Isles Views 22.05.09

CDs being released

It is pleasant indeed to relish the prospect of a number of CDs to come on the market soon.

All are the work of Unst-based recording expert Dave Sinton. He says that he has studied physics and the science of sound and it has taken him well over 30 years to master the art of quality recording.

For fiddle lovers there is a recording of Paul Anderson, who is well known in Shetland and has been here on a number of occasions. His style is very much of the north-east and it is correct to speak of him as a worthy successor to famous fiddlers from that area such as William Marshall, J Scott Skinner, JF Dickie and Hector McAndrew.

Elizabeth Morewood of Mid Yell has been collecting Shetland songs because she was concerned that they may be forgotten and lost to future generations. The songs have now been recorded and, after the finishing touches, the CD will be ready for the shelves.

Mr Sinton, during his recording career, was most closely associated with iconic folk group The Corries. They were mighty popular and successful during the 1960s, giving the nation songs such as Flower of Scotland.

He has, in his possession, all the original Corries recordings as well as the instruments they used that were made by Roy Williamson of the group and called Combolins. Mr Williamson’s untimely death meant that The Corries could never be seen again but the other half of the duo, Ronnie Browne, is occasionally seen on television. His son Gavin is working with Dave Sinton to re-master and reissue all The Corries’ albums, recorded on vinyl.

The first of those, The Bonnie Blue, is just about complete. Mr Sinton says it is a big project which will take some considerable time to complete. He Sinton is proud, not only of the quality of his work, but the fact that it is done at Unst in Shetland.

Carla prepares to tackle Ben Nevis for charity

A mother of two from Mid Yell is preparing for the challenge of a lifetime – climbing the highest mountain in the country.

Carla Strachan, 32, is to take part in Trek Ben Nevis for The National Autistic Society (NAS), the UK’s leading charity for people affected by autism on 20th June.

She chose to raise funds for the NAS because her younger son, Ethan, now five, was diagnosed with autism at the age of three.

Carla said: “There’s so much misunderstanding about autism and what it actually means to live with the condition. Most people have no idea how common it is or how challenging it can be.

“Taking part in Trek Ben Nevis for the NAS is a huge personal goal and when my training is at its most gruelling I am spurred on by the knowledge that my efforts are helping individuals with autism, which is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition.”

Carla, who has an older son Lewis, aged seven, has been walking and swimming to build up stamina for the event.

The summit of Ben Nevis is 1,344 metres (4,409 ft) above sea level, and Carla will be one of more than 35 people taking part.

NAS head of events Rebecca Bohling said: “There are over half a million people in the UK with autism and the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives. I’d like to wish Carla, and all those taking part, the very best of luck.”

Anyone wishing to sponsor Carla or to find out more can contact her on (01957) 702045.

Shearings visitors

For a number of years now the huge English coach firm has brought hundreds of tourists to the North Isles as well as other parts of Shetland. This year is no exception, albeit that it has got off to a slow start with the two tours planned for May being cancelled.

This year the tours will spend an extra day in Shetland, which will be used to visit Eshaness and the north Mainland, but Wednesdays will be the day for Yell and Unst the same as in years past. The first of those Wednesdays is 10th June.

The same two drivers from south, Graham Johnstone and Tony Shields, will be here again. However, we will all miss George Kerr (senior), from Sandwick, who has retired as relief driver but his son George will be very much to the fore.

Geopark reception

Shetland is making a bid to become a Geopark, one of a network of over 30 throughout Europe.

A Geopark is an area with exceptional geology, which Shetland certainly has, but to become a Geopark you must protect, interpret and promote that geology to the benefit of the community with a view to encouraging sustainable tourism.

Shetland Amenity Trust is hosting a visit from two assessors from the European Geopark Network between 21st and 24th May. They are Marie-Luise Frey and Charalampos Fassoulas and during this time they will determine whether Shetland has reached the required standard to gain Geopark status.

The amenity trust wants the visitors to meet as many people as possible especially those who may be involved with, or benefit from, the Geopark. To this end they are holding a reception at the Saxa Vord Resort in Haroldswick tonight at 7pm. The reception will include a buffet followed by a geology talk by Jonathan Swale of Scottish Natural Heritage.

