North Mainland Notes

Voar events for Ollaberry

Although there are still hopes for further warm summer weather, members of the Ollaberry hall committee are already looking towards the voar and winter season.

A range of events are being planned, including the monthly 500 nights, fish and chip nights, bingo evenings and quiz nights.

The 500 nights will take place on the first Wednesday of each month, beginning on 2nd September and these will continue until the lambing season begins. A quiz night and a bingo night will each be held one Sunday night in the month, beginning in the voar.

Northmavine sheepdog trials

The Northmavine sheepdog trials were held last Saturday at North Roe. For the second year running the weather did not favour competitors with wet and windy weather during the morning. The conditions did not dampen the spirits of competitors nor spectators and the weather improved during the afternoon. The sheep – gimmers provided by Robert Ramsay – ran well resulting in some good runs throughout the competition. Although there were some closely contended runs throughout the day from local handlers, the overall championship class was won by Kate Birkett of Orkney with Tessa. Kate has become a regular, and very welcome, competitor in Shetland competitions.

The judge for the day was Stephen Alexander from Abernethy in Perth. Stephen is a handler of international standard and was impressed by the quality of skills on show.

The tea tent provided a welcome opportunity for spectators to shelter from the weather and to enjoy the barbecue, homebakes and teas provided by the family and friends of committee members. The committee would like to thank everyone who helped prepare and run the event. Despite the weather, high points were achieved in all classes and the results were as follows: Limit Class: 1 Robbie Anderson and Chance 52 points (out of 60); 2 Maurice Anderson and Dug 51; 3 Jerry Ramsay and Moss 49; 4 James Nicolson and Meg 48; 5 Marcus Georgeson and Hope 48.

Open Class: 1 Jerry Ramsay and Moss 92 points (out of 100); 2 David Kinloch and Bob 84; 3 Andrew Nicolson and Kate 82 outbye; 4 Christopher Williamson and Ted 82; 5 Kate Birkett and Tessa 81 outbye; 6 Christopher Williamson and Cal 81.

Doubles Class: 1 Andrew Nicolson 92 points (out of 115); 2 Christopher Williamson 70.

Junior Class: 1 Duncan Stove and Clyde 52 points (out of 60); 2 Grant Anderson and Cap 43; 2 Daina Murray and Nell 35.

Championship Class: 1 Kate Birkett and Tessa 94 points (out of 100); 2 Andrew Nicolson and Kate 85 outbye; 3 David Kinloch and Bob 85; 4 Christopher Williamson and Ted 63; 5 Jerry Ramsay Retired.

Best Local Competitor: Andrew Nicolson.

Best Shed: Andrew Nicolson and Kate, Open Class.

Best Pen: Marcus Georgeson and Hope, Limit Class.

Best Lift and Fetch: Jerry Ramsay and Moss, Open Class.

Best Outrun: David Kinloch and Bob, Open Class.

Best Drive: Jerry Ramsay and Moss. Open Class.

Best Shetland Bred Dog: Andrew Nicolson and Kate.

Best Local Competitor in Limit Class only: Robbie Anderson and Chance.

Dog or Dogs Under Best Command: Jerry Ramsay and Moss.

Best Junior Competitor with own dog: Duncan Stove and Clyde.

Best Newcomer: Isla Thomason and Dan, Limit Class.

Best Lady Competitor: Kate Birkett and Tess.

Most Unfortunate Run: Andrew Hughson.

Quietest Competitor: Kate Birkett and Tess, Championship .

Community buy out

Hopes for a community-owned shop in Hillswick took a huge step forward last Friday when ownership of the shop transferred to the Northmavine Community Development Company (NCDC). Plans are now afoot to set up a community-owned trading arm of the NCDC, refurbish the shop premises, stock the shelves and get the doors re-opened. The sale also includes a dwelling house, a large outbuilding and a small store.

The NCDC first began researching the prospect of purchasing the development almost a year ago. Initially a business plan was produced to look at the viability of a community-led business, a survey of the premises was commissioned and sources of funding were investigated. A community survey at the end of last year confirmed a huge amount of support within the local area for the project and this gave the NCDC the mandate to proceed on behalf of folk in the area.

After a site visit, as well as a feasibility and options appraisal carried out by the NCDC, in April this year the Community Land Fund confirmed funding of £50,000 to aid the purchase of the buildings. The remainder of the £75,000 purchase price, as well as a lesser amount to help with refurbishment costs, have been secured through loan funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland. The business also hopes to benefit from the rural shops grant scheme in helping to purchase equipment and has had positive discussions with the SIC’s economic development unit.

After a very successful community meeting at Hillswick in June, a steering group and a redd up and refurbishment group were set up. The priority for the community is to see the shop re-open and the steering group will help shape the way forward. A schedule of works for the shop refurbishment will be drawn up and several redd up nights are being organised.

Anyone in Hillswick, Eshaness, Urafirth, Heylor and the surrounding area who has not already volunteered for the redd up group, but would like to get involved would be most welcome. Posters advertising the date and time of redd up nights will be put up locally.

The dwelling house, attached to the shop, will be rented out by the NCDC to help fill the demand for housing in Northmavine. The large outbuilding is in need of major refurbishment, but could potentially be used as work space or office accommodation in the future. Refurbishment costs for the outbuilding, which is listed, will be substantial, but the NCDC has already researched possible sources and received an amber light from the SRDP.

Chairwoman of the NCDC, Margaret Roberts, said: “The last few months have been a real roller coaster for us. There were times when we thought we would lose the opportunity to purchase the shop and buildings at Hillswick, but staff at HIE and the Community Land Unit in particular were able to confirm funding in the nick of time.” She went on to say: “The response and support we have had from the community is tremendous and we’re delighted to be part of ensuring that the Hillswick shop will once again part of the heart of the community.”

Anyone who would like further information or would like to support the project can contact the NCDC office on (01806) 544222.

Wheelbarrows ready

Folk in Northmavine just have one day left to prepare those wheelbarrows for the annual race at Hillswick tomorrow night. Entrants should sign in at 8pm for an 8.30pm start. The bairns’ off-road race will be followed by the adults race and a prize-giving and suppers will take place after the races. Bar facilities will be available.

Maree Hay


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