Isles Views

Tall ships to visit Yell

Hopes are high for a dramatic sight in Yell in July the year after next. Cullivoe has been chosen as one of the guest harbours that will welcome the fleet to Shetland in 2011 during the Cruise in Company leg of the Tall Ships Race.

Barry Nisbet has been nominated as lead contact for the area, and will be working hand in hand with the organisers in Lerwick to make the event a success. Barry has a great deal of experience and expertise in the field of tall ships.

He was the master of a tall ship that cruised around the Pacific and Shetland Times readers will remember his log that kept us all up to date with his voyages.

“It will take a lot of work between now and 2011 to make the most of this, and it would be good to see the whole island getting involved,” says Barry.

To this end an organising committee will be set up at a public meeting to be held on Monday 30th November at 7.30pm in the community room at Yell Leisure Centre. All community groups, public halls and organisations as well as interested members of the general public are invited to attend.

It is hoped to attract several ships, including the large Class A vessels to Cullivoe. The event will take place before the ships sail on to Lerwick to take part in the festivities there on 21st July 2011.

An initial programming meeting has already been held in Cullivoe Public Hall where project manager Fiona Dally gave an overview and a brief history of the Tall Ships event.

It is anticipated that that ships will visit Cullivoe on Monday 18th and Tuesday 19th July. Fair Isle, Scalloway, Baltasound and Whalsay are also host ports that aim to attract ships at the same time. The nine days allowed between Greenock and Lerwick should give ships the time to visit a few ports on the way north.

The nature of the event, and of course the weather, requires a lot of flexibility and there must be a good range of facilities and attractions for visiting ships. As well as being a host Shetland is committed to promoting youth sail training.

Shetland will sponsor places for at least 25 youth crew members on various ships in both the 2010 and 2011 races. It is estimated that the cost per Shetland crew member will be about £1,000. It is hoped that much of this cost will be met by sponsorship from local businesses and fund-raising in the run up to the summer of 2011.

There will be a roadshow promoting the event, which will be held early in 2010, and this is being organised centrally.

Barry Nisbet will make school visits and link with the North Isles youth worker to encourage young people in the isles to take part in Sail Train Shetland. Young people aged from 13 to 23 at the moment should be encouraged to get involved.

Forty-two years of racing

The Unst sailing folk have recently celebrated 42 consecutive years of points racing. The practice of having points races was the brainchild of the late Sam Polson. Mr Polson was the headmaster of the Baltasound Junior High School.

He had many different interests; as well as sailing he ran a weather observatory at the school that the children, to this day, are deeply involved in. He was also a driving force behind the Unst fiddlers.

It was in 1968 that the points races began and take place each weekend of the summer alternating between Baltasound and Uyeasound. There has been, from the start, a function in the autumn or early winter to mark the end of each season.

At the beginning it was a dinner dance with a three-course meal but Laurence Robertson says that some years when sailing went through lean periods they scaled the evening down to a simple supper dance.

However the full-scale dinner has been reinstated and Mr Robertson says that it is interesting that the demand for this did not come from the old diehards but from the younger members of the sailing community.

The most recent dinner dance was held in the Uyeasound hall and after the meal the toast to the Unst sailors was proposed by Tammy Williamson from Whalsay. Mr Williamson’s sister lives in Uyeasound and he has always supported the Unst regattas and points racing whenever he could.

He made a powerful and entertaining speech that was admired and enjoyed by all. Derek Jamieson of Belmont replied in similar vein and the evening was rounded off by music from Robbie Leith and his Band.

Bead craft

Adaline Christie-Johnston held a fascinating demonstration on Sunday of the craft of beading in the Wind Dog Café.

Adaline learned the craft in Tasmania where she lived with her husband Alastair for many years. She has produced many beautiful and colourful pieces for friends and family.

The demonstration started at 2pm and a group of nine joined in threading beads and working intricate stitches to create little pictures and jewellery. The craft is ideally suited to making bracelets, necklaces and embellishing objects.

The workshop lasted two and a half hours and it was with great difficulty that people were persuaded to stop – it is truly an engrossing craft. There will be two more workshops in early spring and to sign up contact Andy Ross on (01957) 744355 (answerphone) or email There will be a charge of approximately £6 for materials.

Table top sale

Jacqui Duncan says that there is still time to book a table for the tabletop sale in the Burravoe hall on Saturday 21st November from 3.30pm until 6.30pm. Fish and chips will be served between 5pm and 7pm.

Jacqui has organised table stop sales for many years, donating the proceeds to various different charities. This year she has decided to have it for her local community with the proceeds going towards the caravan site and toilet/shower block at the Burravoe marina. Phone Jacqui on (01957) 722397 to book a table.

Isleshaven afternoon

Isleshaven Care Centre’s recent open afternoon was hailed as a big success with a steady stream of visitors through the door to celebrate the centre’s 25th anniversary. The staff would like to say a big thank you to those who set up the photo displays, made the teas and washed up.

The cooks produced delicious home bakes and the East Yell hall committee gave the use of their display stands for the day. Thanks, too, to the many members of the public who called in to show their support.

Whalsay gala day

Next year the 25th Whalsay gala day will be held. The organisers would like to have a bigger and better event than usual so a lot of fund-raising will take place between now and gala day itself.

The pupils in secondary three at the Whalsay School are making a calendar in their ASDAN class. There is a selection of photos, old and new, all taken by local people, of various different events that have been held during the regatta such as the pram race, daft raft race, sailing and the gala day on the pier.

To help raise funds there is Sunday teas in Symbister hall on Sunday afternoon between 3.30pm and 6.30pm. The calendar will be on sale during the teas and thereafter in the local shops.

Voluntary action

Tomorrow between 10.30am and 2.30pm Wendy Hand, development worker with Voluntary Action Shetland, will be at the Mid Yell Junior High School.

She will help run a course to help groups develop their skills in report writing including how to complete their annual report for OSCR.

By the end of the course participants will have guidance on how to structure and write reports that communicate information efficiently and accurately. They will develop skills in report writing to meet their target audience and also be able to complete their annual return for the office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

To book a place on this course the email contact is or phone (01595) 743905.

Coffee morning

Alma Lewis wishes everyone to know that St Colman’s Church in Burravoe is having a coffee morning tomorrow between 10.30am and midday.

Fayre at Westsandwick

This year the Westsandwick Christmas Fayre will be held in the hall on Sunday 22nd November. For more details watch this space.

Unlucky or not?

The very first column I wrote for The Shetland Times appeared on Friday 13th. This first one written in North Roe also appears on Friday 13th. I can’t help wondering there is a message to interpret somewhere or a lesson to learn.

Lawrence Tulloch


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