Isles Views 16.10.09

Bluemull development

Initiative at the Edge North Isles Ltd has now come to the end of its I@E status and is carrying on as from 1st October as Bluemull Development Co Ltd, with the same aims and objectives, focusing on Yell and Unst now that Fetlar Development Group has its own dedicated development worker.

BDC hope to work closely and to share information and experience with Fetlar and all the other North Isles developments groups, to work towards attracting new projects that will bring money and jobs into the local communities.

BDC has been able to carry on with help and support from previous I@E directors and members who have the long term vision of providing office services and business support in the North Isles using the best premises, equipment and internet access once SIC Pathfinder is in place.

Due to Staff holidays the office will be open for limited hours over the next few weeks, but secretary Jackie Smiles says please call or email and one of the willing directors will be on hand to help.

Contacts are email or telephone (01957) 744394.

The office will be open (8am to 4pm) Monday 12th, 19th and 26th October; Wednesday 14th, 21st and 28th October. Back to 9am to 5pm on 29th October.

Box and fiddle

Last weekend the Accordion and Fiddle Festival staged concerts in the Symbister Hall in Whalsay and in the Baltasound Hall in Unst. There was no concert in Yell this year but plenty of Yell folk travelled to the concerts of their choice.

The Cullivoe Fiddlers were playing in Symbister on the Thursday night, and Angus Henry of that group said that he had thoroughly enjoyed the concert and he was particularly impressed with accordionist John Bone. The Cullivoe Fiddlers were somewhat caught up in the problems of the Laxo ferry terminal being out of action.

The Fiddlers thought that they would be in good time for the start of the concert but with the ferry working out of Vidlin making a longer crossing time they arrived at the hall when the first act was on stage. They were on second! Not much time to tune fiddles let alone rehearse.

In Baltasound on Friday night an excellent concert party played to something less than a packed hall. The Unst Music and Dance Club got things off to a great start with an inspired selection of tunes that are not that well known but all played with togetherness and plentiful lift.

With no disrespect to visiting artistes locals can often be highlights of any show, and so it was here. For me the biggest wow factor came from Maggie Adamson and Brian Nicholson. Maggie commanded the stage, her music was scintillating and Brian’s accompaniment on guitar made a very telling contribution.

Baltasound man Henry Henderson, now living in Lerwick, was compere and he was in sparkling form. Jokes that should never be funny at all become very funny when he tells them. He, too, made a great contribution.

One disappointment was that Dermot McLaughlin, one of Ireland’s best and best-known fiddlers, was unable to be in Shetland because he has hurt his back. The substitute for Dermot was Marie Fielding and she too, is a great fiddler albeit that she is totally different from McLaughlin.

It was a most enjoyable concert from start to finish and I went home feeling that I had had my money’s worth and more.

Mid Yell bypass

The new road that will bypass the Hillend area of Mid Yell is almost complete. The double carriageway road constructed by Tulloch Developments cuts out the narrow, blind and awkward piece of road past the old school and the right angle bend above the Hilltop Bar.

The upper road to East Yell forms a junction there too and no amount of clear signposting could eliminate confusion regarding the right of way. The new road veers to the left at the top of the Ness of Gardie and rejoins the old road just above the Gardie junction.

The new road will have a double width cattle grid and the bypass will make entry into Mid Yell from the north a lot safer and easier. This road can be quite busy. With the fish processing factory and the salmon packing station in Mid Yell, many articulated trucks use it and when two of them met here it called for very careful and exact driving just to get past.

However in the construction of the new road a small piece of local history has disappeared. There was a Royal Mail Box in this area that has been swallowed up. It was a place for folk to post letters and it was a store for bags of mail to be collected by the carrier. In bygone days the Post Office was at nearby Gardie.

It has not been used for a very long time, not, in fact, since the days of horses and gigs. Lowrie Moar of Cullivoe used to drive the gig taking mail to and from Burravoe and he was something of a local legend in the way that he was out doing his arduous job regardless of the weather.

There were times with heavy snow when the horse and gig could not operate and Lowrie, along with volunteers, would carry mail on their backs with each man expected to carry a boll (170 lbs) through knee deep snow. This was a truly crippling ordeal. As they journeyed north from Burravoe they were able to drop off some of the burden to make walking just a little easier.

Yell’s oldest resident

The oldest person in Yell is Helen Jamieson who is well into her 102nd year. Nowadays she lives in Isleshaven Care Centre, she enjoys her many visitors and has a mind as clear and sharp as ever it was at any time of her life.

Helen is renowned for her skill as a craft worker; she excelled in embroidery, tapestries and indeed all sorts of needlework as well as knitting. She made herself a cardigan with a gold lurex yoke and she wore it on a special occasion. The occasion was the christening of Denise Nicolson from Aywick.

This year Helen gave the cardigan an entirely new role and for another special occasion. This time it was Denise’s 21st birthday. Helen had the cardigan made into a bear to give as a present to Denise. Helen gave the bear a name and had a poem to go with it. Denise was delighted with this and it was all the more pleasing when Helen was able to be at the party.

Isleshaven’s birthday

Isleshaven Care Centre in Mid Yell is 25 years old. It opened in October 1984 and to mark the occasion the staff are having an open afternoon on Saturday 24th from 2-5pm.

Norma Farmer says that it will be very informal; she hopes that anyone who has been involved with the centre in any way, over the years, will attend. Folk like former staff, relatives and friends of service users. Come along, Norma says, for a yarn and a cup of tea with home bakes.

Table Top Sale

Jackie Guthrie says that there is still time to book a table for the Table Top sale to be held in the Mid Yell Hall tomorrow afternoon from 3-6pm. You can phone Jackie on (01957) 702029 or Doreen on (01957) 702337.

Some equipment from the school will be auctioned at 3pm and suppers, tea and home bakes will be served from 4.30pm until 6.30pm.

“Come along,” says Jackie, “and have your tea and get some bargains at the same time.” The sale is in aid of hall funds.

Lawrence Tulloch


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