplied to a client in the North Mainland.

At one time there were as many as four fresh fish vans supplying rural Shetland, with Hunters only operating one of them, but the three other businesses have ceased and left places like Yell, Unst and many outlying Mainland areas without a regular service.

The current driver for Hunters is Geordie Leask, who has been on the van for nearly eight years and has become a trusted figure. He has introduced many rural people to fish types they would otherwise only see on television.

According to Geordie: “Folk can get anything they want. TV chefs make a demand for some of the more exotic fish. Folk see it on the TV then you’ll get a run of orders for whatever Jamie Oliver has been making on the telly that week.”

The second van is going to be driven by Davie Robertson. Davie has replaced Geordie over the years for holidays and the like but has a longer track record in the service having driven fish vans for a previous employer too. Looking forward to his change of post within the firm, he said: “I enjoy the van. You meet different folk every day.” His van will be covering much of the West Side of Shetland, the North Isles and Mossbank. Geordie’s routine will remain much the same. An advert listing the full coverage of Hunters service will appear elsewhere in The Shetland Times.

Harbour news

It was relatively quiet in Scalloway Harbour in the week to Friday, with most vessel movements attributable to the fishing industry, aside from the regular well-boat Ronja Settler consigning fish to the factory at Blacksness.

Landings to the market this week came from the Devotion, Radiant Star, Venture, Fertile, Comrades, Opportune, Mizpah, Polaris and Valhalla, with the highest single landing coming from the Mizpah with 237 boxes, contributing to a total for all boats of 1,317 boxes.

Another vessel landing fish through the harbout this week the sizeable Banff-registered Caspian, which landed over 400 boxes of fish into a container for despatch to the Scottish mainland.

Other irregular fishing vessels to the harbour included the Fraserburgh-registered boats Faithful and Crystal River at the beginning of the week, the Wick-registered Opportune midweek and the Fraserburgh-registered Polaris II. The beginning of this week saw the Bridgetown-registered, 2,311 gross tonne Anglian Earl return to Scalloway for fuel and water and a salmon feed barge towed into the harbour for maintenance and repair.

Burra fish and chips

The Burra public hall are holding another of their popular fish and chip nights on Saturday. Food will be on sale at the hall from 4pm to 7pm and the night will continue upstairs in the hall after serving. The evening’s entertainment on this occasion will be a games night with pool, darts and card playing on offer. The organisers have now also acquired a set of poker chips and so punters will be able to enjoy gambling for chips after their fish and chips. Proceeds will go toward hall funds and everyone is welcome.

Easter Fair

The Burra Hockey team are having an Easter Fair in the Hamnavoe hall tomorrow. There will be a wide range of fun games and activities on offer, including a teddy tombola, raffles, guess the number of sweets, homebakes sales, face-painting and many more. Admission is free but there will be a donations jar for the generous at heart. The fun starts at 2pm and lasts until 5pm.

“Needle To Anchor” sale

Coming up on Saturday 18th of April is a fundraiser for the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal held in the Bridge-End hall. Described by the organisers as a “Needle to Anchor” sale as a measure of the diversity of goods on offer, the sale will include some antiques, a rare wood carving, furniture, homebakes, new and nearly new clothes, a collection of wedding hats, books, teas, soup and sandwiches. There will also be raffles, a silent auction and a children’s corner with face painting on offer.

The organisers are keen to gather even more diverse items to include in the sale and will accept just about anything that will sell or make money. Perhaps even an anchor or two.

The sale is scheduled to run from 12pm to 4pm and for more information or to donate items contact Irene on (01595) 859364, Jeanette on (01595) 859311 or Betty on (01595) 859231.

Waterfront clean-up

A Voar Redd Up of sorts started early in Scalloway this year with a major clean-up of parts of the waterfront coming from the SIC. The scenic path in front of the Kiln Bar had become completely covered by marine detritus and weed over the winter and prompt action from the infrastructure services department in response to a request from the community council has seen the path completely cleared and pressure cleaned last week, returning it to its normal state. A similar accumulation of marine litter and weed had occurred on the Minister’s Beach on Main Street and as part of the same operation the SIC moved a digger in and has cleaned the beach entirely.

Canoe Club

The Shetland Canoe Club will hold its beginners training sessions starting on 16th of April. The club is based at the Bridge-End Outdoor Centre for training throughout the summer, but hold a series of four training sessions in the Clickimin Centre prior to moving outdoors.

The necessity for formalised training in safe handling and use of the appropriate sea kayaks such as the club uses was highlighted in a recent incident in which some visitors to Shetland got into difficulties in Mousa Sound using river kayaks, and led to one of the group having to be rescued by the coastguard rescue helicopter.

The club train for many hours on safety drills and paddling techniques in kayaks more suitable for the conditions we experience around Shetland. The club aims to provide training and support for anyone interested exploring the Shetland coastline and opens up a whole new world of discovery to anyone who enjoys the outdoors and the sea. Club membership is a mere £36 per annum and this provides the member with use of kayaks and group trips and training.

The initial training sessions take the form of classroom sessions in the Bowlers Bar at Clickimin at 6.45pm followed by pool sessions from 8-9pm with informal tuition from club members. The outdoor training sessions then begin at Bridge-End on the 14th May and can lead on to further trips as paddlers become more experienced.

The coastline of Shetland is widely regarded as “world-class” for kayaking with abundant caves and wildlife to be responsibly enjoyed. For more information contact  Julie on (01595) 890364 or Angus on (01595) 840272.

Mark Burgess


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