Isles Views

Unst Partnership

Unst Partnership held an important public meeting last Thursday. The aim was, firstly, to present the proposed next stage of the project to the community and to find out their thoughts, and secondly to resume the annual general meeting and elect a new board of directors.

The partnership had 12 applicants for directorships which showed a high level of interest from the community – in the last few weeks membership of the partnership has more than doubled. An election was necessary and now there are seven new and three longstanding directors to lead the project forward.

The new board is Gordon Thomson (chairmam), Maggi Reyner, Anna Niven, Paul Thomson, Ruth Grainger, Kelda Hudson (treasurer), Jane Macaulay, Rory Tallack, Liam O’Neill (membership secretary) and Karen Smith (company secretary). A vice-chairman will be appointed at the next meeting.

The next stage of the project will be for the ever expanding working groups of the partnership to carry on looking at food and drink, renewable energy, arts and crafts and tourism with a view to refining the priorities for a new community interest company (CIC).

This CIC will be established to deliver projects, offer support to existing and new businesses, and develop an Unst brand, all for community benefit. This next stage of developing the project is expected to take around nine months.

On Song in Yell

Although classical music is not the dominant trend of music in Yell there are, surprisingly, a number of classically-trained musicians and listeners in the isle.

The Fancytunes ensemble is a co-operative or, jokingly, “rehabilitation” for classical musicians to meet and play music together.

For the last three years they have put on five formal concerts, all for charity, and taken part in various engagements such as playing for wedding and church services.

The last concert for this year, entitled “On Song”, will take place tomorrow in the auditorium of the Shetland Museum at 1pm. As usual admission is free but donations are welcome and they will go to the Alzheimer Research Trust and Parkinson’s Disease Society.

The instrumentalists include Peter Coates (cello), Meilo So (piano), Alison Dobson (trumpet), while the vocalists are Janice Armstrong, Peter Blanker, Ronnie Martin and two youngsters from the Cullivoe School, Leanne Spence and Ming Sandford.

Ms So says that, for the programme, they have chosen a particularly warm and soothing set of pieces that will keep the chilly winter at bay even if it is only for one hour.

Singing tutors project

Global Yell Ltd has had a good response to the singing tutors project and the competition is now closed.

The project is to send four people away from Shetland for training to develop and deliver singing work for young people and communities across the isles.

It is funded by Scottish Arts Youth Music Initiative (informal sector) and Global Yell through its own funds, with contributions from LEADER, SIC economic development and HIE and assistance from Shetland Arts as part of skills development for singing and training in the islands.

The project will begin in December with an informal interview and workshop to speak about what people want to get out of the project and to develop some ideas for future work. The team will then go away for specialist training and return to Shetland to deliver two more workshops that will be mentored by people who teach singing or have experience in singing provision.

After the training is completed the four tutors will be able to deliver their own workshops and events supporting young people and community events in their own areas to complement the considerable talent that already exists in the isles.

Andy Ross of Global Yell said they were very excited by the project and thought it would increase the number of young singers in the isles. For more information e-mail or phone (01957) 744355.

Geese on the move

Andy Gear from Gutcher is a man who is more than a little interested in wildlife, especially birds, and the environment in general.

One of the things that he does on a monthly basis is a beached bird survey. He monitors the number of dead birds washed up on numerous beaches in North Yell. This means that he is well placed to observe any changes in the bird population. One change that is obvious to him, as well as everyone else, is the big increase in the numbers of greylag geese.

Not so long ago a greylag goose was a rare sight but now they seem to be everywhere. Andy says he has made a count in the east and north of Yell. Without leaving the road, and without having to leave his car, he counted 558 greylags.

A totally different kind of geese came to Andy’s notice last Sunday morning when he got a phone call to tell him a flock had landed near the head of Cullivoe. They were in the area between Gronadjeld and Levie Cottage and Andy had no difficulty in identifying them as domestic or farmyard geese.

At the time of writing it is not at all clear where they come have from but Andy suspects that perhaps their usual home is not too far away. He further suspects that the geese are aware that Christmas is imminent and they are making a desperate bid to avoid the tinfoil and the roasting tray.

Pudsey’s Cafe

Trish, Malcolm and Ellie Jamieson of Shirva, Uyeasound, set up a Pudsey’s Cafe in the waiting room of the Belmont ferry terminal in Unst to raise money for Children in Need.

The Jamiesons directly approached the SIC ferry services at Sellaness and not only did they readily agree to the use of the waiting room but made the electronic information board a shop front for the cafe for the day.

The Uyeasound hall provided a water boiler and the cafe did a steady trade all day, with folk coming from as far as Baltasound for a cuppa and to support the cause. They were open all day from 8am until 4pm and served hot drinks and home bakes to the travelling public. Trish says they raised the fantastic total of £286.62 and she would like to say a sincere thanks to everyone for their generosity.

North Isles youth clubs

Burravoe, Mid Yell, Fetlar and Unst Youth Centre will be doing a Christmas delivery this year.

Post boxes will be in local shops from Tuesday and users of the service are asked to make sure that names and addresses are clearly marked on the cards.

The post boxes will be collected from the local shops on 12th December and all funds raised will go to the youth clubs. Yell Youth Cafe is holding a restaurant night on Friday 4th December in the Mid Yell hall. To make a booking contact Jill Thomson on (01957) 702136 before Sunday.

Pink Friday

Tetley & Anderson’s shop in Whalsay had two Pink Fridays to raise money for breast cancer. Iris Anderson says that the splendid sum of almost £800 was gathered.

Skerries shoeboxes

As always, in Skerries, folk made a fine contribution to the annual Shoebox Appeal. In all 18 shoeboxes will be sent from Skerries.

Farmers’ market

There will be a farmers’ market in Baltasound Hall on Sunday afternoon between 2pm and 4pm. This is the last market of the year and orders for Christmas can be taken.

This month’s teas and refreshments will be provided by the youth club. To book a table for produce phone Anna Niven on (01957) 755245, or to book a table for crafts phone Sarah McBirnie on (01957) 711367.

Sorry Mr Walker

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a short piece entitled “The Bird Man of Hascosay”.

Hascosay is an uninhabited isle and I stated that it was empty of people because the infamous John Walker had evicted the folk to make way for sheep.

It seems I did him an injustice. Many as Walker’s sins were, he had nothing to do with fact that the folk left Hascosay.

Wendy Gear researched the life and career of Walker very thoroughly and wrote a very interesting book about him. She points out that Walker worked for the Garth estate and they never owned Hascosay. Besides when the folk left Hascosay John Walker would have still been a schoolboy.

Lawrence Tulloch


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