Views from the Scord 31.07.09

Ex-Jarls in Stromness

A troupe of former Jarls from the Scalloway Fire Festival made the traditional annual trip to represent Scalloway at the Stromness shopping week festivities last week.

The cancellation of this year’s fire festival meant that there was technically no particular Jarl’s squad to fulfil the mid-year activities so, in a year that signified 30 years of the modern incarnation of the winter festival, a squad of ex-jarls was formed to attend. Numbering 20 in all, with several other former jarls unable to attend due to other commitments, the squad featured many notable locals.

The significance of this illustrious collective was not lost on the Stromness folk either, as an explanation of the situation written by Scalloway Fire Festival secretary Jim Pearson appeared in the program for the event.The variety of highly polished suits, some hastily altered to fit their owners, provided an unprecedented visual spectacle where normally only one style of suit would be on show.

The Scalloway revellers travelled down on Wednesday night and had a day of leisure on Thursday, then on Friday presented a plaque to the people of Stromness in the local Royal British Legion, as is the tradition.

Saturday’s events began with a hearty lunch before the squad in full regalia made a visit to the old folks’ home at St Peter’s House. The squad was then entertained at the house of an obliging local for more food and refreshments near the start of the procession. Then the spectacular carnival procession that signifies the peak of the shopping week gala, which travels approximately three miles through the streets of the town and features some extraordinarily elaborate, technically sophisticated and colourful entries. After the parade there was a dance featuring well-known Orcadian country singer Ruby Rendall and others before a firework display to round the evening off, orchestrated by Geoffrey Johnson of the Islesburgh firework display team.

Fire festival secretary Jim Pearson described the weekend as: “Thoroughly enjoyable. It really was a superb weekend. In the squad we had everyone from Willum Mouat, the first jarl, to Lesley Henderson, the most recent one. It was highly appreciated by the Stromness folk. We had a fabulous time.” The squad of jarls returned home on the Sunday night ferry for some well-earned rest.

Harbour activity

It was a fairly quiet week in Scalloway Harbour with the well boat Ronja Setter’s daily visits to the processing factory at Blacksness constituting the majority of shipping movements. The standby vessel VOS Defender spent a couple of days in port at the beginning of last week as an unsuccessful temporary repair forced her to remain in longer than anticipated.

On Monday this week the tanker Theodora berthed in Scalloway to discharge a cargo of 900 tonnes of bitumen for the SIC’s road-tar plant at the Scord Quarry. The 110m vessel is thought to be the longest such tanker to have called into Scalloway. Built in 1990, she was the first vessel of her kind to be fitted out with independently insulated tanks and can carry cargo with temperatures of up to 250C, which is substantially higher than any other hot product transport system, while the insulation also prevents heat loss and thermal strain to the ship’s structure. The Theodora lay at the west commercial jetty for two days as road tankers shuttled the cargo to the nearby quarry. She arrived here from Dundee and departed bound for Harborg, the inland port near Hamburg in Germany.

Fishing activity was low in the week to Friday. A number of small boats currently operating jigging machines consigned their catches down from Cullivoe mid-week to boost numbers. The combined total for the week was 967 boxes from the Comrades, Quiet Waters, Sharyn Louise, Fertile, Gunners Glory, Jasper, Boy Andrew and Valhalla.

Bridge-End fund-raiser

The Bridge-End community hall had Sunday teas in aid of funds. The hall was inundated with visitors on what was described as a hectic afternoon that ultimately raised over £400.

The organisers had to break out extra tables and turn around tables fast as they experienced a welcome surge of visitors mid-afternoon. The hall is home to various local groups. It has recently been identified that the Bridge-End hall was handed over to the public 60 years ago and the committee are hoping to celebrate this anniversary later this year on the original hand-over date.

The hall also has plans to install a wind turbine to provide heating for the building similar to halls elsewhere in Shetland and the current drive for funds will help go toward this and general maintenance of the hall. There will be another teas event next Sunday for further fund-raising and later in the year the annual fund-raiser toward the annual bairns party.

Angling results

Last week’s angling competition for the A Fullerton Light Lead Cup in the Scalloway Boating Club angling section was virtually a fait accompli with only four anglers in two boats taking part, as many of the regular anglers were away at the Stromness shopping week or other holiday destinations. The outcome still held some surprises though as Kenny Laurenson finally beat Mark Laurenson to win with 34.6lb against Mark’s 28.6lb. Third place was another surprise in that Robert Macmillan opted not to land his dogfish and thus threw away a guaranteed third place award. The heaviest fish on the day was an 8lb pollack.

Hamefarin preparations

Initial preparations are under way for the Hamefarin event next year and rural groups and individuals are now being made aware of the format of events that they can become involved in.

Each rural area is being allocated a day during which coach tours will visit key locations within that area. On the 24th of June next year two coaches will set off from Lerwick, one of which will visit Kergord and Tingwall, before heading for Scalloway, and another willl visit Burra and Trondra before rendezvousing with the other at the Scalloway hall.

The Kergord bus will visit various places, with a stop off for tea and home bakes in the Tingwall hall before lunch at Scalloway, and the Burra-bound bus will similarly stop at the Hamnavoe hall for mid-morning refreshments.

Other points of interest will be included in the itinerary but these are the starting points from which the tours will build. Any and all local groups and individuals, like craft workers, historical interest groups, kirks, SWRI, youth clubs, playgroups, schools or any other organisations are invited to come forward to contribute to exhibitions to be held in the halls with the opportunity to meet the Hamefarin folk and potentially purvey their wares to them if they so wish.

In the central area, outwith Lerwick, the organisation of these events is being spearheaded by the Burra History Group, the Shetland Bus Friendship Society and the Tingwall Agricultural Museum Steering Group and anyone interested in taking part in these fantastic social and marketing activities can contact Sylvia from the BHG on (01595) 859 209, Jack of the SBFS on (01595) 880258 or Drew of the TAMSG on (01595) 840319 for the Hamnavoe, Scalloway and Tingwall areas and halls respectively.

Makkin Night

The Burra History Group is having another of its popular makkin nights in the Easthouse centre tonight starting at 7pm. Once again a chance to get together socially over a cup of tea and a tab-nab to catch up on news and exchange views while progressing with your latest hand crafted creation. If you would like to attend and require transport to Easthouse please call Sylvia on (01595) 859 209 or Wilma on (01595) 859 669 and you will be made most welcome.

Mark Burgess


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