South Mainland Notebook 04.09.09

Bouncing bairns

Now that the school term has started again there are Kindergym sessions every Friday for children aged six months to five years at Carnegie Hall in Sandwick.

“The sessions run from 10.30am to 12.30pm,” says Kindergym committee chairwoman Ruth Holland, “but there’s no need for bairns to arrive at the beginning or to stay the full two hours”.

The aim of Kindergym is to give children a chance to play, exercise and develop co-ordination skills in a fun and supervised environment. It uses a variety of equipment such as slides, balance beams, mats and a caterpillar tunnel to allow the bairns to satisfy their natural urge to climb, roll and swing.

“It’s also about teaching the children how to socialise,” says Ruth. “To share and take turns.”

Juice and biscuits are provided for the peerie participants and there is tea and coffee for the grown-ups who accompany them.

As well as offering stimulation for little ones, Ruth sees the sessions as important for adults too. While their children are at play they get a chance to meet up with and talk to other parents. There is a special safe area for the very youngest to crawl around in, so mums and dads can get a real break.

The sessions cost £1.50 for the first child, then any additional children are charged at a concessional rate. There is no charge for babies. For further information call (01950) 431293.

Book early for festival

There are concerts with a supper and dancing at Gulberwick on Thursday, 8th October and at Bigton on Friday, 9th October, as part of the annual Accordion & Fiddle Festival.

“The programme is quite varied,” says committee chairman Peter Leask. “We’ve performers coming from Norway and Ireland as well as from mainland Scotland, and there are also the local Shetland musicians, who can hold their end up with anyone. The last few years have been very successful and we are hoping it will be the same again.”

The popularity of the event, and the fact that it attracts folk from out with Shetland, means tickets sell out quickly.

“To avoid disappointment, we encourage people in the local areas to get booked up early if there’s something in their hall they want to go to,” says Mr Leask.

The programme with advance booking form is now available from most local shops, or at John Leask & Son in Lerwick.

Skill-sharing opportunities

If you fancy doing something new this autumn or increasing your qualifications, Ness Learning Centre at Boddam Hall offers a wealth of opportunities.

Participants in the creative writing course will read and discuss literature and produce their own pieces of writing. You can buff up on history, find out about psychology, study basic computing and much besides.

On the second to last Saturday of the month the centre also runs family learning sessions at Dunrossness School. The aim is to provide fun, interesting and educational activities for families to do together. In the past these have included bird watching, rock pooling and making musical instruments from junk.

If you have something you could teach at one of these sessions – be it gardening, cooking, painting, or anything else you think would go down well – the learning centre is eager to hear from you. The sessions are from 11am to 1pm.

Courses start around 14th September. In order to attend you need to register in advance at the learning centre, open on Mondays from 6.30pm to 8pm, on Tuesdays from 9am to 5pm and 6.30pm to 8pm, on Wednesdays from 9am to 10.30am and 2pm to 5pm, and on Fridays from 9am to 1pm.

In addition, the centre offers free support and help to job seekers. Either drop in on Fridays from 9am to 10.30am or phone to make an appointment.

For further information, to make an appointment or to offer your services phone Shirley Jones on (01950) 460901.

Vision meeting

Lively participation is expected at Levenwick Hall tomorrow, when Shetland South Vision will host a meeting to discuss health and social care.

Anybody who has an opinion on these topics is welcome to come along and make their feelings known. The meeting is from 11am to 1pm and will be followed by a light lunch.

Four decades of brigade

At the start of the summer Dunrossness Girls’ Brigade put a call out to past members, inviting them to come and join in their 40th anniversary celebrations.

Around 50 people have responded, and the Dunrossness group’s founder, now in her 80s, is going to come from the Scottish mainland to take part.

Tomorrow evening there will be a buffet in Bigton Hall, and a PowerPoint presentation, including old photographs and personal reminiscences. “The idea is to jog memories,” says the captain Aileen Brown.

On Sunday at 11am there is a dedication service in the Dunrossness Church of Scotland, for both the Girls’ and the Boys’ Brigades, which everyone is welcome to attend, followed by tea, coffee and biscuits.

Current members are having a celebration party on Wednesday evening. “I think the plan is to eat a lot of unhealthy food,” says Aileen.

