Views from the Scord 17.07.09

Museum donations

With the new museum project gathering momentum, there was an example this week of the sort of historical artefact that will be able to be put on display in the larger building.

The museum was contacted by Norman Leask, of Lerwick, who has received a selection of sporting medals won by his great-uncle James Coutts in the 1920s from Georgia (Bunty) Coutts for donation. Two of the medals were for winning the 200yds swimming races in 1923 and 1924 and another was for playing as goalkeeper for the Shetland County team in 1926. Bunty also provided a photo of James showing his further medals from 1924 and 1925 and the Thule Cup.

Medals of this era were altogether more decorative and of higher quality than those presented in current local sport events, each being hallmark-bearing silver or copper and each one individually engraved with the recipients’ initials in the centre.

The hardy Scalloway swimming club of this era used to train by swimming from Blacksness across to Trondra and there are photos of them doing so in the collection of Clement Williamson’s photos held by Willie Smith. Clement was also a keen swimmer. The swimming medals were awarded by the Scalloway Yacht Club during their annual regatta. The SYC was a predecessor to the current boating club and was disbanded after its creation in the 1970s. James Coutts left Scalloway and Shetland in 1926.

In the same week the museum also received a number of historical items from Roddy Anderson, including a sailor’s ditty box, a bicycle lamp and a piece of sailing ship rigging. The ditty boxes were used for keeping a sailor’s personal and valuable items safe when going to sea, like a smaller version of the ubiquitous kist, and this one is thought to date from the 1920s or 1930s.

All of these items represent interesting and valuable insights into the everyday lives of the residents of Scalloway from days gone by and it is hoped that room can be found in the already cramped existing museum for them to be displayed.

Peerie Neep 2

The second biennial Trondra family-oriented fun day took place on Saturday. This year’s event was centred around a “Western” theme and brought together locals and visitors sporting suitable attire for a genuinely inclusive and social range of games and activities.

Particularly popular through the afternoon was the archery demonstration by Keith Lobban of the local archery club, just back from Åland and the Island Games. People of all ages queued to have a go at the sport for a small donation to the club and numbers suggest that as many as 60 people took turns in the hour and a half that the activity was available.

The focus then turned to the comical exertions of the “bungee neep run” with its associated straining and tumbles. Next came the “Toss the neep” championships for men, ladies and bairns which brought some impressive athleticism and some handless buffoonery with neeps flying far and straight, high and wide to much crowd appreciation. The tug of war competitions brought more splendid entertainment with close fought rounds in each age and gender class. The bairns competition brought particular entertainment with the close proximity of a boundary fence serving as both an aid and a handicap to the winning side at one time or another, the offending anchor man finishing firmly planted on his posterior after a comedy tumble over the wire.

The decorated wheelbarrow competition drew only two entrants, but the quality of their efforts was undisputable and the ensuing race between them, with victorious Mark Robinson sporting an oversize 10-gallon hat, brought more splendid crowd entertainment.

Throughout the afternoon and evening the substantial numbers of participants and visitors were fed and watered by the sterling efforts of the lasses on tea and home bake duties and Leslie Tait on the barbecue, purveying his very own finest smoked mackerel among other delights.

As afternoon became evening activities moved into the hall and there was a mass line-dancing try-out session courtesy of Kay Johnson and Jim Pearson, which engaged most of the people present with more wholesome entertainment.

The final competitive event of the day was the gravitas-laden chilli cook-off, which drew six superb, varied and mouth-wateringly good entries. The winning dish was declared after much deliberation from the three lucky judges and the narrowly victorious entry came from respected local amateur gastronome Arthur Johnson, with a certain Mark Burgess taking second place and Janne Glesnes Martin third. The assembled crowd were then treated to a supper of the highly varied and superb chillis with accompanying side dishes.

The social evening continued late in the hall with a further supper served later and the exhibited photographs of Trondra through the ages remaining on display.