Unst Angling Club

Bright sun made for testing conditions for the 13 anglers who took part in the first trout fishing points competition of the season.

However, despite the clear sky a total of 28 fish was brought to the scales.

Top basket was that of Davy McMillan, with six fish weighing 8lb 4oz. Steven Leask was second with four trout weighing 7lb 13oz and third was Lindsay Thomson with seven trout for 6lb 13oz. Michael Thomson, in his first year as a senior, was fourth with five fish for 3lb 10oz.

Other anglers with fish to weigh in were Steve Palmer, Harry Edwards and David Laurenson. The two heaviest fish were separated by a single ounce. Davy McMillan had a trout weighing 4lb 3oz and Steven Leask was just behind with 4lb 2oz.

The next competition, weather permitting, will be sea angling on Friday, 5th June.

Mirrie dancers

Shetland Arts is inviting folk of all ages and from all over Shetland to take part in a new public arts project.

Mirrie Dancers is an ambitious creative venture which will light up parts of Shetland over the next winter. It is the first time that light will be used as a major art form in Shetland.

Anyone can be part of the project – just bring an open mind and an interest in the place where you live.

The artists who conceived Mirrie Dancers are Nayan Kulkarni and Roxane Permar, who have worked for some time with Shetland Arts to develop and raise funds for the project.

Eight different sites covering the whole of Shetland will be chosen and they will be illuminated in time for next winter’s darkness.

To help chose the sites a series of bus tours have been organised and each tour will be followed by food and a discussion. Thursday, June 4th will be the day when Unst and Fetlar will be looked at. The bus will leave the Baltasound Hall at 2pm and the tour will take around three hours.

On the following day, Friday 5th, it will be the turn of Yell. The bus will leave the Mid Yell School at 2pm, returning at 5pm, and supper will be provided at the Centre for Creative Industries in Sellafirth.

To book a place on any of the tours call Roxane Permar on (01595) 859202 or e-mail

Westsandwick spring fair

The annual spring fair takes place in Westsandwick Hall on Sunday, always a great day out for all the family. There will be numerous stalls including the Brea Building Centre, Helena Nicolson, Ray Thompson, Jeanette Novak, Marion Anderson and URGE from Unst.

Anyone who wants to rent a table or a pitch for a car boot can still do so by phoning Rachael Colclough on (01957) 76206.

Yell Sound ferries

Travellers across Yell Sound will be aware that for some time now only one of the big, regular, ferries has been in service, it being the time of year for annual overhauls.

A spokesman from the SIC ferry services at Sellaness said the Dagalein was currently in dry-dock but “nothing nasty” had been discovered. In other words routine maintenance is all that is required and it is expected that she will be back in service on 10th June.

The smaller ferry Fivla, which has filled in during the absence of the big ferries, will be transferred to the Bressay run to do the relief there.

Trip to Ireland

Later on this summer the Cullivoe Fiddlers and the group Tunsters are off to County Clare in Ireland.

With visits to a fantastic places like Tulla they will meet musical greats like Mary McNamara, Kate McNamara, Vincent Griffin and a host more.

Needless to say this will be a costly business and the musicians are busy raising funds, including a clubroom night in the Cullivoe Hall on 30th May with live music and a raffle.

Food will be served between 5pm and 8pm and on the menu is beef curry, Thai noodle soup, chicken drumsticks in Chinese sauce and macaroni.

Step Programme

If you are a student looking for work this summer, Train Shetland and the Unst Partnership are offering an eight-week post for someone willing to help Mike Smith on the Powerdown project.

You would be involved in surveying and interviewing people in Unst about their energy use and at the end of the contract you would compile a report on energy use in Unst.

If you are interested contact Train Shetland or phone Gordon Thomson from the Unst Partnership on (01957) 711695.

Sean Wilson at Cullivoe

The Cullivoe Hall Committee is pleased to announce that Irish singer Sean Wilson is doing a show there tomorrow night at 8pm with the doors open from 7pm.

The supporting act for Sean Wilson is Tony Mac and tickets are available from RS Henderson’s shop.

Lawrence Tulloch


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