Views from the Scord 12.06.09

Harbour activity

The 1,428 gross tonne, Panama-registered anchor handling tug, the Marianne-G, made good use of Scalloway Harbour last week, entering and departing the port three times in three days from the beginning of the week.

The exchange of crew and collection of supplies was given as the reason for these frequent visitations. The Bergen registered work boat FOB Jr continued her, mostly nocturnal, activity to the west of Shetland, consigning a cargo when in port on Tuesday.

One of Blueshell Marine’s workboats, the Harvester, was in the port delivering harvested mussels to the quayside.

Last weekend the Freetown-registered survey chase boat Marja made a return visit to Scalloway remaining overnight for fuel and water.

The Scalloway fishmarket was fairly busy in the week to Friday. The beginning of the week saw a continuation of the withdrawal of a quantity of fish from the market, failing to meet minimum price, but the market stabilised through the week.

The total landings for the week amounted to 1,722 boxes from the Fraserburgh-registered Valhalla, Quiet Waters, Alison Kay, Comrades, Radiant Star, Venture, Defiant, Prospect and the local Valhalla. The biggest landing of the week came from the Alison Kay with 318 boxes. The Inverness-registered Prospect also landed in Scalloway but into a container for shipment direct to the Scottish mainland.

Biking Vikings

Last weekend saw the departure from Scalloway of the charter ship Three Sisters, bound for the annual TT Races in the Isle of Man with a cargo of motor-sport enthusiasts and a well travelled parrot.

Skippered by Ewan Anderson of BK Marine, this will be the third annual trip the vessel has made to the weeklong series of motorbike races. On this occasion she carries seven Shetlanders and will pick up a further eight passengers en-route.

She leaves Scalloway bound initially for Inverness, where they have an overnight stop before navigating the Caledonian Canal, berthing overnight again in Fort Augustus and Fort William before crossing the Irish Sea to Peel in the Isle of Man.

The ample accommodation aboard the Three Sisters allows the passengers to stay aboard while attending the event, making it a cost effective excursion for those with the sea-legs to make the trip.

On this occasion the passenger list comprises a mix of regulars and newcomers to the annual pilgrimage to the UK’s motorcycle Mecca.

Ewan said: “It all came about at a mid-summer party. I was keen to buy a boat and the boys were keen to go to the Isle of Man. Probably a year and a half later and after a lot of homework I found this boat for sale at St Margaret’s Hope in Orkney.

“I bought it and we did it up for the first trip and with it half-rigged we went with 14 people and 11 bikes. Each year we have done it up more before setting off. Ever since that midsummer party it’s been an ongoing thing and it gets more popular every year.”

The further addition to the passenger list on this sailing is the world travelled parrot Captain Flint, the well known mascot of one of the hostelries of Lerwick. The parrot’s illustrious past includes a round the world passage aboard a tall ship among other adventures and the biking Vikings aboard the Three Sisters thought it entirely fitting that a 170mph circumnavigation of the Isle of Man by motorcycle be added to the mascot’s already impressive credentials and his owners agreed to let him travel with the charter to do so.

The Three Sisters was originally a Danish anchor-seiner which was converted for use as a dive and angling charter boat to operate in Scapa Flow. She will remain in the Isle of Man until this weekend before travelling home possibly via the west coast of Scotland, rather than returning via the Caledonian Canal, depending on prevailing weather.

Angling results

The Scalloway Boating Club’s angling section had a busy weekend, with three competitions over the three days.

On Friday night there was the Tammie Johnson Eela, held in less than favourable conditions and the low number of entries reflected the dire weather of the evening with only five competitors taking part. These five still managed to take in a combined total of 103lb of fish, 43.8lb of which was landed by the winner, Brian Henderson. Second was Stuart Hillyear with 37lb and third John Blance with 12.6lb.

Saturday’s event was the D&H Most Species competition, which was won outright by Mark Laurenson with eight species, followed in second by Alistair Fullerton with five species. Third was Edgar Cowie with three species. In the Ladies competition Brenda Laurenson came out tops with four species and Shereen Rennie followed with three species. Later on Saturday the hardiest of anglers set off for the “All Night Skate and Shark” competition during which Mark Laurenson achieved what is likely to be confirmed as a new Shetland record for a Cuckoo Ray at 3.42lb, and also another excellent catch of a Thornback ray at 6.4lb, both of which combined toward his winning total of 9.8lb.

