Views from the Scord 19.06.09

Harbour Activity

The most notable feature in Scalloway harbour throughout last week was the sail training ship Gunilla, as previously reported, remaining in port until Friday. The tug vessel Remus called in twice during the week in her support role for the gargantuan survey vessel Romfirth Vanguard which is operating to the west of Shetland. The 710 gross ton Remus is serving as a shuttle to deliver crew and equipment from the port to the Vanguard on this occasion.

The mussel harvesting workboat Harvester, run by Blue Shell Marine, continues to operate among the isles off Scalloway. Her presence in this area is accentuated by the absence of the usual salmon tenders in the now eerily quiet local waters, with the salmon farming activity that had become the norm all but ceasing under the ongoing ISA quarantine restrictions until April next year.

The standby vessel Grampian Conquest made a visit to the port on Thursday, for a preliminary survey of her lifting and safety equipment before travelling to Aberdeen for a more comprehensive inspection.

Also on Thursday the workboat Constructor berthed on the east jetty. The smart colour scheme and business-like, practical lines of the modified vessel concealing her former identity as an SIC ro-ro ferry, now owned by Magnie Mann.

The resplendent image of the Swan made for a fine sight, setting sail in the evening sunshine on several occasions last week as she ran trips from Scalloway Harbour.

The pair trawlers Adorne II and Denebula made two visits to Scalloway, the former in a somewhat olde-world manner as a failure in her propulsion control required verbal commands to be passed from bridge to engine room while manoeuvring. After a second attempt at repair the vessel departed for sea. The Denebula stands out among the Scottish fleet, bearing an uncommon Montrose registration (ME 50).

Last Sunday saw the Nassau registered, 863 gross ton standby vessel DEA Server come alongside for bunkering and crew change.

Fishing activity was a good average with 1,781 boxes landed to the Scalloway market. The biggest single landing coming from the Venture last Monday with 290 boxes. Other vessels contributing to this total were the Devotion, Radiant Star, Atlantia, Prevail, Tranquillity, Athena, Defiant, Guardian Angell, Gunners Glory, Quiet Waters and Valhalla. The unsavoury occurrence of fish having to be withdrawn reared its ugly head again toward the end of the week with a quantity of round haddock, gutted haddock and plaice being consigned for fishmeal.

Burra DJs fund-raiser

The dance music based event held last weekend in the Burra hall tallied a fantastic £2,580 toward the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal. Headlined by local DJs playing their choice of dance tunes, the hall was transformed into a nightclub for the evening, complete with lasers and hi-tech lighting system and attracted around 300 folk.

The event originated from a question posed by councillor and fund-raiser Betty Fullerton to Valene Christie of Burra as to what the younger adults could do to raise funds for the local appeal.

Valene combined forces with hall representative Gary Laurenson and DJ Elwin Fullerton to stage the successful event entitled “Roka Djs”. Elwin enlisted the talents of other local DJs to provide the music and provided his own laser and lighting effects. Arctic Security was hired to steward the door and no trouble of any sort was reported within the hall throughout the evening.

Speaking for the organisers, Valene Christie would like to thank all the stewards and everyone who helped out for “making it such a successful and brilliant night. We never ken when we might need to use CLAN House. We wanted to do anything we could to help. Everybody really enjoyed it, even the organisers and the biggest thank you should go to the DJs as they made it such a good night”.

Building on the success of this event, the organisers are already considering a similar event in the future for another charity.

Outdoor achievement

Pupils from Scalloway Junior High School took part in a range of outdoor activities last Thursday and Friday toward the “John Muir Four Challenges” award. The criteria of the awards require participants to “discover a wild place, explore its wildness, conserve – taking personal responsibility, share these experiences”. All of this is achieved with the assistance of the SIC’s outdoor education official who introduces the pupils to a range of activities like canoeing, coasteering and wildlife watching. They must keep a diary and photographs of participation in these activities and then make a presentation at the school. According to depute head Colin Nicol these challenges help pupils to “learn more about their local community and the environment. It provides an opportunity for pupils to achieve in a different context, in keeping with the new curriculum for excellence”.

John Muir, for whom the awards are titled, was a Scottish born American naturalist, perhaps less well known in his homeland than across the pond. He gained fame and respect as a writer, naturalist, conversationalist and geologist among other accolades. Perhaps his best known written work was the book entitled Thousand mile walk to the Gulf, the compilation of which required, as the name suggested, a walk of epic proportions through the, deliberately chosen, least-travelled paths from Indiana to Florida. He advocated the cause for the creation of Yosemite National Park and also championed the plight of down-trodden native Americans.

