South Mainland Notebook

Survey results

Several months ago Shetland Amenity Trust’s carbon reduction officer and the Energy Saving Scotland advice centre undertook a home energy saving initiative in South Mainland. A total of 150 householders have now received personalised home energy reports, outlining energy and cost-saving measures that they can take.

One of the headline findings from the survey was that less than 15 per cent of the householders who responded had loft insulation of the recommended minimum 270 millimetres. With a quarter of a property’s heat lost through the roof, that is an area where action can certainly be taken. There is grant funding available for loft insulation, and referrals to a local installer can be made by Energy Saving Scotland.

Another six per cent of houses did not have their hot water tanks insulated. Simply fitting a British Standard jacket to a tank can reduce its heat loss by 75 per cent. This only costs about £12, but can save up to £40 per year. It also means an annual saving of 190 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

“We were pleased with the response rate from the campaign,” said Steven Coutts of Energy Saving Scotland, “but we encourage anybody who has not taken up their recommended measures, or who missed out on the original survey and community events, to get in touch with us.”

“The home energy surveys are helpful because they give personalised advice on the best way to save energy and carbon in your own home,” said Harriet Bolt, carbon reduction officer at SAT. “The high uptake shows that people are trying to make their homes more energy efficient.”

Free advice is still available from Energy Saving Scotland on 0800 512012, or from Carbon Reduction Shetland on 01595 694688. You can also email Harriet at

Fit pupils

“I have been doing health and fitness work with my pupils at Dunrossness, Sandwick and Cunningsburgh lately,” says PE teacher Joan Smith. “And I also wanted them to try something at home which was simple, inexpensive and not time-consuming.”

As a result, Joan decided to set the youngsters homework for a week. According to which class they were in, pupils were given a list of exercises to choose from. These included running on the spot, skipping, hopping, star jumps and press-ups.

They were told to select a different exercise for each day and to do it for one minute, making a note of how many times they managed to repeat it in that time. They could also do any simple and safe exercise they could think of.

“As we have been preparing to do circuit training at school the pupils are now familiar with the safety points of each exercise,” says Joan. “The homework sheet also encourages parents and siblings to join in too, and record their scores or just tick that they took part.

“I am delighted with the sheets that I have had returned to me. One boy walked a mile one Friday and two miles a couple of days later. In between he did five other exercises. A family consisting of a mum, dad and four children have all taken part every day, and a granny has even joined in too.

“I am trying to encourage pupils to exercise at any time of the day on a daily basis, even if it is just for a little. It can be at home, in the playground, walking with the dog, or to school or the shops. All of it is good. Ideally twenty minutes would be better exercise, but they can start enjoying doing a small amount at first, then increase it later.”

Marriage course

“What we are doing is giving couples a tool box of things to help strengthen their relationship,” says Dave Ferns who, with his wife Julia and Jill and Marc Beswick, is currently running a marriage course in Sandwick.

“We’ve all four of us done the course ourselves and one of the things it does is provide you with the knowledge of the areas of a relationship you should check up on. It also reminds you not to stop doing the things you enjoyed when you were first together.

“Different people get different things out of the course, but it can be of use to you whether you’ve been married for three years or for 30.

“The key to a happy relationship – to all relationships, really – is communication. People change over the years, their likes and dislikes can alter, and that isn’t always something a partner is aware of. It’s important to know where each of you is coming from, so that those changes don’t make rifts. Couples who have been on the course say they have found out things about each other that they never knew.

“Another crucial factor is to make time to spend together. Everybody is so busy nowadays that it is easy to stop talking, especially when you have children.

“It’s a good idea to try and have an evening alone every so often. It doesn’t need to be expensive. You can get a relative to look after the children and just stay in and have a meal and watch a DVD. A relationship needs building. It should be based around friendship as well as love.

“The course runs for seven weeks and sessions last around two hours. They start with a meal, then folk socialise. After that there is time for couples to talk privately. There are those who say it has saved their marriages.”
For further information call Dave and Julia on (01950) 477850 or Jill and Marc on (01950) 431622.

More tickets for Up-Helly-A’

Tickets for all four venues taking part in the South Mainland Up-Helly-A’ on March 12th sold out so quickly that the organisers are now including another one in that night’s celebrations.

Tickets to spend the evening in Cunningsburgh Hall will go on sale at the hall on Wednesday at 8pm. They will be sold on a first come, first served basis, and must be paid for at the time in cash only. Prices are £10, £8 concessions. Please note that under-16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult. All halls will be issuing proof-of-age wristbands.

Anybody who has already bought tickets for another venue, and who is willing to help out at Cunningsburgh Hall on the night, might be able to swap their tickets and spend the evening there. Please call Robert Halcrow on (01950) 477271 as soon as possible for details.

Guizer Jarl David Smith is delighted that the tickets for the first South Mainland Up-Helly-A’ are proving so very popular. “I hope everyone has a thoroughly splendid night,” he said.

“The torches are there, and at present we are continuing to paint the galley. Its head and tail will soon be fitted. We are also going to be painting shields at Dunrossness Primary School. Some small but essential jobs still need to be done, but we’ll be ready.

“As aye, my thanks to everybody who has had any kind of input.”

Bookstart Rhymetime

All parents and carers with babies and toddlers are welcome to go along to the free Bookstart Rhymetime session at Dunrossness Primary School on Friday February 19th. The slight change to the day on which it is taking place is a result of parental feedback. The intention is that it will allow those who work part-time to attend.

The session starts at 10am and lasts for approximately half an hour. It combines an introduction to books with rhymes, singing and play. Juice and biscuits are available for the children at the end.

The organisers look forward to seeing lots of old faces, and hopefully some new ones. For further information contact Emma Graydon on (01595) 745440.


Folk who watched the South Mainland team compete on the BBC quiz programme <i>Eggheads</i> last week will know what a very close contest it was. Congratulations boys on a fine showing. You did us proud!

Cathy Feeny


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