Views from the Scord

Harbour movements

Scalloway harbour was a bustling hive of activity in the week to Friday, largely due to the prevailing south-easterly gales which brought in large numbers of local and visiting fishing boats. Landings very much reflected this with a total of 3,072 boxes sold through the Scalloway market.

The week started well with two boats landing 699 boxes between them, while Tuesday brought 801 boxes from five boats. Wednesday had no landings at all, which is perhaps all that prevented landings in the week reaching record levels. Thursday saw six boats landing and on Friday eight boats landed a total of 1,072 boxes.

Fishing boats using the port were the Guardian Angell, Venturous, Mizpah, Valhalla, Venture, Atlantia II, Comrades, Radiant Star, Sharyn Louise, Acorn, Caspian, Faithful and Moray Endeavour.

The Scarborough-registered Our Pride was in twice over the weekend for shelter and repairs.

The NLV Pharos remained in port until Friday before departing. She had arrived toward the end of the previous week, using Scalloway as a base to send supplies to many of the remote automated lighthouses around the coast of Shetland by helicopter.

The Ronja Settler continues to operate from Scalloway Harbour, fetching salmon for the factory at Blacksness.

Community council

The prospect of Scalloway gaining new Christmas lights mounted to lamp posts on the Main Street was a festive item among a very full and varied agenda for the November meeting of the Scalloway Community Council.

These “fan type” lights would be provided by the SIC and fitted to lamp posts along the waterfront and it is hoped that this can be achieved for this festive season.

Another item of a festive nature was the return of the annual competition for the best Christmas window display. With a Main Street revitalised by the addition of a nursery premises and new fish shop it was decided that there were now certainly enough businesses within and around the village to warrant community encouragement for their Christmas window dressing to help brighten the winter darkness.

The winner will be decided by a poll of all community council members on the evening of 21st December, when the community councillors meet to distribute the hampers they provide as a seasonal treat for the over-80s each year.

As a part of this the community council is appealing for information on anyone in Scalloway who has turned 80 this year, or will be before March next year, as they are now eligible for a hamper. Contact the clerk on (01595) 880429.

Among the more serious items discussed, road safety issues were given all due gravity and various local aspects on the subject were raised.

The safe pedestrian usage of the Mill Brae has become a high priority over the past year with increased numbers of parents and children walking to the village or school along the route from the new houses at Endavoe.

The pavement alongside this main arterial route into Scalloway is known to be unacceptably narrow and the constant flow of private and commercial traffic, particularly during the morning rush hour, generates ever increasing concern to road users and parents alike.

The practicalities of snow clearing also create a situation whereby the pavement will often be entirely covered by snow displaced from the road by ploughs with even a moderate fall of snow. Solutions to these problems have been difficult to find with the community council, school parent council and the SIC all seeking an answer.

The prospect of widening the road and pavement is among these but is viewed as an expensive and probably longer-term solution. More radical solutions include simple suggestions such as the parapet being replaced by railings to at least allow snow to be dispersed, a footbridge across the head of the voe leading to a pathway outside of the existing wall or even the resurrection of a previous idea that a road be built along the waters edge to Blacksness, offering two routes into the village and one which would be much more practical for commercial traffic.

New West Side community policeman Andrew Card was at the meeting and expressed his concern at the current situation, raising the sombre fact that if a serious accident were to occur the only route into the village would be potentially blocked or closed.

Another subject PC Card had been active on was the low wall alongside the road at Moore’s slipway which was originally brought to the attention of the community council earlier this year. As a result it is being dealt with directly between the police officer, the SIC and the landowner as a road safety matter and a barrier solution is said to be likely once ownership has been confirmed.

With a review of SIC road safety and maintenance measures also being discussed, the community council is keen to make the public aware that if they know of any roads that require attention they should contact a member or the clerk.

Filskit Riding Club was awarded a grant of £500 towards its ever-growing riding school and equipment.

The club is planning to take eight of its members to an Easter camp and riding school in Orkney early next year to advance their skills. It is also hoping to buy jumps for some of their older members who have reached that level and also to create a riding arena at their Trondra base.

