Angry bowlers could lose half of hall at Clickimin

Bowlers throughout Shetland are up in arms about proposals to take part of the bowls hall in the Clickimin Leisure Complex to be used for PE by the new Anderson High School.

Bowlers at the outdoor bowling green on Wednesday. From left: Sandy Stewart, Bruce Stickle, Alex Elphinstone, Margaret Johnson, Tam Terris, Elma Scott, Dougie Grant and Alan Smith. Photo: Rosalind Griffiths
Bowlers at the outdoor bowling green on Wednesday. From left: Sandy Stewart, Bruce Stickle, Alex Elphinstone, Margaret Johnson, Tam Terris, Elma Scott, Dougie Grant and Alan Smith. Photo: Rosalind Griffiths

The bowlers say that any change in the layout at Clickimin will limit access to the sport and could threaten its very future in the isles.

Lerwick Outdoor Bowling Club president Tam Terris said the present four rinks (playing surfaces) were necessary to ensure that as many people as possible who travelled in from the country would get a game, and at least four rinks were needed to host competitions.

The proposal by Shetland Recreational Trust is that four rinks should be reduced to two, although nothing has been decided yet.

The trust has claimed said it “made sense” to use Clickimin rather than “double up provision” in view the its “challenging financial position”.

However, the fact that rinks may be lost has dismayed bowlers, who number about 100 throughout the isles.

Mr Terris said the bowls hall was used seven days a week, whether for playing, coaching or competitions, and he credited the Clickimin facilities with producing bowlers who win hauls of medals at competitions.

There have been triumphs at island games tournaments, while bowlers recently retained their title at the St Fergus Open in Wick, one of the biggest tournaments in the north of Scotland.

Shetland hosted the bowls competion when the NatWest Island Games came to the isles in 2005, but that would no longer be possible with half the number of rinks.

Mr Terris said: “Proposals to close down parts of the Clickimin bowls hall to accommodate PE facilities for the new school will in effect decimate this sport in Shetland.

“Currently five separate clubs use this facility and closing down any part would mean the end of competition experience and practice opportunities.

“My own personal view on this is it is a public leisure centre that was purpose built for the use of the community, not as part of the education system.”

This view is shared by all five clubs who were signatories to a letter sent to recreational trust general manager James Johnston.

Written by bowls player and secretary John Jarmson, the letter stated: “With fewer than four rinks, the running of competitions becomes quite unmanageable.

“If the island games were held in Shetland again, a reduction in the number of rinks would preclued the bowling fraternity from holding bowls in the bowls hall.

“To be perfectly honest, we believe that if you are determined to remove even one bowls rink from the hall, you many as well shut the hall for bowls.”

Half of the Clickimin bowls hall could be lost to provide a gym for the new Anderson High School. Photo: Dave Donaldson
Half of the Clickimin bowls hall could be lost to provide a gym for the new Anderson High School. Photo: Dave Donaldson

Mr Johnston was unavailable for comment but later released a statement through the trust’s PR company.

He said: “As part of the new Anderson High School project, Shetland Islands Council agreed to fund restructuring work within Clickimin Leisure Complex, including expansion of our Apex gym facilities, in return for using defined areas of the building for PE teaching.

“The trust is now consulting a range of stakeholders on the impact any reconfiguration of facilities would have, including users of the bowls hall.

“The results of this consultation will be fed back to trustees prior to decisions being made on the way forward.”

● For full story see The Shetland Times tomorrow.


Add Your Comment
  • Alvin Leong

    • July 17th, 2015 18:43

    Looking at what happened to the pool roof, they will be lucky if they even have 2 working lanes in the near future! Be thankful and quit complaiming.

  • Mike Bailey

    • July 18th, 2015 9:41

    So the five bowling clubs who use the facility should just accept that the sport they love will be taken from them without complaining? That will just not happen.

    • Alvin Leong

      • July 19th, 2015 18:15

      Then they should put their money where their mouth is a pay for their own facilities for their own game.

      • Mike Bailey

        • July 20th, 2015 9:55

        The bowling clubs pay the full hire charges to use the facility, just like every other club using Clickamin. Should the swimming clubs have to build their own pool or the volley ball clubs their own sports hall ? Bowls is often played by folk who are no longer able to play more active sports but wish to get some form of exercise and companionship. Why should that group be discriminate d against whilst a new training facility is being built on site to cater for those who play soccer, hockey, rugby etc.?