George Martin, of the organising committee, spoke on their behalf in saying: “I’d like to thank all the people for coming along and participating so fully in all the events. It’s important to acknowledge how much an event like this relies on people of all ages coming along and taking part.” He said the committee are already very much looking forward to the Peerie Neep 3.

A particularly nice touch laid on by the organisers were the custom made “Peerie Neep 2009” medals awarded to winners and participants in events, and it is also surely worth commendation that adults and children alike continued to enjoy themselves right through the afternoon and evening in this truly inclusive gem of an event.

Harbour activity

Scalloway harbour was very much in the doldrums in the week to Friday, with few vessels movements and fish landing at a minimal level. There was no fish on the market for four days of the week with only Thursday bringing catches from the Prolific, Quiet Waters and Radiant Star, the latter having the largest single catch of 223 boxes toward a total of only 437 boxes.

A number of the mainland fishing boats that have been using Scalloway as a base in recent months are said to be fishing outside the sector at the moment and are based at mainland ports to do so. The emergency tug vessel Anglian Prince called in on Monday, remaining in port for shelter until Friday. The Inverness registered fishing boat Tranquility lay in for shelter for a time on Wednesday.

The fish farm workboat Contender and the well-boat Ronja Settler continue to operate in the area and the SIC ferries Snolda and New Advance are in port for a second week for routine maintenance and inspection. The Papa Stour ferry Snolda is on the slip at Moore’s and the New Advance was along side on the east jetty and expected to leave yesterday.

Angling results

A busy weekend was had by the Scalloway Boating Club angling section last weekend with a three day competition held over Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Friday night’s competition was won by Jimmy Reid and Tommy Tyler landed the heaviest weight on Saturday. Such was Jimmy’s overall lead, however, that a number of the 13 anglers taking part retired from the competition on Sunday, predicting his eventual victory.

Barry Ward was not among them though, as he won by a comfortable margin on Sunday, with a catch sufficient to trump Jimmy’s total for the three days and secure the overall win with 214lb landed. Jimmy wasn’t far behind with 204lb and Mark Laurenson trailed in third place with 167.4lb. Kathryn Fullerton continued her trophy success with another win in the ladies’ section, having 49.6lb. Scott Sandison was top junior with 12.8lb. The total catch for all anglers was 1294.2lb, mainly comprising ling, with some haddock and cod among them.

Utnabrake proposal

The proposal to build up to 100 houses along the ridge from Upper Scalloway to the Utnabrake croft continues with a further chance to see the plans and find out more being offered by Hjaltland Housing Association and the main contractors JHB in the Scalloway Hall on 30th July.

The doors will open at 6pm and a presentation will begin at 7pm. HHA’s participation in the scheme will come in the first phases of the development. There is a prospect of the planned new health centre for Scalloway being built within the scheme as well as assisted-living housing for the elderly.

As the development moves further north there will be the offer of private housing and along the valley floor, in the meadows beside the Mill Burn, there is the prospect of a developed industrial zone and a wholly new junction or roundabout at the head of the East Voe to serve the new scheme. There is also the potential of an innovative biomass burning district heating scheme.

The number of houses involved represents a fifth of the total housing of central Scalloway, which currently stands at approximately 490. The East Voe of Scalloway contains 165 houses. At the last census in 2001 the population of Scalloway was given as 812, prior to the new East Voe developments. A conservative assumption of 1.5 persons per household would suggest the current population of Scalloway will be around 1,200. Using the same assumption the new Utnabrake development could house approximately 150 people, meaning it would make the village 10 per cent bigger.

The recent housing developments Hjaltland have successfully completed in the village have each drawn approximately 120 applicants, so it is not unrealistic to assume that similar numbers will express an interest in the proposed HHA housing and subsequent private development by JHB. The proposed commercial zone may already have potential uses involving the district heating scheme and with the Blydoit industrial estate now surrounded by housing it would seem likely that any future industrial developments would happen in this area if it is approved.

Anyone wishing to find out more about this substantial development, its location, scale and other relevant factors should go along to the public meeting on the 30th.

Mark Burgess


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