Views from the Scord

Harbour activity

The survey vessel Triad is making regular trips through the harbour as she continues her survey operations in the harbour approaches and the surrounding area. Although unconfirmed, her survey of the area around Scalloway is believed to be on charter to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the small but manoeuvrable converted ferry is an ideal platform for survey work in the open water, isles and skerries. The Triad is registered in Gothenburg, operating under the Swedish flag.

Salmon cage construction continues in the Muckle Yard for Scottish Sea Farms. The existing cages have been towed into port by company workboats and subsequently disassembled on the quay. They are now being re-constructed at an optimised size with various improvements. Four cages were re-launched after completion in the week to Friday.

Mussel landings in during the week totalled approximately 26 tons from two producers and the well-boat Ronja Settler continues to operate for the salmon factory at Blacksness.

The fish market played host to exceptionally high landings in the week to Friday with a total of 3,356 boxes landed. Fishing vessels Defiant, Devotion, Guardian Angell, Valhalla, Venturous, Keila, Prevail, Quiet Waters, Radiant Star, Sharyn Louise, Comrades, Guiding Light, Mizpah, Ocean Way and Venture contributed toward this total and it is worthy of note that there were no landings on Wednesday. The highest single landing came from the Orcadian boat Keila with 468 boxes on Tuesday, although the markets on Monday and Friday were the busiest of the week with around 1,000 and 1,200 boxes landed on those days respectively.

Edgar Hodges

The Shetland Bus Friendship Society was recently honoured with the donation of a painting by Edgar Hodges. The painting features one of the Shetland Bus vessels, the M/K Arthur, battling stormy seas and is a graphically beautiful and authentic representation of the tiny fishing boats braving the worst of sea conditions for the relief and resistance effort around which the Shetland Bus was based.

Mr Hodges is a highly talented artist and has many splendid recent paintings to his credit. He can also be described as nothing less than a national treasure for his work illustrating the faces and places of the Thomas the Tank Engine annuals published in 1979 and 1980, known and loved by a generation of readers.

Not only was he responsible for these iconic images, he also illustrated many of the ubiquitous annuals that were the foundation of an interest in literature for millions, many of which were based on TV series of the time. These include Dad’s Army, The Wombles, Tarzan, Postman Pat, Doctor Who, Star Trek and so many more well known series that they defy listing all together and read like a compilation of some of the best known TV series of the late 70s, 80s and early 90s.

Mr Hodges took an interest in the operations of the Shetland Bus after seeing a memorial statue while in Ålesund commemorating the activities of the Bus while he was following the Tall Ships to Trondheim. This led to further research of his own, assisted with information and historical photographs from people in Shetland to recreate and authentic likeness of the M/K Arthur. A lot of this was done through the Ships Nostalgia website and with the help of a Shetland contributor, Jim Pottinger, and then through getting in touch with Cathie Hallet of SBFS. More of Mr Hodge’s maritime artwork can be seen on the Ships Nostalgia site and has recently been painting a series of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships that visit the Cammel Laird shipyard near where he lives.

He has, with exceptional generosity, donated the beautiful artwork to SBFS to do whatever members feel appropriate and it is envisaged that it will take pride of place in the new museum building in Scalloway upon its completion. Mr Hodges is hoping to visit Shetland in the near future to see Scalloway and meet with the member of SBFS, at which time an official hand-over of the painting will be held if possible.

School bears

The primary two class of Scalloway Junior High School has entered into an innovative exchange program with a school in Glasgow this week that has captured the imagination of pupils right from the outset. The exchange revolves around two toy bears, one from Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow and the other from Scalloway, who will go “on holiday” to their counterpart schools and spend several weeks with their new friends away from home. During this time each bear will be taken home, along with a digital camera, each day by a different pupil from the class, and the following morning an email record of where they have been, with related photographs, will be sent back to their home schools.

The Scalloway bear has been named Magnus by the pupils and was made to order by Hamnavoe-based Burra Bears to the wishes of the children, being “born” last Thursday. They chose what patterns and colours would be used, what size he should be and, of course, chose his name. Given this input right from the start of this project, according to teacher Nicola Irvine: “It has really caught their imagination. Magnus has really taken on a character of his own.” His counterpart is named Thomas and was similarly made for purpose by a branch of the highly popular Build a Bear chain of stores in Glasgow.

