Isles Views

Lowrie’s peerie boat

In February 2008 Isles Views reported that Brian Macleod, who lives at Skerray in Sutherland, had brought his boat back to Haroldswick for Willie Mouat to repair.

Last Thursday provided an opportunity to see this boat and two others built by Willie in the water together. Brian is delighted by Willie’s workmanship; his boat is now as good as new.

All three boats are modelled to be the same as the peerie boat owned by the late Lowry Laurenson of the Banks, Norwick. This was a boat that Willie greatly admired but it had decayed until it was beyond repair but not beyond copying and this Willie did. The launch took place at the Brookpoint on a day when the weather was indifferent to say the least.

The boats were rowed off by Brian, Willie, Nicholas Barnham, Melanie (Willie’s daughter) and a friend Julian. Julian has seen all four boats of this model built by Willie – in Skerray, New Zealand and Unst. Nicholas was delighted to see those Shetland boats and, who knows, they may appear in future paintings.

Brian and his wife Irene were here to fetch their boat but they took the opportunity to make the trip into a holiday. Sunniva and Alan Leask gave them the Hillhead in Gutcher, which used to be the home of Sunniva and her family, as self-catering accommodation.

The Macleods used to live in Gutcher when Brian was the community worker and Irene was French teacher in the Mid Yell Junior High School.

Fetlar appointment

Fetlar Developments Ltd, the community-run company set up to promote and regenerate the “garden of Shetland”, has appointed a development worker to take its projects forward.

Robert Thomson of Sellafirth, Yell has been appointed to the post from mid-September.

He said: “I am looking forward to taking on this challenging role and to working closely with the residents of Fetlar, in order to grow the population and create a healthy, vibrant and resilient community.”

Fetlar, which has suffered a dramatic decrease in its population since 2001, currently has a population of just over 50.

Fetlar Developments chairman Paul Gill said, “We are very pleased to now be able to move forward with a dedicated full-time development worker, whose ideas and priorities will be decided by the community. This will help us to develop our island.”


Clidive is a central London dive club undertaking a British Sub Aqua Club sponsored expedition. Their purpose is to carry out underwater surveys of wildlife for the Marine Conversion Society and the Marine Biological Association and 14 members of the group have travelled to Shetland for a two-week visit.

When asked what they think of Shetland Felicity Twomey of the group said: “The underwater scenery is stunning. There is immense variety of marine life and the visibility is crystal clear. The diving around Unst is simply world class.”

With close proximity to sheltered launch and mooring facilities the expedition, which is self sufficient, have found the Saxa Vord resort to be the ideal base. Weather permitting the journey to Muckle Flugga and the Out Stack takes only 30 minutes.

Felicity went on to say that diving in Shetland feels, and is, remote and unspoilt, but with the right planning in place the diving can be carried out safely. They are all experienced divers; they have brought their own boat and hired a compressor to fill the air tanks.

So far they have found many species of nudibranc, several of those new to them and compared to the south coast of England there is prolific fish life. Anyone interested in following the activities of the expedition can log on to where there are some stunning photos.

Da Herra eela

At the annual Herra eela competition the wind was favourable but the rain bucketed down leaving participants soaked and frozen. None the less competitors ranged in age from three to 69.

A couple of boats suffered breakdowns but true to the spirit of the event they were given a helping hand by fellow competitors.

Ashore again everyone gathered in the Herra Hall for much needed soup, bannocks and sandwiches and this allowed folk to feel warm once again. The winners this year were Gilbert Thomson and his all male crew. Second were Robert and Patricia Odie with their new boat and third was Alan Arthur and his crew in Da Saviour.

There were a number of contenders for the booby prize but it was presented to David Robertson for the worst catch of the day.

In the evening a supper, raffle and the prize giving was held also in the hall and this was enjoyed by everyone.

One of the organisers, Judith Finnie, thanked everyone who took part and helped. “If it wasn’t for this support the event could never happen,” she said.

North Isles youth trip

The Yell Youth Cafe and the Unst Youth Centre have recently returned from a very successful trip to Llangorse in Wales.

The young people from the isles have been requesting a trip for some time, after a very successful trip to Villeneuve in Italy three years ago.

Youth workers, youth members and parents have done a lot of hard work in the past 18 months raising funds for the trip. They have gratefully received grants from Unst and Yell Community Councils, Children in Need and donations from local businesses.

The trip began with the overnight ferry to Aberdeen followed by the long coach trip to Wales. The Acorn Village is situated in the Brecon Beacons National Park, renowned for its outstanding natural beauty.

A programme of events was planned for each day of the week which all took place outdoors and included kayaking, canoeing, abseiling, dragon boating, bush craft and sailing. The excursion day was to Go Ballistic Paintball in Herefordshire.

Youth worker Lesley Gray said the whole week was filled with adrenaline and an array of emotions, and was over far too soon. The Acorn staff was impressed with the young folk’s behaviour and attitude.

Food festival

Principal marketing officer for the SIC, Neil Henderson, seeks to remind everyone that the time of the Shetland Food Festival is nearly here again.

Mr Henderson wants all parts of Shetland to be involved and either himself or one of his staff will be contacting producers and caterers including public hall committees.

Participation by local communities is vital if the festival is to be as successful as it was last year. In the North Isles, last year, the Wind Dog Cafe put on a night with local food, music and storytelling. It was well attended and greatly enjoyed.

The event will run from Friday 2nd until Sunday, 11th October. There was a large notice in last week’s Shetland Times and all the contact details are there.

Farmers’ Market

There will be a Farmers Market in the Baltasound Hall this Sunday between 2pm and 4pm.

Soup, sandwiches and home bakes will be provided by URGE and the profits will go to the Crèche.

Bookings can be made through Anna on (01957) 755245 or Sarah on (01957) 711367.

Lawrence Tulloch


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.