Isles Views 24.07.09

Hnefatafl championship

Following on from last year’s successful tournament the World Championship Hnefatafl Competition will be held again this year in Fetlar next Saturday. Play will begin at 11.30am and continue until a new champion is crowned. The winner will receive the prize of a presentation Hnefatfal set.

The rules under which the tournament is contested are those standardised by the Fetlar Hnefatafl Panel and in the event of any disagreement the ruling of the FHP Grandmaster will be final.

For anyone from the Mainland planning to go to Fetlar for the day the 09.10 ferry from Toft will connect with the 10.05 from Gutcher. This ferry goes via Belmont in Unst leaving there at 10.20 and arriving in Fetlar at 10.50.

Last year’s competition has given this ancient board game a huge boost and a higher profile. Grandmaster Peter Kelly said that they had had a good day recently in the Shetland Museum giving a PowerPoint presentation and folks an opportunity to play the game as well as a quick play session.

Mr Kelly said that this year they would have a separate junior section because the juniors were rather outclassed when it came to rapid play. In future they intend to stick to this format and if the number of junior entrants increases they will consider a separate weekend for each tournament.

The Fetlar Cafe will be open all day for meals and snacks and evening meals in the hall can be booked. For more information contact Peter Kelly by email on

The Fetlar Cafe will be serving lunches this Sunday as well but you have to book by phoning (01957) 733369.

Minke whale in Toft

When the Yell Sound ferry Dagalien was lying in Toft the Tuesday before last at around 7.40pm a young minke whale came to visit. The whale came close along the outside of the pier and along the ferry.

Master Jim Mouatt said that it was from 12 to 15 feet along and it was such a fine night that they were able to see down through the water with ease. Mate Steven Spence recorded it on his mobile phone and put it on YouTube under key words minke, Toft, Shetland. David Polson of ferry services at Sellaness is going to put it on the ferries page.

Hamnavoe Kirk re-opens

On Sunday St Magnus Church of Scotland in Hamnavoe, Burravoe, held a service to celebrate the new windows in the Church and there was a gratifyingly large congregation from all over the Island.

This was the first service in the main kirk this year and, in the absence of the minister, David Cooper, who is away on holiday, it was ably conducted by Will John Anderson. He explained how much work had gone into the renovation and he thanked everyone who had played a part in making the church so beautiful.

The new windows were made by T&N Joinery in the same style as the original ones but double-glazed. Alma Lewis said that this would make a big difference on cold windy days. The workmanship on both the windows and the pine tongue and groove is of a very high standard, particularly considering that all the labour was done by volunteers.

The service was enhanced by solos from Lauren Johnson and Eunice Anderson accompanied by organist Julie Johnson. Jimmy Jamieson gave a vote of thanks to Will John Anderson and Dan Thompson who had done so much work. A member of the congregation phoned me to point out that Will John’s sons Russell and Crichton had also made a considerable contribution. Everyone agreed that the service had been a memorable occasion.

Skerries wedding thanks

It is some considerable time since the last big wedding in Skerries but the parents of the bridegroom, Mark Gillard, have written to express their thanks to everyone who made this most recent wedding such a wonderful occasion.

Mrs Gillard said that from the moment they left Bristol they were shown great kindness. They were well looked after in Aberdeen and the bridegroom came to meet them and take them on the final leg of the journey to Skerries.

The weather was wonderful but nothing could be warmer than the welcome from the Skerries folk especially Willie and Bertha Anderson, the parents of Beth, the bride. The Gillards want to thank all the bride’s family and Anna Henderson and her family for feeding them and making them so comfortable. Anna also looked after the bridegroom’s brother, Alan, and taught him how to make bannocks.

The Gillards want to say a sincere thank you to everyone; they mean everyone, who made this trip north a fantastic experience.

Unst survey

Gordon Thomson of the Unst Partnership wants to remind everyone that the Unst Power Survey is due to be returned by next Friday. It can be returned to Bobby Macaulay in the envelope provided or dropped off at Little Hamer. If anyone has lost their survey they can phone Mr Macaulay on (01957) 711647.

One of the main points of the survey is to ascertain how much fuel poverty exists on the island. Fuel poverty is defined as a situation where a household is spending more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel.

Bobby needs to get as many replies as possible to make this survey relevant to his STEP project. All replies will be treated in confidence and names and addresses will not be used in the final report. Everyone who responds has the chance to win a low energy electrical appliance; it could be a fridge or a washing machine. Who knows – it could be you!


With the help of the North Isles community councils, Initiative at the Edge North Isles Ltd has produced a booklet to encourage, and help, folk to seek ways of recycling waste rather than just putting it into a black bag.

The booklet claims that 60 per cent of the rubbish that ends up in dustbins could be recycled and as much as 50 per cent of waste could be composted. Most families throw away about 40kg of plastic each year. Aluminium can be recycled and back in use in six weeks.

Glass is 100 per cent recyclable and can be reused again and again and recycled paper causes 75 per cent less air pollution than if it is made from raw materials. The booklet lists many different ways that unwanted materials can be disposed of.

For example Unst Regeneration Growers Enterprise Ltd will gladly accept any glass jars with lids, plastic sheeting, any old wood, fish boxes, nets, rope, coal sacks, paper and shredded paper, egg boxes, grass cuttings and manure.

Details are also given regarding the disposal of bigger items like old fridges, scrap metal and agricultural equipment, all those things can be uplifted free of charge by Shetland Amenity Trust. Initiative at the Edge can be found at Unit 2, Sellafirth Business Park, Yell. The phone number is (01957) 744394.

Vacant community council seat

George Nisbet has stepped down from Yell Community Council. Mr Nisbet represented the Mid Yell ward but rescinded his seat because he was unable to attend meetings on anything like a regular basis.

The mandatory by-election process will now go into operation, with the vacancy being advertised, but a new member will not be elected or co-opted to until the late autumn or early winter.

Singing the Blues

Blues fans are in for a treat when Al Hughes appears in the Baltasound Hotel next Saturday. Look out for the posters. Sharn Swan says that supper is included in the ticket price.

Lawrence Tulloch


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