The Scottish based charity John Muir Trust describes itself as the “United Kingdom’s strongest voice for wild land and the wilderness experience”, and owns substantial land holdings in the Highlands and Islands.

Participation of Scalloway pupils in working toward the John Muir Trust’s challenge awards also counts toward the Scalloway Junior High’s Eco-school status.


Two angling events for the Scalloway Boating Club’s angling section last weekend. The first was on Saturday in the form of an All Day Skate and Shark competition. This was won by Barry Ward with a basket weighing in at 35.6lb, second place was taken by Alistair Fullerton with 27.8lb and Kenny Laurenson took third spot with 20lbs. Kathryn Fullerton took the honours in the ladies competition with 8lb.

The event attracted nine anglers in five boats, taking 23 skate totalling 112lb.  Pierside discussions afterward tell of the delight of all but one of those taking part as everyone caught a skate during the day with exception of a despondent Raymond Laurenson who, lacking his usual fishing skipper, was left “a shadow of his former self” according to one angler. The heaviest skate of the day was a thornback weighing in a 8.8lb, taken by Mark Laurenson.

Sunday’s competition was the D&G Trophy competition, in which competitors must use a fishing lead under 12oz and for which no ling or tusk are accepted. This type of rig is suited to the catching of pollack but some competitors target haddock or other species.

Kenny Laurenson took the honours with a basket weighing in at 47.4lb, followed by Mark Laurenson with 29.2lb and Barry Ward a close third with 28.4lb. Kathryn Fullerton won the ladies competition with 7.8lbs. The heaviest fish taken on the day was a 6lb pollack, taken by Kenny Laurenson. The total catch was 120lb from five anglers in three boats.

Scalloway Gala

As the annual gala extravaganza approaches in the first week of July, now is the time for people taking part in the open events to get organised. The gala procession is open to anyone, from anywhere, to dress up themselves and/or their vehicle, even if it is just a wheelbarrow, and get involved. Groups from businesses, sporting teams or collections of friends are welcome with floats or as foot collectors and just need to show up for the start of the procession on Saturday at 6.30pm.

Five-a-side football teams are invited to come forward for the matches to be held on Saturday afternoon in the park. Team members must be 14 or older to take part. There is to be an “It’s a Knockout” competition on Saturday too and teams are invited to come forward for this comical event. Entrants must be 14 or over and teams will have four members. The spectacular piano smashing event will be on again this year and teams from Burra and Scalloway, with six members each, are invited to start limbering up and getting together now.

A full account of the programme of events will appear in next week’s paper.

SBFS plans

The Shetland Bus Friendship Society held Sunday teas in the Scalloway hall last weekend and the fund-raising social event provided them with a first real opportunity to roll out the architectural plans for the new museum to be housed in the former knitwear factory next to the Scalloway Castle.
The display of the plans and photographs of the existing interior drew much interest from the afternoon’s visitors and many eager inquiries about the layout and schedule. As revealed, the exhibition area of the museum will all be on one level in the surprisingly spacious and airy former factory floor. The part of the building nearest the road, formerly the offices and shop, will be used as office space, storage and a workshop. Entrance to the building will be via a new glass facade on the south gable facing the castle. This entrance will be reached by a gently sloping ramp from the car park.

The project to convert the former factory is going out to tender in the next few days and it is hoped and expected that the conversion work will commence in autumn this year.

Film Club

As part of the Johnsmas Foy, which features a Viking theme this year, the Shetland Film Club is screening a re-run of a 1999 documentary Secrets of the Ancients, in which the question was posed as to whether it was possible that the Vikings dragged their longships across Mavis Grind rather than sailing around the extremities of the isles.

The programme makers decided to attempt this using only the materials and technology the Vikings were known to have and the ensuing struggle and ultimate success feature a large array of familiar local faces in the 70-strong crew of volunteers enlisted for the task.

The documentary was originally televised as part of the BBC’s How Did They Do That? series. The use of Mavis Grind as a crossing point for these ships apparently remains speculative at best but folk history suggests that Quarff was also used as a boat crossing point in the same or later eras. The same may also apply to other areas throughout Shetland and elsewhere. Anyone faced with tackling the Noost under power of oars may well find an overland route more appealing.

The Film Club will be screening this film, courtesy of the Johnsmas Foy, at the NAFC Marine Centre on Thursday at 7.30pm, and at the same time in the Sandness hall on Wednesday. They also hope to screen archive footage from the Shetland Museum and Archive collection on the same evenings. Entry is free and all are welcome.

Mark Burgess


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