Isles Views

Brucehall opens

Four of the sheltered houses at Brucehall Terrace in Uyeasound, Unst, have been adapted and refurbished as self-contained one-bedroom houses of the highest standard in modern accessible living for individuals or couples. They have level access showers, modern kitchens and storage space, and all are wheelchair friendly.

The homes will provide 24-hour care and social support for tenants, provide and maintain social life within and outside the scheme and integrate tenants into the community. Activities will also be provided to cater for a wide range of interests.

There is a partnership between the council’s housing department, represented by George Martin, and social care, represented by Graham Stiles. The weekly charge for a one-bedroom property is £99.20 but benefits may be available and staff will help with forms.

The care workers are Kathleen Johnson (co-ordinator), Donna Johnson, Martha Clark, Claire Wilder, Karen Parkin and Sylvia Priest.

Last Friday was the opening day and a large crowd gathered to see councillor Cecil Smith, the community care spokesman, cut the ribbon and hear him speak about the project. Among the crowd were the pupils from the Uyeasound Primary School and the direct labour workers who, by common consent, have done a fantastic job in the conversion.

People were shown around numbers two and three, soup and bannocks were served and the crowd were entertained by local musicians.

SIC social care manager Wolfgang Weiss said: “This is an exciting new model of social care where tenants are offered the same level of care as residents of care centres but maintain the independence of living in their own fully adapted home.

“They are still independent members of the community in Uyeasound but supported by a care team 24 hours a day and have access to an integrated service team. This gives people another choice, a choice that will hopefully be on offer in other areas of Shetland in the future.”

Hillend bypass

The bypass at Hillend in Mid Yell, intended to eliminate the problems of the narrow, blind and curved piece of road going past the old school, is all but finished.

The new road is double width and, going into Mid Yell from the north, starts near the top of the Ness of Gardie and rejoins the main road below the Hilltop Bar and above the Gardie junction.

The new road has not been met with universal approval. Large vehicles like articulated lorries find difficulty in turning in, or out, of the new junction. Some see it as achieving no more than the shifting of the bottleneck. Victor Jamieson of the local plant hire firm said that while he did not own any articulated lorries he well understood the problem.

It is that the new road joins to the old single-track road and it is impossible to make the manoeuvre without going on to the wrong side of the road. As Mr Jamieson sees it the only answer is to widen the single-track road to at least as far down as the social club. This, he says, would solve the problem and would cost no more than a modest sum of money.

The road is a busy one with around 14 articulated lorries and 10 buses using it every day and, of course, if they meet at this junction then, again, this is a difficulty The matter has been taken up by local councillors. Robert Henderson has raised the question with SIC head of roads Ian Halcrow and Laura Baisley raised it at a meeting of the infrastructure committee.

Mr Henderson criticised the design of the new road, describing it as “a mess”, and called for a plan and money to fix it.

Roads network manager David Macnae was robust in his defence of the new road and its design, however.

He said: “The road junction has been designed with the standard widths and kerb radii for such road layouts, where a two lane road enters a single track one.

“It has to be big enough to allow large vehicles through, but not so big as to allow car drivers to turn so quickly that they cause confusion or danger for other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

“The manoeuvre of a large vehicle turning from the bypass towards the lower part of the village and vice-versa has been checked on the computer aided design programmes, and on site. George Leask spoke to the local manager and a driver from the haulage company that has a contract transporting goods to the fish factory in Mid Yell.

“Most days they have two articulated lorries going to and from the Mid Yell factory. Space in the junction is fairly tight for an articulated lorry which results in them having to cross the white line and go on the ‘wrong side’ of the road at the junction but this is not uncommon for large vehicles at many junctions in Shetland.

“This haulier has been carrying out this manoeuvre for weeks now in Mid Yell and doesn’t report any problems in doing so. Another haulier’s vehicles were observed using the junction and they appeared to have no problems either.

“A large vehicle turning from the bypass towards the upper part of the village, and vice-versa, has less room to manoeuvre and we are investigating whether we need to change the inner kerb line slightly. We believe that this is a manoeuvre that is done very rarely by an articulated vehicle, but if it proves necessary to ease the junction slightly it could be done almost immediately by moving a few kerbs.

“Visibility throughout the junction and its approach roads is very good, and in the design of the bypass, there was a balance to be struck between convenience for the drivers of large vehicles and the safety of all road users.”

SWRI goes to Isleshavn

Members of the Burravoe SWRI visited Isleshavn Care Centre on Tuesday 17th November to entertain the residents.

At present two members of the Burravoe institute, Helen Jamieson and Maggie Hughson, are staying there and are not able to take in the regular meetings. The members decided to do a short programme for them and any other interested residents, especially since Helen had just celebrated her 102nd birthday.

The programme involved poetry, readings, a competition and a wee dram of home made whisky cream liqueur and everyone, especially the visitors, seemed to enjoy the evening which culminated with a welcome cup of tea and home bakes – just like the rural.

Ffancy Tunes – On Song

The gathering of musicians and singers called Ffancy Tunes is based in Yell and perform occasionally in public. The latest concert attracted a large audience; the auditorium of the Shetland Museum was at least three-quarters full.

Meilo So of the group wanted someone young and knowledgeable to review the show so she asked French girl Alexa Fitzgibbon to do the job.

Alexa, with typical modesty and generosity, asked me if I would like to include her review in my column, so here it is: “On Saturday 28th November the Ffancy Tunes Ensemble music group of Yell, performed their On Song show in the Shetland Museum in Lerwick. The eight musicians and singers carried their audience throughout a travel in classical music and folksongs.

“Starting with a touch of softness and melancholy, the piano, the trumpet and Peter Coates’ cello gradually initiated a journey of music, punctuated by the voices of Janice Armstrong, Peter Blanker, Ronnie Martin, Meilo So, Ming Sandford, Leanne Spence and Alison Martin.

“Each musical piece echoed in Ron Sandford’s drawings, creating different atmospheres from spring blooming, to aerial stars, wintry paths, dark hills and a map of our ‘Wonderful World’, bringing the spectator through an intimate journey crystallised in both music and pictures.”

Christmas quiz

The Ulsta Hall Christmas quiz is on Sunday and the big raffle will be drawn that night too, with a new, special prize to be won.

The theme of the quiz is, predictability, Christmas and a whole year has gone past since the team, “Identity Crisis”, had that amazing 100 per cent score.

Old Haa meeting

The annual general meeting of the Old Haa will be held in the building on Wednesday. Although the Old Haa has an annual meeting it is only every five years that trustees are re-elected or appointed. This is such a year and there are some vacancies so a good turnout from members of the public is important.

The Old Haa is an important and popular visitor attraction and contains a big slice of Yell’s history and artefacts as well as the wonderful Bobby Tulloch collection of photographs.

Even someone with no interest in history or photos always finds the Old Haa a good place to be, a cup of tea with one of Nita’s delicious home bakes is, in itself, well worth the visit.

Lawrence Tulloch


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