16th October 2018
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Hunter’s arrival makes it five generations

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Baby Hunter Coutts, aged nine weeks, was the only boy among the girls as five generations of a Whalsay/Yell family got together. Click on image to enlarge.

Baby Hunter Coutts, aged nine weeks, was the only boy among the girls as five generations of a Whalsay/Yell family got together. Click on image to enlarge.

The birth of a baby boy in April signalled the start of the fifth generation of a family with roots in Whalsay and the North Isles.

Hunter Coutts is the son of 25-year-old Michelle Coutts, grandson of Wilma Henderson, 48, great grandson of 70-year-old Joan Poleson and great great grandson of the oldest family member, Janie Anderson, who will be 93 at the weekend.

He comes from a long line of fishermen on one side and crofters on the other, with a spirit of adventure thrown in.

Hunter is the great great grandson of the late Willie Anderson, a Whalsay fisherman who had the incredible wartime experience of spending 15 days in a raft after his ship Rio Azul was torpedoed off the coast of West Africa. Mr Anderson survived, although many in the raft did not.

His widow Janie was a herring gutter before marrying and having six of a family. Her daughter Joan was also a herring gutter who later worked at Whalsay Boating Club.

The family was firmly established in Whalsay but Joan’s daughter Wilma made the move to Yell when she married Michael Henderson, skipper of the Guardian Angell, which has recently been fishing at Rockall.

Wilma is a classroom assistant at Cullivoe Primary School and Michelle, Hunter’s mother, also works in a school, teaching P1, 2 and 3 at Mid Yell Junior High School.

Michelle is intending to go back to work part time but is not likely to teach her son as he will start school in Cullivoe, where the family lives.

Her husband Robbie, who works as site manager for Scottish Sea Farms, has his roots in Fetlar. His father Neil Coutts is a crofter there, as was his father.

Hunter is the first grandchild on both sides and as such is in great demand.

Michelle said: “Hunter will never be short of a babysitter. The grannies and granddads are fighting over him.” And Michelle’s brother and sister and Robbie’s brother and his wife are all in Yell.

Hunter has a remarkable number of relatives: two grannies, two granddads, two great grannies, one great granddad and one great great granny. Michelle said: “He’s a lucky boy with so many people around to care for him.”

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About Rosalind Griffiths

I am a Shetland Times reporter covering news, including health stories, and features. I have been in Shetland for more than 30 years.

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