Isles views 09.10.09

Bus service to Lerwick

At a Yell Community Council meeting Ian Johnson raised concerns about the bus which provides the service from the north of Yell to Lerwick.

The vehicle has a history of breakdowns and Mr Johnson described it as being “not fit for purpose” and extremely uncomfortable for such a long journey.

The community council agreed that ZetTrans needed to encourage folk to use public transport and is requesting an update on when the bus will be replaced.

The direct bus service is very popular especially with senior citizens. It offers them a day out in Lerwick and with the provision of travel passes it comes at no cost for travel. Drivers like Sonia Robertson and others are extremely helpful and shopping can be stowed away in the bus so folk are free to go around unburdened by shopping bags. Regular users regard it as a wonderful service.

Isbister Public Hall

It is sometimes forgotten by people like me that there are two halls in Whalsay – at Symbister and Isbister.

In the next few weeks the Isbister Public Hall will celebrate its centenary and chairman John Polson has supplied a brief history of the building.

In 1909 most of the materials for it were fetched from Lerwick by the fishing boat Princess of Thule and landed at the noust of Isbister. Local folk carried the materials the mile and a half to the site, mostly by kishie and handbarrow. The cost of the building was £360.

In 2000 the hall was refurbished to bring it up to modern standards. The main building was restored to its original design and a large extension was build on the back to allow for a new kitchen, bar and toilets. This cost £360,000.

Mr Polson and his committee would like to thank the folk of Whalsay for their support over the years as well as Shetland Islands Council, without whose support it could not continue. The help and support of the communities work division of the SIC has been invaluable, people have given up their own free time and Mr Polson feels that their efforts should be recognised.

The hall will be celebrating its 100 years on the weekend of 16th and 17th October. On the Friday night there will be a family dance with May & Mackie and on the Saturday night Scaldin Brag will provide the entertainment.

Seaside awards

The application for a Seaside Award for the beautiful Tresta beach in Fetlar was again successful.

Peter Coutts has made improvements to the notice board to make it wind and waterproof. The board now has locks to prevent the doors being left open. It was vandalised at the Fetlar Foy and further repairs are required and Peter is attending to that.

In the meantime a temporary notice board has been erected to ensure that the award remains in place. The beach and the Tresta links were cleaned by the Foy Committee in June and the RSPB did the clean up in July.

The equally beautiful beach, the Sands of Breckon in North Yell, has also retained its Seaside Award.

Silver medal for Rhona

Archer Rhona Coutts from Uyeasound in Unst competed for Strathclyde University in the Scottish Universities Sports Championships, where she won a silver medal in the ladies’ bare bow.

This was Rhona’s first year in the sport and she is now looking forward to a new university league season. At the June meeting she was elected to the archery club’s committee.

Welcome home

Adaline and Alastair Christie-Johnston are home from Tasmania for good. Adaline is a Cullivoe lass, one of the Jamieson family from Moarfield and many would have known her late brother Gordon who was a great musician as well as an eart kent coach enthusiast and driver for the family firm.

Alastair lived in Shetland as a young person – he was born in the manse at Cullivoe during the time when his father was the minister there. When his father transferred to Walls he went to the Happyhansel School. Alastair went with the rest of his large family to Tasmania but never lost his memories and love of the Auld Rock.

He has been back here several times and worked here for a time but now the two of them look forward to settling down to life in Shetland. Adaline brings back all her expertise in craftwork that she will gladly share with like-minded folk and Alastair will, no doubt, continue to write.

He is an established author and The Shetland Times published his novel Nor Heard the Clock Strike in 2004. For some considerable time he has been working on a Shetland dictionary. Initially they have been catching up and visiting many old friends. They are living in Mid Yell at least for this winter.

Ferry fares

Unst Community Council has joined Yell Community Council in writing letters regarding the concessions granted to passengers on the Bressay ferry.

It is recognised that folk living in Bressay have no leisure centre and no health centre and they have to travel to Lerwick for those services.

It is not that people in the North Isles grudge the Bressay folk any benefits that they get but this means, for the first time, that a different fare structure has been implemented.

The real bone of contention, as the North Isles folk see it, is that Bressay commuters will be receiving preferential treatment and they want the same deal. This, along with a lack of consultation, is a sore point.

More geese news

Last Friday evening James Tulloch phoned me from Lerwick to tell me a part of the Gutcher geese story that I did not know.

Away back in the late 1950s the late Magnie Henderson of Mursetter gave James’ father, Nicky, a present of two goose eggs.

He took them home to Beach House in Cullivoe and, as luck would have it, they had a klokkin hen. They put the eggs under the hen and awaited developments. In the fullness of time the eggs showed signs of hatching. At that point the hen felt that she had done her shift, lost interest and wandered away, leaving the emerging goslings to their own devices.

The chicks were small and weak and it was clear that they had no chance of survival on their own so James’ wife Joan gave a helping hand. She took them to her breast between layers of clothing and she carried them around with her for several days until they were a bit more robust.

Joan recalls that they were uncomfortable passengers and she was glad when they could be let loose to feed from the ground. As goslings do they grew very fast and became two beautiful snow-white ganders. Joan says that to see them swimming in voe under the moonlight was something she will always remember.

However, they soon pined for female company and they became aggressive, intimidating anyone who ventured on to what they regarded as their territory. James’ uncle Basil was the postman and such was the hard time he got that he declared that he was going to give Beach House a miss.

In the nick of time, before any more drastic action was taken, the Tulloch family learned that Colin Inkster in Gutcher had a flock of geese but no ganders.

And so it was that a happy marriage was brokered and the two tiny goslings that owed their lives to the warmth of Joan’s bosom had grown up to become the fathers of the flock, the remnants of which and still around Gutcher to the present day.

Coffee morning

A coffee morning organised by primary six and seven children from the Cullivoe School raised a total of £132.39 for school funds.

Head teacher Claire Lawson says that the children worked very hard and even learned to bake bannocks for the occasion.

Ruby Rendall

In the aftermath of the country music festival renowned Orcadian singer Ruby Rendall is to visit Shetland later this month.

With her band she will perform in the Whalsay Boating Club on Friday 23rd October and in the Lerwick Legion the following night. Tickets for the Whalsay show are available from the boating club. Guitar player Brian Nicolson is guesting in the band.

News from St Colman’s

On Saturday, 17th October St Colman’s Church is organising a soup and sweet day in the Burravoe Hall, with a choice of both soups and sweets. The event is from noon until 1.30pm and proceeds will go the St Colman’s funds.

The following day at 2.45pm there will be a harvest festival in St Coleman’s. The church is collecting donations to be given to troops serving in Afghanistan. All the Yell shops have posters and Alma Lewis, from the church, is hoping for a good response.

Lawrence Tulloch


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