Times Past

25 Years Ago

Sullom Quarries are helping to lay a new pipeline in the North Sea which will eventually pump an extra 80,000 barrels of oil per day to the Sullom Voe Terminal. The oil industry hopes that this should offset the effects of older supplies of oil in the North Sea “drying up”.

Much of the pipeline, which will link Total’s Alwyn North field with the Ninian pipeline to Sullom Voe, will be coated with rock from the Brindister Quarry.

Sullom Quarries won part of the £3.5 million contract for laying the pipeline and they will be supplying at least 40,000 tonnes of aggregate. The pipeline will need anything up to 160,000 tonnes of rubble, some of which will come from Norway.

The field is due to start pumping oil to Sullom Voe by the end of 1987. At its peak it should be producing 80,000 barrels a day.

The field also contains about 26.5 billion cubic metres of gas and a 112km pipeline will be laid between Alwyn and the Frigg field, from where gas already goes to St Fergus on the Scottish mainland. Aggregate supplied by Sullom Quarries is also to be used for parts of this.

50 Years Ago

Mr A. E. Lance, whose Shetland Peat and Ore Development Company’s small peat briquette factory at Brindister closed down six years ago, has been back in Shetland recently conducting further experiments of the commercial uses of peat.

Mr Lance first came to Shetland about 10 years ago to survey deposits of magnetite ore at Sullom for the British Iron and Steel Corporation. His survey resulted in Sullom Mine being worked for some time.

After his retiral from the corporation, Mr Lance interested himself in Shetland’s peat deposits. He formed a company to produce peat briquettes, and after many teething troubles a small factory was opened on the shores of Brindister Loch. But it was only in production three months. Mr Lance succeeded in producing an excellent quality briquette, but the snag was it could not be produced economically – the drying of the peat was the one too expensive part of the production.

During his latest visit to Shetland Mr Lance had three main objects – to experiment with the extraction of peat from wax; the possibility of using the residue in the manufacture of hardboard; and to test the magnetic sandbanks on the island of Fetlar for iron content.

It is understook that one of the country’s largest paper-making firms is interested in his peat for hardboard theory.


A scheme for building a new county library and museum at an estimated cost of £46,000 has been submitted to the Scottish Education Department for approval.

Most of the £46,000 is taken up with the provision of a new building, and the cost of the library and museum working out at fifty fifty.

Estimated cost of first year’s repayment of principal and interest on the library buildings and furniture amounted to £2,033. On the basis of existing costs, library expenditure in the new building, including repayment charges, would be £8,647.

The sum of £2,000 has been allocated for books and binding in the current year.

It is still impossible to supplement the library service in Scalloway, but the librarian hopes it will be established by September.

100 Years Ago

Mysterious Drowning Accident – On Saturday morning last Adam Kerrison, skipper of the Yarmouth steam drifter Eighteen, was drowned at sea about 15 miles S.S.E. of the Bard Head of Bressay.

It appears that the vessel had left her fish-ground, about 34 miles to the south-east of the Bard Head, about five o’clock in the morning, with the deceased at the wheel. A little after eight o’clock he was relieved by Arthur Cassey, and went down to breakfast. When he had had it Kerrison left to take up his post at the wheel again, but he did not come to the wheelhouse.

At this time, as it happened, Cassey looked behind, and saw an object like a man’s body floating in the water some distance from the vessel. He rang for the engines to go astern but owing to the strength of the wind and sea, it was found to be impossible to get near to the object in the water. The crew had come on deck when the engines were reversed, and it was then found that the skipper was missing. A small boat was launched and four of the crew rowed out in the direction of the place where the object had been last seen, but owing to the lowness of the boat they were unable to see it.

At this juncture the YH steam drifter King, which was passing, hailed them, and pointed out where the body was and the men in the boat pulled to it, but with all their efforts found it impossible to get the man into the boat.

Another steam drifter, the Young Archie, of Yarmouth, was on the scene by this time and a rope was thrown to the men in the small boat, and the body was taken on board the vessel. Artificial respiration was tried, but with no success. Deceased had been about twenty minutes in the water before his body was recovered.

Kerrison was a man about 34 years of age. He was unmarried and resided with his mother at Station Road, Belton, near Yarmouth. How he fell into the water is unknown unless he may have tripped over some obstruction on the deck.


The Tale of a Whale – A strange story reaches us from the Fish Mart, for the details of which we are unable to vouch. It appears that last week a prominent member of the Fish Trade left Lerwick and proceeded to sea on board a drifter.  After steaming many miles to the south-eastward, the skipper and members of the crew were appalled to see what they took to be an enormous island bearing down on them. What might have happened to the panic stricken crew no one can tell, but the heroic member of the Fish Trade insisted on boarding this unknown land and exploring its mysteries.

After much manoeuvring the vessel was brought alongside, when it was found that the supposed island was nothing more nor less than the carcase of a gigantic whale, which was floating about in the North Sea, a menace to fishing craft and other vessels. But the British fisherman is proverbially brave, and the chief officer of the drifter, leaping over the gunwale, took possession of the whale in the King’s name.  On this being done, two other members of the crew followed their chief’s example, and seeing the wonderful “expanse” before them, they seized two of the oars of the small boat, and taking the necessary number of buoys from their vessel, they had a most interesting and exciting game of golf. History does not say which of the players was the winner, but independent critics are still anxious to know what particular blend of whisky was used on the occasion.


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