Alistair Fullerton took second place with a 5.6lb Roker skate and Howard Foster was third with 3.4lb. Pierside discussions tell of Howard’s surprise at an unexpected night-time visit from Oscar Charlie, or so he thought before discovering the thunderous noise was in fact Alistair Fullerton snoring.

Tall Ship returns

The magnificent Swedish sail training ship Gunnila made a return visit to Scalloway this week. She arrived on Tuesday and remains in port until today. The 60 metre long, 34 metre tall, splendid square-rigged vessel made here first visit to Scalloway last year and her crew enjoyed and appreciated their time in the village port enough to include Shetland again in this year’s itinerary.

Aboard the ship are a combination of 24 marine biologists and 20 nautical studies students and the visit here is made in co-operation with the NAFC Marine Centre, which laid on a tour of its facilities and a variety of presentations for the visiting students.

Topics on offer to the Swedish students included: Shetland’s fishing and aquaculture industries, shellfish stocking assessment and research programme, an overview of the recent ISA outbreak and the controls put in place to deal with it and the centre’s wrasse research programme. There was also a presentation made by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch for the benefit of the nautical studies students.

A reciprocal visit was also planned for the local sea cadets and staff to the Gunilla.

The Gunilla’s appearance as a three-masted sailing ship actually conceals her sophisticated hi-tech navigational and classroom equipment and powerful modern engines, enabling her to provide a safe and comprehensive learning platform for her students. She hails from the island of Ökerö, outside Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden and is operated by the local upper secondary school, Ökerö Gymnasieskola.

Scalloway pupils head to Norway

Pupils of secondary 3/4 from Scalloway Junior High School had a packed week of activities over in Norway last week.

Flying direct from Sumburgh, the pupils found themselves in a strange and daunting foreign land in under an hour, but soon found themselves among new friends and breathtaking scenery as they travelled up the coast to the town of Selje in western Norway.

Nestled in the crook of arm shaped peninsular plateau, Selje exemplifies the Norwegian attitude to industry, outdoor activities and history. Pupils were housed in a traditional “hannabue”, similar to the fishing booths found in Shetland, and spent each morning engaged in school based activities with their Norwegian peers, described as “a cool bunch of Norwegians”, before venturing forth on trips to visit local places of interest in the afternoons.

The packed itinerary included a visit to the westernmost point of Norway, at Vestkapp, an arduous 40 minute climb to the top of the nearby mountain of Risnakken and a trip to the island of Selje, after which the town is named.

The trip was partially centred on the subject of business studies and the pupils took in visits to some of the area’s prominent industries – the small rural community boasts a boat building factory, an international clothing factory and an innovative business manufacturing cutting-edge equipment for the recycling of food waste for fertiliser. Pupils observed how the global recession had even struck prosperous Norway as the luxury boat building business had recently laid off several staff.

Another focus and potential benefit of the trip was in forming links from the school to Norwegian businesses for arranging work experience exchanges between Shetland and Norway. This arrangement bears testament to the modern links between here and our nearest Scandinavian neighbours which continue to be strengthened year upon year.

The group even managed to cram in time for a swim in the sea and also to do some sightseeing in Bergen during a local festival on their whistle-stop tour.

This trip, organised and accompanied by teachers Suzanne Inkster and Eric Perdu, is hoped to have paved the way for a visit of the Norwegian pupils to Scalloway to take place next year though, in the meantime, the pupils are keeping in touch across the North Sea by email and the internet.

Scalloway pupils were impressed by the English spoken by their Norwegian peers and their international bonding was such that the consensus among them was that they “didn’t want to leave” and were “depressed at coming back”. The teachers also enjoyed their stressful and hectic trip, and observed how it had helped to build confidence and global consciousness among the pupils. It was rated by Miss Inkster as the “best teaching experience ever”.

Mark Burgess


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