Views from the Scord

TV history

The Burra History Group is having a novel Who do you think you are? social evening in homage to the popular TV show of the same name, during which they are inviting people who are interested in researching more about their family history to come along the Easthouse centre where they will find a warm welcome and some expert guidance on “reddin kin”.

Laurina Herculson is described as the group’s resident genealogist, and she will be joined by Catherine Emslie, their resident “computer buff”, and Sylvia Jamieson, their “resident, world-renowned brönnie baker” along with many other knowledgeable locals to help build a picture of family’s trees, past and present. The idea is for this flow of information to run both ways, so the invitation is extended to both those seeking information and those who already know their origins or those of others and are happy to share that knowledge. Similarly, the group is keen to exchange information about the past residents of the older houses in the area.

At the same time the group will be seeking and offering information on the Burra place names map, which will be on display for the evening, as well as the centre’s unique collection of historical photos of the cultural, social and industrial heritage of Burra and the surrounding area. The centre at Easthouse will be open from 7.30pm until late next Friday evening and all visitors will be made welcome.

Festive carols

The Burra and Tingwall Church Choir are to present their annual evening of carols in the Weisdale Kirk next Friday. The event is open to all-comers and there will be teas served for refreshment. The choir is made up of members from all of the kirks that make up the parish of Tingwall, which includes Scalloway, Tingwall and Weisdale, along with those of the Parish of Burra. The evening has, in the past, been held on the first Sunday in Advent, but has been changed this year to a Friday night and the organisers hope that the change of day can be passed on to as many folk as possible for a good attendance on the evening.

Harbour activity

A very quiet week in the port of Scalloway. The pattern of peaks and troughs caused by the current fisheries management regime are responsible for a very low week for fish landings after the very high totals of the previous week. Only 605 boxes were landed to the Scalloway market in the week to Friday from four boats.

The Our Pride, Fertile, Valhalla and Radiant Star contributed to this total, with the highest single landing of 120 boxes coming from the Scarborough registered Our Pride, which is still in the area. Landings for Monday alone this week are said to be higher than last week’s entire total.

The Foula relief ferry Ali-Cat was back in the water this week after being on the pier for more than two months for an engine refit and the Yell based trawler Guardian Angell made for sea again after completion of repairs that have kept her at the quayside for a fortnight.

The Ronja Settler was the only non-fishing related vessel using the harbour throughout last week as she continues to harvest fish for the factory at Blacksness.

Filskit Paddy

A certain blue-eyed Irish Gypsy has been winning over the hearts of the Filskit Riding Club in recent weeks, with the arrival of the latest pony, Paddy. The Gypsy Cob is of genuine Romany Gypsy origin, reared in southern Ireland and brought all the way to Shetland for his exceptionally peaceable nature, as an ideal pony for the club to help in teaching youngsters how to ride and care for ponies.

He was spotted in County Leitrim by a friend of the club, Davy Cameron, who lives in Ireland and works in the horse and pony trade, and he was immediately struck by how suitable Paddy would be for a riding school such as the Trondra-based club.

In order to bring him to Shetland he had to gain the required pony passport, essential for trade or transport but not something his owners had ever worried about. From a vet’s inspection for the issue of his passport it is estimated he is only about two years old, and yet he has already been broken for riding and is exceptionally placid around people.

It is not uncommon for Gypsy breeders to rear ponies indoors, literally in the home, and it is speculated that this may be the origin of his wonderful nature. He also has an admirable build to accompany his temperament – he’s sturdy and strong, currently over 13 hands but expected to grow to 14 or perhaps 15 hands. His blue eyes are quite an unusual feature as ponies often have one blue eye but seldom have both blue. He has a piebald (black and white) coat with a mane that is currently cropped but will grow to be long and flowing,as will his tail and feathers. According to club committee member Marcia Scobie: “He’s so lovely, perfect for the riding club, so nice natured and quiet. He’ll be really popular and is really ideal for nervous beginners.”

The Gypsy, or Romany, Cob as a breed was refined over centuries in the UK and Ireland to be a versatile, strong and hardy, yet good-natured horse ideal for pulling a wagon and although split into four sub-categories, can be generally compared to a smaller Shire or Clydesdale horse.

Paddy joins Winnie and Nancy as the third pony now owned by the highly popular riding club, which boasts over 50 members, and his arrival comes on the back of further good news for the club with the awarding of a grant toward their activities from the Scalloway Community Council and then the further announcement that it is to be one of three benefactors for this year’s Stars In Their Eyes charity show.

Mark Burgess


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