In the spirit of his forthcoming trip, Magnus has already been on adventures around the school meeting other pupils and teachers in a very life-like fashion. Pupils have also been inspired to relate stories of their own bears and their travels on holidays, and enthusiasm is high for any published stories of travelling bears. Magnus leaves Shetland on Tuesday and the class have already stipulated the bear necessities to accompany him on his big adventure, including a blanket for warmth and cookies in case he is hungry. Weather permitting, he will be delivered to the Post Office by the entire class. They then look forward to seeing daily his travels around the big city, with all the amenities it has to offer, while it is thought that Glasgow bear Thomas will be shown and photographed and described crofting, boating, fishing and all the other joys of island and rural life.

Magnus’s send off is likely to be a memorable moment for the class as they have already such a great attachment to him. His absence and their visitor in return are guaranteed to help with their computer skills as they send and receive email and photographs during the exchange. This makes for a very “holistic” class project that will take in a wide range of learning and experience for the bairns, while being fun and captivating for them all throughout and may well be the first of many travels the little bear ventures upon.

School appeal

Another recent fund-raising activity at Scalloway Junior High School was noted this week as the total the school has raised for the Haiti Appeal after the earthquake disaster reached £192.76.

The latest fund-raising idea was for all primary pupils to wear silly hats or odd shoes at the school assembly and pay a donation for doing so. The resulting assembly was very well subscribed to with both staff and pupils getting involved with a wide variety of colourful “accessories”, including one senior member of staff who attended with a bright pink comical Mohawk hair-style and one rubber boot.

This lightsome fund-raiser for a serious cause was the latest of a series of such events which have included the selling of a school magazine and making and selling Christmas gift tags. All the fund-raising ideas have come from the pupils themselves, the colourful assembly idea being thought of by Heather Isbister. Pupils Scott Young and Grant Nicol added to this with a fee-paying football session during their golden time on Friday. As deputy head teacher Colin Nicol says: “They are very conscious of the disaster in Haiti and hear a lot about it and the effect it has on children there (Continued on next page) and wanted to help in some way. We often talk about looking out for and looking after each other in assembly and this has been how they have shown their concern for children elsewhere in the world.” The money raised is being passed on to the disaster appeal fund through a local bank.

Another piece of incidental Scalloway school news is their entry into the upcoming Shetland Drama Festival. The Primary Drama Club have entered a play entitled Forest View, which was written and will be performed by a cross section of pupils from P4 and upwards. The school drama club is currently very popular, under the guidance of Izzy Swanson and Dawn Mainland, and boasts 28 members. The Drama Festival takes place on 6th March.

Hamnavoe Vikings

Members of the Lerwick Jarl Squad made a visit to Hamnavoe school on Friday with member Jaidan Watt, who attends the school. The party of eight went to the school in full regalia and, accompanied by Eunice Henderson on fiddle and John James Inkster on accordion, sang the Up-Helly-A’ song to an assembly of all the school pupils and staff. The idea for the trip had started with Jaidan and his dad Craig intending to go to the school wearing their costumes for the pupils to see and, with mention of this, other members of the squad were keen to go along too to represent the squad.

This gave the pupils and staff of the school the rare opportunity to see the suits close-up and it went down well with both the school and the squad members.

Subsequent events with the unfortunate fire incident at the school have overshadowed this lightsome event and also caused the cancellation of the school concert on Tuesday. The Jarl’s Squad made a return visit to the school on the day of the fire, or one member did, as after being successfully evacuated from the building Jaidan couldn’t help but notice one of the attending firemen was his own Guizer Jarl Rae Simpson.

Hamnavoe pupils and staff have completely relocated to the Whiteness and Weisdale school while repairs are made and are said to have settled in well in their temporary location. How long the Hamnavoe school is to be vacated for repairs is as yet unknown.

Paddy’s Day

Building on the success of last year’s event in aid of the Scalloway Playgroup, the Trondra-based Filsket Riding Club are holding a St Patrick’s Day fund-raising party at the Scalloway Boating Club. Last year’s event was full to capacity and hailed as a great family day out for all ages by those who attended. Last year’s event was organised by Carina Isbister, and she has generously agreed to assist once again for this year’s Irish traditional celebration.

All monies raised will be toward riding club funds and the event will be held on Saturday 13th March. Appropriately themed music will be provided by Scaldin Bragg and the event starts in the afternoon at 4pm. It is open to all ages, but all children must be accompanied by an adult. This makes for a great family outing with music and dancing in abundance. Soup and sandwiches will be provided as refreshment and the concert is expected to end at around 8pm. In the spirit of the day, wearing anything green would be desirable.

Any donations of raffle prizes, sandwiches or homebakes would be most welcome and, if you think you could help with this, contact club members Helen Setrice, Monica Johnson or Marcia Scobie and collection can be arranged.

Mark Burgess


Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.