Throughout the school year the Girls’ Brigade provides a chance for girls to get together, have fun and participate in new activities. They are always on the lookout for helpers, including those who have a special skill they could demonstrate at a single session. If you have some time to spare and would like to get involved, call Aileen Brown on (01950) 460809.

Doors Open Days

Tomorrow and Sunday from noon to 4pm Sumburgh Lighthouse will be taking part in Shetland’s annual Doors Open Days.

Designed by Robert Stevenson and built in 1821, the lighthouse is the oldest in Shetland. For further details call (01595) 744800.

Unusual aircraft

Sumburgh Airport had some unusual visitors last week. On Monday a Norwegian AS32 helicopter with an undersling came to Shetland to do aerial mast work on Bressay, though poor weather stopped this from taking place.

On the same day two Robinson R44 helicopters arrived from Faroe, leaving the next day for Stavanger in Norway. They were deliveries on their way from America to Russia.

The R44 is a popular four-seater helicopter, developed by the California-based Robinson Company in 1991. In 1997 it became famous for being the first piston-engine helicopter to circumnavigate the globe, and in 2000 an R44 was the first helicopter to be flown solo around the world by a woman. In 2002 it set another record when it became the first piston helicopter to fly to the North Pole.

On Wednesday evening two military aircraft from Uruguay were forced to divert to Sumburgh while en route from Norway to Faroe, due to bad weather. These were CASA C-212s, a Spanish-designed aeroplane, used for both military and civilian purposes. The C-212 is limited to flying relatively low because it does not have a pressurized fuselage. The planes left the following day for Iceland.

A trip from Parma in Italy brought a P.180 Piaggio Avanti on Thursday. It departed for Inverness that afternoon. The result of collaboration between American and Italian companies, the P.180 is a sleek-looking business aircraft that can seat up to nine passengers.

Ness netball

Five years ago Ann Mason came to teach maths at Sandwick School only to find herself taking on netball as well.
“After a while though I thought, hang on, I want to play too.” The result was women’s netball, in Sandwick Games Hall on Thursdays from 8pm to 9pm.

“A lot of people do netball at school,” says Ann, “but afterwards they forget the rules. I suggest they come along, re-learn and have a laugh. All levels of ability are welcome. We play for fun and fitness.”

The sessions are open to those aged 14 and above, and there is no upper age limit. There is a charge of £2 per week to cover hire of the hall.

Ann is also involved in running free after-school sessions for girls under 15, and for boys and girls in the Primary 4 age group. For details call her on (01950) 431610. More help is always gratefully received, so if you can lend a hand please get in touch.

Sandcastles in the sun

The rain stopped, the sun came out, and the beach was even sheltered from the wind for Sunday’s annual Gulberwick picnic.

And although much of the beach is still offshore, in the form of an island which reveals itself at low tide, there was just enough of the essential material for the sand castle competition to go ahead.

Great imagination was applied to the design of the castles, and an ample supply of stones brought a new dimension, with brochs, standing stones, a pyramid and even a volcano included for the first time.

The bairns ran off their energy on the playing field, in the sea, and looking for a range of hidden items in the treasure hunt. Afterwards a veritable feast of food was served in the hall.

Gulberwick Together, the community action group which organised the event, is grateful to all who helped to arrange it and who came along. They were particularly pleased to welcome a number of new faces.

Rural starts up again

Boddam SWRI recommenced this week with a cookery demonstration.

The group meets in Dunrossness Hall on the first Monday of the month from 7.30pm to 10pm. Everybody is welcome and they are particularly eager to attract new members. For further details call (01950) 460786.

Fun for youngsters

Dunrossness Baptist Church Youth Club begins its new season of activities tomorrow.

The club meets every fortnight from 7pm to 9pm and is open to youngsters aged from Primary 4 to Secondary 4.

Future plans include a games night, a film night, a half-term party and an alternative hallowe’en event. New members are always welcome. Either just go along or call Suzette Mockford on (01950) 460571 or Katherine Henderson on (01950) 460550 for further details.

During the summer break the youth club youngsters have been far from idle. A sunny Saturday afternoon saw them walking the length of West Voe Beach collecting litter and bruck.

The clean-up was carried out on behalf of Dunrossness Community Council, as part of the “Keep Scotland Beautiful” Seaside Award. Over half a dozen bags were filled, and some even rewarded their efforts with a swim in the sea.

Cathy Feeny


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.