      • Malcolm Henry Johnson

        • July 20th, 2015 21:19

        Right enough Alvin. We wouldn’t catch you using any publicly subsidised facilities or services, would we? I’m reluctant to sink to your level but you may have noticed that the great majority of bowlers in Shetland are people who are past retirement age and have worked and paid into the public purse throughout their entire working lives so they are probably the ONLY group of sports people in Shetland who have already paid for their facility. Of course they could always take your advice and stop complaining because we’ve all noticed how you never complain about anything.

      • Alvin Leong

        • July 21st, 2015 3:13

        Like I said, put their money where their mouth is, pay for their own facilities, pay zero fees to use it. The end of the day is the hall is a subsidized facility paid for the use of a very small minority.

      • John Tulloch

        • July 21st, 2015 8:57

        @Alvin Leong, the only thing missing from your comment is “Bah, humbug!”

      • Alvin Leong

        • July 22nd, 2015 21:56

        I am sure out of the thousands of tax payers, only a very small minority play bowls. If this is real bowling (10 pins) I am sure much more will be interested and no one will touch it for the new AHS. However it is just a minority activity, there is no great lost if it is gone.

        On a side note, since you asked, I will answer. Due to the fact I was subjected to “No Recourse to Public Funds” for 10, while paying fill taxes of all kinds and full university fees while making no claims of any kind. I always try to make sure I claim whatever avaliable. After all everyone is doing it, and now I can do it, I will just join the “honest benefits claimants”.

  • Colin Hunter

    • July 20th, 2015 13:49

    I am not a particularly sport oriented person, so I’m not overly concerned about the provision of sporting facilities. But I also abhor waste, of any kind. So, having spent Millions providing the Bowls hall, no time ago, the council now feel that it’s a great plan to destroy it, in order to make way for another games hall for the new school. My opinion on that is that it’s a complete non starter. The Bowls hall is not only used by bowlers, it is also used for the Classic car show, for one, and several other exhibitions and non sporting events. It is a great and versatile facility and should be retained at all costs, if only to prevent the total waste of the money it took to build it in the first place.
    We have already lost one of the best camp sites in the islands to make way for this project. What more must be sacrificed before the new school finally comes to fruition, already almost 25 years after it should have been finished! The Council should stop and take a look at themselves, stop pandering to consultants and architects, and get a grip on reality!

  • Stuart Terris

    • July 20th, 2015 15:07

    At this rate the new high school will only have a couple of rooms with all the other public locations such as Islesburgh, library, Mareel etc being used to supplement the school.

    Taking 2 rinks away from the bowls hall would be like making the swimming pool only 2 feet deep – Its still there but its pretty much useless.

    • Alvin Leong

      • July 22nd, 2015 22:15

      AHS should just take all 4 lanes. Them bowlers still have plenty of other faculties to play with; Aith, Lerwick Outdoor Green, Out Skerries and Whalley. Typical moaning about a storm in a teacup.

      • Mike Bailey

        • July 23rd, 2015 13:31

        You really are totally ignorant when it comes to the game of indoor bowls. It can’t be played in any old hall or enclosed space but requires a level smooth surface and a certain sized area.what I wish, when people are commenting on news events, they would limit their comments to subjects they knew something about.
        You say that ‘real” bowling is the 10 pin variety. That is a totally different sport, using different skills. Are you suggesting the SRT should spend a few million on a multi-lane complex, as that would be more popular?

      • Shauna Terris

        • August 5th, 2015 17:05

        There is no other full size rink apart from clickimin and the outdoor which you can’t use in winter

  • John Tulloch

    • July 20th, 2015 19:39

    Who will pay for the school if it isn’t finished before the existing funding body expires in 2018?

  • Theresa Terris

    • August 5th, 2015 11:09

    Very useful information from you Alvin. I am not sure excatly the whereabouts of “Whalley” but maybe if you points us in the right direction then the problem will be sorted 🙂 Your knowledge astounds me! it is just as well we have use of our “faculties” as you put it haha.

  • Shauna Terris

    • August 5th, 2015 17:12

    Well Alvin you obviously know nothing about the sport there are a lot of members between the various clubs also it is used 7 days a week for bowling

  • Mike Bailey

    • August 6th, 2015 12:26

    I don’t presume you will sign it Alvin but there is an on-line petition set up about this disgusting proposal by the SRT. It can be found on Just type “Clickimin” in the search section and vote accordingly. The indoor bowling clubs would like everyone who has an opinions to add their name to the petition.


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