Views from the Scord

Harbour activity

It was a near record week for fish landings in the port of Scalloway, with the highest number of boxes of fish sold through the market since January this year.

On this occasion the total was logged as 3,432 boxes from an extensive list of boats. The previous record of over 3,800 boxes, set in January this year, was the highest weekly total for over a decade during a run of frequent high catches landed on the west side at that time.

Vessels using the port last week were the Fidelitas, Guardian Angell, Keila, Mizpah, Valhalla, Arcturus, Radiant Star, Venturous, Comrades, Atlantia, Faithful, Ocean Sovereig and Sharyn Louise. Eight of the boats made landings on Friday alone, a particularly busy day for the market, but the highest landings for the week came from the Mizpah and Keila on Monday with each landing 496 boxes.

The Inverness-registered fishing boats Fear Not and Arcturus were also in during midweek to land at the market.

The well-boat Ronja Settler had another busy week, operating around the clock to consign salmon to the factory at Blacksness.

The emergency tug Anglian Sovereign came for shelter at the beginning of last week. She returned on Friday to shelter over the weekend only to be called to a maritime rescue between Shetland and Faroe in the small hours of Sunday.

The cargo ship Sirius lost all propulsion after her main engine casing cracked, leaving her adrift near to the border between UK and Faroese sectors. The Anglian Sovereign was tasked to attend to her in a protective role as she waited for a tug to come from Faroe to take her undertow to port for repairs.

The Sirius was a regular visitor to Scalloway to offload salmon feed before her recent sale to Danish owners and at the time of her breakdown she was said to be carrying a cargo of empty containers.

The Nassau-registered survey vessel Fugro Meridian also called twice during the week, changing crew and picking up supplies on the first visit on Wednesday, only to return for some spares on Friday. The 2,255grt vessel is believed to have been working west of Shetland.

Bad news for the aquaculture industry in the area came last week with a further discovery of evidence of the ISA disease that affects farmed salmon in the waters off Scalloway. The disease was revealed to be present in sampled fish from the only remaining farm site in the area, operated by Skelda Salmon.

The entire area was designated an exclusion zone for aquaculture earlier this year after the disease was first discovered, with no new fish to be grown in the area until April next year. Apparently the discovery of the disease in the last remaining site has scuppered plans to restock sites in the area much earlier, as it is claimed that if fish from the last remaining site had been found to be disease free then aquaculture could have been re-introduced within six weeks.

This guideline re-introduction of fish to the area may have to be set back another six months after the recent samples revealed positive results of infection. This will come as a blow to the operators of sites in the area and they have been forced to use distant sites scattered around the coastline of Shetland to operate during the period of exclusion.

The period from September to now has seen a plentiful quantity of mussels being harvested in the Scalloway area and put ashore at Blacksness, with some weeks yielding as much as 50 tonnes of produce. Last week saw around 26 tonnes of mussels put ashore, with activity limited to the former part of the week.

Tall ships meeting

The meeting to form a committee to plan a bid to encourage ships on the “cruise in company” leg of the Tall Ships race into Scalloway en-route to Lerwick went ahead last week.

The meeting was led by Tall Ships Company representative Fiona Dally, accompanied by guest port co-ordinator Davie Sandison.

Miss Dally delivered a comprehensive presentation in which she explained the form that is taken by a cruise in company and outlined the other ports that will be competing to attract one or more of the 70 or so vessels involved in the 2011 event.

She and Mr Sandison reiterated the necessity to plan local events that could incorporate the crews of any visiting vessels but would not be dependent upon them as there are 12 ports competing, with five of these in Shetland alone. The planning of appropriate events would, however, yield a much higher chance of enticing any of the vessels to Scalloway.

It was also emphasised that these events, the entertainment and any benefits financial or otherwise would apply to a much wider area than just the village. A further aspect of the event that may benefit Scalloway, Burra, Trondra and beyond is the possibility of attracting visitors to the main event in Lerwick, not least the potential to berth visiting private yachts that are not a part of the race itself, but are likely to travel to Shetland to take part in and enjoy the event.