Davie Sandison gave the council a full account of how the Tall Ships Race 2011 could benefit Scalloway. The subject of lighting for the Scalloway Castle was dropped from the agenda due to the potential expense and various other longer-standing issues were discussed before the meeting was closed, late in the evening.

New head teacher

Scalloway Junior High School is under new management this morning with the new head teacher taking up their post in running a school for the very first time.

This change in management was advertised in-house only and the successful applicant chosen by a raffle system. This was, of course, a stunt for Children In Need, whereby head teacher Joyce Gear offered up her post to a primary school pupil for an hour this morning.

The offer has generated huge interest from the pupils and prospective candidates have touted such improvements to the running of the school as “football for boys, S4 maths for girls”, extended break times and cups of tea in the office for their friends.

This valiant offer by Mrs Gear is one of a large range of activities laid on by the school in aid of the popular charity and the outcome will be revealed next week.

Fast jets

Scalloway was literally buzzed on Tuesday this week by a trio of RAF Tornados from the airbase at Lossiemouth.

The high-speed flypast at very low level caused much excitement and some upset to local residents, with one of the jets seen to perform aerobatic manoeuvres while in the area.

All three were clearly visible as they passed and the height of one or more of the jets was clearly well below the level of the east hills, making its altitude less than 400 feet.

Reports of the jets immediately came in to the local police office, with one elderly resident sufficiently distressed to have dropped a teapot as the jets passed directly over her house.

Police enquiries into the fly past revealed that the RAF had notified Air Traffic Control at Sumburgh Airport that it would be performing low flying exercises between 2.15pm and 3.15pm that afternoon, but had stated they would be no further north than Fair Isle.

Fast jets from Lossiemouth make fairly infrequent visits to Shetland, sometimes using Saxa Vord as a way-point during exercises, but it is deemed unusual for them to fly this close to a settlement at such low altitude and high speed.

Stars in Their Eyes

Tickets for this year’s annual Stars in their Eyes extravaganza go on sale at the Scalloway Post Office today. The highly popular event in Scalloway Public Hall is to be run over two nights this year, on 4th and 5th December.

The event features local amateur performers mimicking well-known music artists in both sound and appearance in an homage to the long running prime-time TV show of similar name. All funds go to local causes and this year’s recipients have now been announced.

Scalloway Youth Centre is to receive a part of the fund toward its planned outdoor play area and seating. The centre is used by the local mother and toddlers group and the playgroup as well as offering a place to gather for local youths and because of the combined usage the whole range of bairns from toddler to late teens will benefit from the improved outdoor area.

Another cause to benefit is a plan to donate and place two public bench seats in the East Voe area. This is to be orchestrated by the community council and will enhance the area for recreation.

The third worthy cause is the Filskit Riding Club which teaches children and teens how to ride and look after ponies at its Trondra base.

The club currently has a membership of over 50 dedicated horse and pony enthusiasts with almost half as many again on the waiting list to join. It would use the money to improve the training it can offer to members with a view to increasing membership.

Internet safety night

The Scalloway school parent council held an “internet safety” awareness night for local parents on Tuesday. Though not fully attended, the night provided a direct account of some of the dangers children may face through unrestricted internet use, including a hard-hitting public information film on the subject.

The presentation was given by teacher Eric Muir and was largely based on materials produced by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection organisation which seeks to prevent child abuse via the internet by providing information to parents and organisations.

The evening included more general information about internet usage and some other valuable web links to online resources.

Tingwall variety

Tomorrow evening the Scalloway Gala committee will be holding a variety night in the Tingwall Public Hall. There will be a range of local artists on the programme, including music from groups Brak Da Brod, the Callum Nicolson Trio, members of the Lerwick Pipe Band, the Aestaewast drumming group and Sheerlin; solo performances from Heather Isbister, Natalie Jamieson and Cheryl Goodlad; and comedy from Tamar and Osla.

Brian Nicholson and Maggie Adamson may also play, pending confirmation, and the evening will be compèred by Bryan McCaffrey.

The proceeds will go towards next year’s 21st anniversary gala, which will also be a trial run of a slightly date-adjusted and broader gala to cater for the possibility of a Tall Ships visit the following year.

Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm start and a supper of soup and sandwiches will be on offer along with a raffle. Tickets cost £5 for adults and £3 for children and are available on the door.

Mark Burgess


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