Views from the Scord 04.09.09

Harbour activity

It was an average week for fish landings in Scalloway. There were no landings at all on Monday or Wednesday last week, but the remaining days yielded with a total of 1,185 boxes through the market.

The boats contributing to this total were the Alison Kay, Fertile, Prolific, Gunner’s Glory, Comrades, Radiant Star, Valhalla and Copious. The largest single landing came from the Alison Kay on Tuesday with 368 boxes.

The Buckie-registered Ocean Reward IV was towed into port by the Alison Kay during the week after her net became tangled in her propeller. She was in port for a time while divers worked to clear the damaged net.

The Aberdeen-registered fisheries research vessel Alba na mara arrived during the week after conducting unspecified surveys in the Vaila Sound area and launched a small craft to perform surveys in Clift Sound before departing.

The Alba na mara is capable of carrying out all types of fishing and seabed related survey activities and carries equipment for single, twin, demersal and pelagic trawling and scallop dredging. She is owned and run by the Fisheries Research Service of Marine Scotland, the lead organisation in management of the seas around Scotland for “prosperity and environmental sustainability”.

The core drilling ship Bucentaur remained in port from before the weekend while offloading equipment prior to re-tasking and eventually left on Wednesday last week.

The Ronja Settler continues to regularly shuttle back and forth, delivering salmon from sites around Shetland to the factory at Blacksness for processing.

On the west quay the deconstruction of the semi-submersible steel salmon cage owned by A&P Tait continues. This unique style of cage design was developed by Swedish firm Farmocean in the 1980s and was claimed to be able to withstand wave action up to 10 metres high. There were a number of them around Shetland at one time, though they have been superseded by more cost effective and efficient cage systems in recent years.

Booth artist

For the past month artist and designer Hazel White has been living and working in the Booth in Scalloway. Hazel was originally from Shetland but her immediate family left Shetland when she was three and this is her first time back in 40 years. The project she has been developing has been a fascinating combination of design, technology and social history.

What started as a personal project to get in touch with her roots and explore her family’s history with her remaining family in Shetland and other local sources has turned into a project that may have far reaching benefits through development of her work.

The essence is to provide people with keepsakes which, through use of technology, can simply trigger audio-visual or photographic content to appear on a screen or computer monitor. This could be particularly beneficial and enjoyable, for instance, for people in care homes and the elderly, but the same principle applies to anybody and everybody to connect them with their past or absent loved ones in a very tactile and emotive sense.

The technology behind the project relies on what is known as RFID computer chips. These are used in, for example, the Oyster card system used for travelling within London, whereby presenting a card near a card reader produces a resulting identification, without the need for contact or button pushing.

In the project which Hazel is developing the same technology would be placed within a keepsake object, such as a decorative knitted pincushion, and the chip reader be ultimately linked to a television.

The kind of content this could trigger could be films of loved ones or past places and events, or recordings of reminiscences or messages, or even access to archive photographs or film of people and places in the owner’s life.

Learning how to knit while here inspired Hazel to adopt small knitted objects like pin cushions to house the miniature technology. She also spent time with her elderly relatives in Whalsay, Lerwick and Bressay and visited some of the relevant heritage centres in rural areas and has compiled recordings and photographs that have put her very directly in touch with her family and the lives they lived in days gone by.

Once established, all it takes is the handling of the treasured pin- cushion keepsake near her computer and a sequence of fond memories and reminiscences is displayed.

Hazel says something a knitted pin cushion “is a tactile personal object”. Once her project has been fully developed she will then be able to apply for funding to broaden the scope to other themes and areas.

Her seemingly fated return here held many memorable encounters, including the outstanding coincidence of visiting the Bressay Heritage Centre only moments after someone had donated a picture of her ancestors to their collection, and then meeting the donator on the ferry back to Lerwick to find out more, the chances of which are extraordinary given the 40-year absence and random nature of her visit to Bressay.