Scalloway could be seen as a particularly suitable venue for visitors of this nature, with suitable berthing for yachts available, ideal facilities and frequent and accessible transport links to Lerwick.

The meeting was well attended and a committee was successfully formed from key figures in the social and sporting interests in the area. A meeting to discuss more detail of how the local events may be tailored to suit the potential influx was scheduled for the end of this month.

Hamnavoe school

Hamnavoe Primary School held a Wear it Pink day in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign charity.

Everyone in the school had to wear at least one item of pink about themselves on the day, which brought every shade of pink known to the school. They also brought donations to the cause which amounted to an admirable total of £110 for the school.

Breast Cancer Campaign uses all donations received to fund “innovative, world-class research” in the UK and Ireland to understand how the disease develops and seek better means of diagnosis, treatment, prevention and cure.

This year the school also decided to take part in the Shoebox appeal. This charity provides items we take for granted, like toothbrushes, plasters, gloves, hats and drawing materials or treats like sweets or small toys to poor families in Romania.

The school had an exceptionally good response to the appeal and the bairns had a great time decorating and filling the boxes. They succeeded in filling and decorating 49 boxes in total which, taking into account that the school has only 43 pupils, was quite an achievement and will bring much benefit and enjoyment to the recipients.

Fraser update

Burra Public Hall will be a busy place next week with a visit from the National Theatre of Scotland on Wednesday followed by three Thomas Fraser concerts from Thursday to Saturday.

The show Long Gone Lonesome played to appreciative audiences during a three-week Scottish tour last month but next Wednesday’s performance will be unique in that it will portray the story of Thomas to his home crowd in Burra. The cast is made up of members of the Lone Star Swing Band of Orkney led by Duncan McLean who acts as narrator and also wrote the script.

For this year’s concerts, the committee has booked an impressive line-up of talent including 1980s cult bluegrass artist Peter Rowan, Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs and fellow Nashville-based country artists David Tanner and Scott Icenogle.

Local favourites include May, Mackie and Rhonda, Laeverick, Allan Tulloch, Martin Pottinger, Robbie Cumming, Arthur Pottinger and Eddie Williamson. Brian Nicholson and Maggie Adamson will appear on Thursday only and it is rumoured that there might just be the odd surprise guest.

With such an array of talent there is, unsurprisingly, a danger of overrunning but the committee and compères Geordie Pottinger and John William Ward will be working very hard this year to avoid things running on too late.

There is an opportunity to hear some of the performers in advance when committee members Sylvia Jamieson and Adalene Fullerton appear on Radio Shetland’s Give us a Tune tonight.

CDs will be on sale at the concerts, along with DVDs of Shetland Lone Star which includes extensive coverage of the 2008 festival.

Tickets for Long Gone Lonesome are on sale at Islesburgh. The show will be revived in January for two performances at Celtic Connections in Glasgow.

There are still some tickets for the concerts on Thursday and Friday available from Halcrow’s shop in Hamnavoe, the Scalloway Meat Company and the Peerie Shop in Lerwick.

Community bonfire

The Scalloway community bonfire sited at the East Voe took Mr Blobby for a “guy” this year, as shown in the photograph, before mounting the huge pile of wood. He also made an impromptu visit to primary one and two classses at the school last week, much to the delight of the bairns and headmistress Joyce Gear.

This year’s bonfire is said to have been built “even bigger and better” than previous events at the Blydoit site, and with even more people in the catchment area thanks to the new Endavoe housing scheme having been added to the nearby communities of the East Voe.

Local school bairns have been watching with great anticipation as the pyre has grown in the recent weeks from the efforts of enthusiastic volunteers.

A collection taken on the night is to be donated to Scalloway Junior High School, to buy games and activities to help keep the bairns amused over lunchtimes during the winter.

Mark Burgess


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