North Mainland Notes

Skol – Torf Einar

The Up-Helly-A’ season draws to a close today as Delting chief-viking Torf Einar and his hoard of Norse warriors look forward to a long and action-packed day.

Torf Einar, better known as Muckle Roe man Lawrence Johnson, has looked forward to this day for a decade and is excited at the prospect of heading up the Delting festival.

Over the past few months, Lawrence and his squad members have worked hard at the galley shed in Brae to make sure that everything is in place for the big day. Lawrence paid tribute to the boys: “I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of men to be with me in the squad. A lot of work has gone on over the last few months, along with a lot of funs, and it’s great to see everything come together.”

Although the history books fail to record much about Australian Vikings, three of Lawrence’s relations from down under have made the trip specially to be part of the Jarl’s Squad. He said: “The arrival of my cousins from Perth, Australia, as well as my two college pals, is the icing on the cake.” All five arrived a few days ahead of the Up-Helly-A’ festival, with just enough time for final suit fittings and “practising”.

For Torf Einar and his squad the day will begin at 8am with the traditional toast to the Jarl at the Northern Lights followed by the march to the galley at the Brae hall at 9am. Next on the agenda will be school visits to Lunnasting, Olnafirth, Brae and finally Mossbank. After a lunch with the Sullom Voe Terminal manager at Mossbank hall, the Jarl’s squad will visit Ports and Harbours at Sellaness and the Brae Police Station. At 4pm the squad will visit both the Northhaven Care Centre and the Mid Brae Inn before tea at the Brae hall at 4.45pm.

At 6.45pm Torf Einar and his men will march up the ranks for the procession and light up will take place at 7pm. The pipe band and the brass band will both accompany the squads during the procession.

Six halls throughout Delting will be open for the evening festivities after the procession. The order of visits by the Jarl squad will be: Vidlin Hall, Voe Hall, Mossbank Hall, Delting Boating Club, Northern Lights Function Room and finally Brae Hall just in time for breakfast!

Although the weather forecast does not look too promising for Up-Helly-A’ day, the prospect of a poor forecast has done little to dampen the spirits of Lawrence and his squad. He said: “It’s a poor forecast but wir no goin tae let it budder wis. Everybody in da squad is looking forward to a really enjoyable Delting Up-Helly-A’ and we hoop the idder squads and everybody involved has a great time.”

I would like to add my best wishes to Torf Einar and his men. I hope you all have a great weekend and that Torf is still able to enjoy his birthday on Sunday! Skol!

Cash from recycling

Income from the North Mainland Recycling Store continues to assist a range of local groups in the North Mainland via a community grant scheme. The committee distributes funds twice a year and members would like to remind any group who feel they could benefit from a grant that the next deadline for applications is 30th April.

In the past six months, nine community groups have received £1,600 of funding as direct result of funds raised in the shop. Groups are eligible for one grant per year of up to £200. For an application form please email Lynda at, Aki at or phone Sandra on (01806) 522353. All forms should be returned by post to treasurer Sandra Bigland at the address on the application form.

Age no barrier for Splinters

Although Splinters Drama Group has hit the big 30 this year, age shows no sign of slowing them up. Now in their thirtieth year of productions, the group started the year of celebrations with no less than three entries at the recent Shetland County Drama Festival. This year all sections of Splinters tackled comedy and the quality of the productions was as high as ever. All three plays received excellent adjudications from Ron Nicol and a total of five well-deserved trophies was awarded to the group overall.

Due to popular demand all three comedies will be performed again on Sunday 25th April in the Garrison Theatre. The performance will begin at 2pm and tickets are on sale through Islesburgh on (01595) 692114. Co-founder of Splinters Di Newbold, said: “The decision to perform at the Garrison was the subject of much deliberation as Brae is our home territory and we have such a faithful audience.

“When we perform just two plays the Brae hall is filled to capacity so it was decided because of the number of plays, size of casts and the comedial nature of the plays, the Garrison would be best suited. We hope our faithful audience will come out and enjoy an afternoon of comedy with us.”

The group also plan to stage a celebratory birthday party in May on home ground at the Brae Hall. The event is still at the planning stage, but will probably take the form of afternoon teas with added entertainment looking back at their many performances over the past 30 years. The amount of support they have been shown over the years always amazes the Splinters production team and they look forward to seeing everyone at the event in May. The group would also be particularly keen to hear from anyone who has been involved with Splinters during the past 30 years and would extend a special invitation for those folk to get in touch or go along to the birthday.

Maakin flooers deadline

Earlier this year, contemporary textile students at Shetland College came up with an innovative idea to help raise funds toward the costs of attending an exhibition in London.

The final year students devised “Maakin Flooers”, a community knitting project, which they hoped would help raise funds to allow them to profile their degree show as part of London’s prestigious New Designers Show, later this year.

The enterprising students asked folk to help by knitting a simple flooer. The flowers would then be exhibited in Shetland and later sold to offset the cost of the London exhibition. Students are delighted with the number of flooers that have been donated so far. They would like to remind folk that the deadline for anyone who has yet to send in their pieces is 31st March. These can either be handed in to the textiles department at Shetland College or sent by post to Joan Manson, Mangaster, Sullom. Joan said: “The flowers will be on display outside Hay’s Dock café at the museum and we’d like to add the names of the knitters next to their pieces. Some of the flooers we have already received don’t have the sender’s name with them, so we would be keen for folk to get in touch with us so we can include their names. We have received some wonderful flooers so far and we would like to thank everyone for getting involved.”

Northmaven Blueprint Meeting

As part of the informal consultation process for the Blueprint for Education, senior Shetland Islands Council officials from the schools service will attend the Northmaven Community Council’s monthly meeting on Monday night. The meeting will take place in the Sullom hall at 7.30pm and members of the local community are welcome to attend.

Urafirth walk

Although two “Walk a Mile” events will take place in Lerwick and Baltasound this weekend to help raise money for Sport Relief, Northmavine did its bit for the charity last weekend. Pupils, family and friends at Urafirth Primary School took part in the event, raising over £250 during their fun-filled day.

All the money raised for Sport Relief is spent by Comic Relief to help disadvantaged people, both at home in the UK and across the world’s poorest countries. Fund-raising money is used to support people of all ages throughout the world in a variety of ways to help make a difference to their lives. Children in Africa could be assisted to get into primary school or the fund could help support an isolated older person in this country. Last Saturday around 40 people from all sections of the community took part in the “Walk a Mile” event at Urafirth. Babies, toddlers, young folk, parents, friends, staff at Urafirth Primary and even a few grandparents fae sooth and the Rev Bob MacGregor, the local minister, braved the weather to raise funds for the charity.

Most of the walkers still had enough energy to take part in a range of fun activities back at the school afterwards. Staff and pupils had organised an afternoon of Wii games, big ball football, hula hooping, skipping and shove ha’penny for the less energetic. A Sports Relief quiz was won by Emily Poleson.

Head teacher at Urafirth Wilma Missenden said: “We all had a fantastic day and raised at least £250, with some money still to come in. Pupils and staff at Urafirth would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and we would remind folk that we still have a few pairs of Sport Relief socks for sale at the school!”

Maree Hay


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