Views from the Scord 01.05.09

Harbour News

It was a quiet week in Scalloway Harbour with few large vessel movements. The only ship to call in and not engaged in fishing or aquaculture was the emergency tug vessel Anglian Earl which called in for supplies and to dump waste oil through the week.

The West Quay became a hive of activity after Tuesday last week when a number of yachts and motor launches were lifted out for their annual paint-up, hull polishing and general overhaul. Comprising a splendid array and variety of around 11 vessels at any given time it provided a subject of maritime interest for any and all in the vicinity. Several of the boats were returned to the water within a week, with several others lifted out to replace them. The work continues this week.

Fishing vessel activity was below average in the week to Friday but still yielded 967 boxes through the Scalloway fish market. Vessels Comrades, Atlantia, Fertile, Ardent, Quiet Waters and Radiant Star contributed this total, along with aquaculture producers the Shetland Halibut Company which sold 11 boxes through the market.

The Banff registered fishing boat Discovery was in port after returning from an oil standby job to rig out for fishing and the Fraserburgh registered Polaris was alongside for a time at the weekend while performing net repairs.

The Ronja Settler continues to operate in harvesting salmon for the factory at Blacksness.

Art in the dark

The latest exhibition at the Claesline Gallery at The Smuggins on the east isle of Burra featured a new work by local artist Roxane Permar. The unique gallery at the Smuggins carries the extraordinary proviso that “all work must withstand the wind and the rain” according to curator Susan Timmins, who created the artistic venue.

Titled Liminal, the exhibition on Friday was made all the more unusual in that was entirely held in the dark. Using luminescent material, Roxane transformed the clothesline by hanging 132 chords from three lines, forming a triangular “sculpture”.

Each visitor was then given a miniature ultraviolet torch and invited to “draw with light” by shining them on the chords. In the windy conditions of the evening the impromptu artists had to hang on tightly to their respective chords to achieve a result but generally people approached the task with great enthusiasm, to great effect.

Some participants showed extra initiative in plaiting their chords and one group created a spider web effect by tying many of the chords together. As the night drew ever darker and the wind increased the overall effect of the piece was “magically transformed” and likened to that of the “Mirrie Dancers” or Aurora Borealis.

The name Liminal, given to the exhibition, means the “state of being in-between, or in transition”, referring to such contexts as twilight. This conceptual allusion is said to refer to the way that the exhibition constantly changed over time with the interaction of light, wind and dark creating many different effects.

The Claesline Gallery has presented many previous works by artists as well as students from the BA Contemporary Textiles course at the Shetland College. For the past two years students enrolled in the sculpture module have prepared work for exhibition at the gallery.

Bridge-End Outdoor Centre

The Bridge-End Outdoor Centre held an open day earlier this month for an official re-launch for this season.

The open day was held on Saturday the 18th April and attracted over 100 visitors to enjoy the newly painted and refurbished surroundings of the scenic location between the isles. The centre committee were hoping to attract not only potential users but novel ideas for future developments for the centre. According to committee member Janice Pottinger: “We’ve had excellent feedback from all the visitors with loads of ideas and suggestions to help us with future aims and objectives.”

The interior has been re-decorated throughout and new furniture and bedding put in place. The exterior has been cleaned and refurbished too, with new gravel surfacing further improving the appearance of the already attractive building. The scenic and tranquil location on the former holm between the isles also attracts wildlife and offers a multitude of scenic aspects “atween weathers” and in ever changing light.

The centre currently offers self-catering accommodation for groups of between six and 26 people, with usage aimed at parties seeking outdoor activities with an educational purpose or for self-improvement. The centre boasts full kitchen and dining facilities and a comfortable seating area. The communal spaces are adaptable to serve for small group sessions or larger lectures and audio-visual equipment is available for this purpose for a nominal charge. There are also laundry facilities and a drying room, toilets and showers with disabled access.

The centre is also linked to the nearby marina and can offer visitor berths immediately adjacent to the building. There is a recently refurbished slipway and pontoon for sheltered access to the harbour.

The area immediately behind the centre, as approached, is also available as a camping ground. The committee aspires to further develop the area for camping and offer facilities for camper vans as well, which it is thought may become increasingly popular in the current economic climate.

With more aesthetic improvements still under way outside the centre and the improved weather and long summer days now approaching the atmosphere around the centre is now said “to have a real buzz” about it.

The centre has been open for accommodation for almost 25 years and is regularly used by a variety of local and visiting groups. Recently it has become very popular in offering highly reviewed fish and chip nights as part of their fund-raising efforts and is the summer base of the Shetland Canoe Club, which operates from the facility weekly and which holds its annual summer symposium there in conjunction with the campsite and the nearby Bridge-End Hall.

For more information on the centre you can visit their website in the Shetland Communities portal online and to book the centre contact the West Mainland Community Office on (01595) 745301.

Mark Burgess


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