Isles Views

Tall Ships to visit Unst

Some of the Tall Ships will visit Unst in 2011 and one of the main contacts there is Ruth Grainger, who is off to Turkey this week to attend the Sail Training International Conference.

She is wearing more than one hat: as well as being the Swan delegate she will promote Shetland as a host port for the Tall Ships and Unst as a guest harbour in the Cruise in Company part of the event. Ruth has promised that she will give us a full report on the trip to Turkey so watch this space.

CLAN cabaret

A cabaret and dance was held in the Symbister Hall in Whalsay in aid of Clan Haven in Aberdeen.

A huge and highly successful appeal has been on going for the CLAN 1,2,3 appeal, which aims to raise enough money to build a new Clan House. In the meantime the work of Clan Haven goes on and folk in Whalsay wanted to contribute to the wonderful base.

The evening started with a visit from the Brae jarl’s squad who entertained everyone with their singing. They were accompanied by Ryan Cooper. While the dinner was served Allan Tulloch and friends, Margaret Hutchison and Loraine Anderson played.

The cabaret consisted of the talented young Whalsay accordionists Steven Anderson, Callum Irvine, Christopher Irvine and James Johnson, accompanied by Margaret. After them came Stewart Pottinger from Burra and his partner Betty with super bluegrass songs and tunes, ably assisted by David Anderson on banjo and Loraine on bass guitar.

Robin Hughson delighted the audience with a very funny sketch, and Alex Couper was there too with his hilarious songs about Lowrie and Meggie. The female half of the “family concert”, Maisie, Ruby Grace and Iris, made a return after 37 years and they, too, were accompanied by Margaret.

This, says Iris, was a very last resort because some of the cast had to cancel because of flu. Comperes for the evening were Iris and her peerie sister Mary who was the star of show as usual. Andrew Hughson and Eva Ganson played for the dance and an excellent band the two of them were.

At the end of the dance Iris shaved the beard and head of Ian Irvine and this hilarity brought in another £275 to add to the pot, so a special thanks has to go to him. The total for the evening was £2,400, all to go the Clan Haven. It was an excellent evening and the hall committee would like to thanks all the artistes, cooks, raffle donators and the people who bought tickets and came to make this event special.

New chairman

Whalsay Community Council has a new chairman, David Hughson who was formerly vice-chairman. Mr Hughson has been acting chairman for some time following the resignation of Gilbert Hutchison earlier this year.

Following a discussion at a meeting of the community council it was decided on a “nomination and seconded” format. John Anderson nominated David Hughson for the post and Michael Simpson seconded. Mr Hughson accepted.

Mr Anderson nominated Donna Polson for the role of vice-chairwoman and Ruby Whelan seconded. Mrs Polson accepted and Mr Hughson continued the meeting as chairman.

Yell senior citizens

Hard as it is to believe, the Christmas dinner season is almost here.

The Yell Senior Citizens are having their Christmas dinner on 8th December. As usual it is in the Mid Yell School and the time is 3pm.

To book a place please phone (01957) 722289 before 1st December and leave a message with your name, number of folk and if transport is needed.

Skerries news

Skerries Womens Guild met recently and were entertained by Linda Davis.

Mrs Davis and her husband Peter, while working for VSO in Ghana, had a holiday in Mali and visited Timbuktu. Their slideshow was excellent and everyone enjoyed it.

Meanwhile the carpet bowling season has started and Guy Fawkes night was celebrated with a bonfire followed by fish and chips in the hall. Tomorrow night bar suppers will be served in the hall.

Access to opticians

The Fernlea Care Centre has approached Whalsay Community Council expressing concern over the lack of eye examinations available for service users of Fernlea. It appears that local opticians cannot fit isles visits into their schedule.

Community council members felt that this was not only an issue for the care centre but affected other Whalsay residents and it is, indeed, a Shetland-wide issue for folk who are unable to travel to Lerwick for an eye examination.

Members felt that eye care was as important as other services provided by NHS Shetland, such as chiropody. Therefore members felt that Fernlea should approach NHS Shetland via the local health centre to seek information on provision being supplied from NHS Shetland and report back to the community council with findings.

North Isles optimism

Folk in the North Isles have a number reasons to look forward to the New Year of 2010.

In Yell work on the new school has started after a considerable juggling of figures. It was seemingly difficult if not impossible to fit a viable building into the proposed budget.

Our representatives are to be congratulated on achieving a solution that will give the island a school fit for purpose.

Meanwhile the prospect of a new care centre for Yell seems good too. Isleshaven has been much valued by the community – before Nordalea Care Centre was built in Baltasound it was the only care centre in the North Isles.

However, it is the oldest of all the care centres in Shetland and it can no longer do the job. Nor can it be altered or updated to meet a different set of demands. Locally it is hoped that the existing junior high school in Mid Yell, soon to be replaced by the new school, can be converted to be a modern care centre.

The structure of this building is sound and has many years of life left in it but it was simply too small and around 15 per cent of the classrooms are temporary and without toilets.

No decision has been taken as to where the new care centre is to be located but to convert the old school will render a saving of around £1 million as opposed to building on a green field site.

Hopes are high that, at last, Fetlar will have its breakwater. All being well a contractor will be appointed soon and work should begin in spring.

A breakwater has long been seen as a must if Fetlar is to reverse the population decline that has plagued the island for many decades.

Bigga problem

The Bluemull Sound ferry Bigga had to be taken out of service for most of the day last Monday, after the crew reported a problem with the pitch control on the propellers.

Engineers replaced a control cable and did tests on the gearbox as a precautionary measure. The vessel was back in service in the evening but the engineers monitored her performance on Tuesday.

Craft fair

Crafts folk from the North Isles were well represented at the craft fair in Clickimin last weekend and, by and large, had a successful time.

From Unst Cheryl Jamieson was there with Glansin’ Glass, Jane Macaulay with her flower photography and Bus Shelter fudge, Ruth Grainger Photography, Caroline Nelson of Elements Eternal with beautiful jewellery and silver articles and Frances Wilson with her pottery.

Jeanette Nowak from Yell had her paintings, her woven baskets and her “lem” jewellery, while Rae and Peter Thompson came with jewellery, silk flowers and woodwork.

Westsandwick Christmas fayre

The Westsandwick Christmas Fayre takes place this Sunday between 2.30pm and 4.30pm.

There will be numerous stalls including the Body Shop, Brae Building Centre, Usbourne Books, calendars, photographs, pickles, knitwear and candles.

As well as all that there will be a tombola, raffle, teas and home bakes, mulled wine and live music.

Mirrie Dancers

The dunes behind the Westsandwick beach is one of the latest places to be illuminated as part of the festival of light arts project called Mirrie Dancers.

At all the sites, to date, folk have enjoyed watching the lights go through the programme of changes and they have seen familiar landmarks in, not to make a terrible pun, a different light.

Lawrence Tulloch


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