Hazel is now back at her post as course director of the Master of Design Programme at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, but after her re-introduction to her Shetland homeland has every intention of returning to pursue her own history and this design project.

Artist residencies at the Booth are provided through the Wasps Artists Studios charity which provides affordable space to support the career of artists working in Scotland.

Hazel’s residency was organised through Shetland Arts which gained funding from the Scotland Year of Homecoming to enable her to have her very own homecoming. She hopes to secure funding to allow hers finished project to be shown at the Bonhoga Gallery at the end of June 2010 to coincide with Shetland’s own Hamefarin events.

Farewell to the horses

The Trondra-based Filsket riding club held its last club sessions of the year last weekend heralding an end to the summer riding season and the return of their donated ponies to their respective owners and pastures.

The group on Sunday managed to spend some time outdoors with the horses despite the windy weather, but Friday’s group were not so lucky with the weather and spend time cleaning tack and brushing up on their technical knowledge, as is done by the club regularly.

Friday gymkhana
Stepping stones race – group one: Tom Chivers, Rebecca Jamieson. Group two: Sophie Jamieson, Kelsea Blades. Group three: Evie Craigie, Kira Gifford. Group four: Konrad Craigie, Bethany Laurenson.
Fish and flump race – group jone: Jenna Mouat, Tom Chivers. Group two: Beatrice Anderson, Sophie Jamieson. Group three: Eilidh Blance. Group four: Bethany Laurenson.
Tattie and spoon race – group one: Jenna Mowat, Alanoss Jamieson. Group two: Beatrice Anderson, Kelsea Blades. Group three: Evie Craigie, Eilidh Blance. Group 4: Laura Blance.

Sunday gymkhana

Stepping stones race – Ggroup one: Lisa Hay, Grace Anderson. Group two: Catriona Gilbertson. Group three: Erin Gibson, Sadie Simpson. Group four: Holly Smith, Leah Setrice. Group five: Sinead Blance, Vanya Johnson. Group six: Jessica Johnson.
Fish and flump race – group one: Lisa Hay, Grace Anderson. Group two: Ross Anderson, Daisy Smith. Group three: Erin Gibson, Soley Inkster. Group four: Holly Smith, Joanne Anderson. Group five: Sinead Blance, Shara Scobie. Group six: Alanah Young, Jessica Johnson.
Tattie and spoon race – group one: Lisa Hay, Grace Anderson. Group two: Tabitha Johnson, Ross Anderson. Group three: Erin Gibson, Soley Inkster. Group four: Keira Rendall, Joanne Anderson. Group five: Sinead Blance, Shara Scobie. Group six: Alanah Young, Jessica Johnson.

The club has celebrated a particularly successful year, with the introduction of their first club-owned pony who is ready for use in their lessons and an ever-increasing waiting list for membership.

As a follow-up to a recent article on the club’s new pony it has been requested that a couple of points be clarified the involvement of Disability Shetland in potential projects had not been in any ways confirmed and this point was misunderstood before writing. Therefore, suggestion that they had not acquired funding to utilise the new pony last year and the prospect of them doing so this year were both factually inaccurate and apologies are extended for any misrepresentation.

It is hoped that the pony will be used to provide riding for the disabled and disadvantaged, as well as club members, through various avenues in due course.

Bunting away

Summer was drawn to a figurative close in Scalloway this week with the removal of the bunting from the Main Street on Sunday.

The bunting, put up to celebrate the Scalloway Gala weekend, has previously been taken down after the weekend of the regatta, at the latest. But feedback this year prompted the gala committee to leave it up for an indefinite period as it was thought to brighten up the village and received ongoing positive feedback from visitors and tourists.

The beginning of the end, however, came two weekends ago when an unusually tall vehicle is said to have passed through the east end of Main Street and broke the bunting where it was strung between opposing sides of the street.

According to a spokesman for the gala committee there was no major damage done and the broken cord will easily tie back together. Preparations are already under way for next year’s gala, the 21st birthday of the event.

Mark Burgess


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