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Erraid Davies takes bronze for Scotland

Erraid Davies in the pool at the Tollcross Swimming Centre on Sunday - Photo: Ian MacNicolTHIRTHEEN year old Erraid Davies from Shetland has won a bronze medal in the 100m breaststroke para sport finals of the Commonwealth Games.

Erraid Davies winning the bronze medal - Photo: Ian MacNocolThe youngest athlete in Team Scotland put in an impressive swim to finish in 1.21.68min, just three tens of a second behind Madeleine Scott of Australia who came second.

The race was won by Sophie Pascoe from New Zealand in 1.19.36min.

In a brief interview after the race Erraid told a BBC reporter that she was very happy.

Skeld regatta overshadowed by tragic death

A POPULAR regatta on Shetland's westside had to be cancelled on Saturday night after a middle aged man died in a tragic accident.

Witnesses said 63 year old Alan Slater was coming down the pier when he fell into the water at around 7pm.

He was quickly retrieved from the water but all attempts by locals to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Marine areas designated, protection unknown

A Scottish government map of the new marine protected areas.FOUR sea zones off Shetland are amongst 30 marine protected areas announced by the Scottish government on Thursday, though the level of protection afforded these areas has yet to be negotiated.

An area stretching from the isle of Mousa to Boddam off Shetland’s sout east coast has been designated to protect sandeels, a major source of food of seabirds.

A larger zone covering the waters around the islands of Fetlar and Unst are considered an important area for black guillemots.

Strachan makes it in to final

Andrea Strachan securing a place in the finals of the 50m breaststroke - Photo: Ian MacNicolLERWICK swimmer Andrea Strachan has qualified for the final in the 50m breast stroke at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The 21-year old came fourth in the second semifinal and managed to just qualify with a time of 31.52sec.

Stern warning for threatening sleeping woman

A LERWICK mechanic with drink and drugs problems has been warned to clean up his act or face a jail sentence after he threatened to hit a sleeping woman with a rock in her face.

At Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday, Sheriff Philip Mann told 29 year old Matthew Smith, of 7 Stanegarth, that he still had custody at the forefront of his mind when he deferred sentence for three months for “probably as bad a statutory breach of the peace as I am likely to come across”.

The court heard that around 7am on 13 July, Smith had walked into a house on Lerwick’s Bruce Crescent where a group of women were sleeping after a hen night.

Ayr drugs mule jailed

A DRUGS mule from Ayr forced to smuggle almost £13,000 worth of heroin internally to Shetland was jailed for three years at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Derek McLean was arrested as he disembarked the NorthLink ferry in Lerwick on the morning of 11 May after Shetland police were tipped off.

On Thursday the court heard that McLean and his partner and child had been threatened by a drugs gang in Ayr if he failed to carry the drugs for them.

No jail for alpaca farmer who defrauded wife

Colin Arnot: ordered to carry out 160 hours of unpaid work.A FORMER alpaca farmer who defrauded his wife of more than £11,000 last November avoided a jail sentence at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Thursday.

Colin Arnot sparked a major air, sea and land search after he disappeared from the croft he ran with his wife in North Roe, Shetland, only to turn up one week later in Lerwick.

In May the 55 year old pled guilty to forging his wife's signature on a savings account closure form with investment company Scottish Widows and instructing them to transfer money to a new account from which he extracted £11,615.67 between 2 September and 13 December last year.

Strachan qualifies for semi-finals

Andrea Strachan swimming in heat 3 during the qualifications for semi-finals on Thursday morning - Photo: Ian MacNicol LERWICK swimmer Andrea Strachan achieved one of her main Commonwealth Games goals on Thursday morning when she qualified for the semi-finals in the 50m breast stroke.

The 21 year old swam the 11th fastest time of 31.90sec.

Gas plant walkout over as meetings agreed

The Shetland Gas Plant is due to be completed later this year.WORKERS building Total's £1 billion Shetland Gas Plant have returned to work shortly before 4pm on Wednesday following an unofficial walkout over travel allowances.

Representatives from the Unite and GMB unions will now meet managers from site contractor Petrofac next week for "onward discussions".

Gas plant walkout over as meetings agreed

The Shetland Gas Plant is due to be completed later this year.

WORKERS building Total’s £1 billion Shetland Gas Plant have returned to work shortly before 4pm on Wednesday following an unofficial walkout over travel allowances.

Representatives from the Unite and GMB unions will now meet managers from site contractor Petrofac next week for “onward discussions”.

Cameron hopeful of SNP deal on subsea cable

Cameron laying a wreath at the Shetland Bus memorial in Scalloway on Wednesday morning, as MP Alistair Carmichael looks on.PRIME Minister David Cameron says he is hopeful that the UK and Scottish governments will agree a deal to lay an interconnector cable hooking Shetland up to the National Grid.

He was speaking during a brief press conference with local media outlets in the Stewart Building in Lerwick on Wednesday morning, part of a surprise 24-hour visit which makes him the first UK leader to visit the islands since 1980.

David Cameron arrives for surprise isles visit

Prime minister David Cameron addressing around 100 invited guests in Lerwick town hall on Tuesday evening - Photo: Paul Shaw DAVID Cameron touched down at Sumburgh Airport for a short visit to the islands this afternoon - becoming the first serving Prime Minister to do so since Margaret Thatcher 34 years ago.

His stopover is only the second ever visit of a serving UK Prime Minister to Shetland. Thatcher showed up in September 1980, shortly after the Sullom Voe terminal became operational, while Ted Heath also visited but not during his term of office.

Support for Unst boat builder

Pictured are Brydon Barclay of Unst Inshore Services (left) and HIE's David Priest.A BOAT building company in Shetland is developing a new fast support craft for use in the oil and gas industry.

Unst Inshore Services Ltd, based in Baltasound on the island of Unst, has just secured a £47,000 grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise towards the experimental development of the boat.

Man drove while three times over limit

A FORTY TWO year old man who was caught driving while three times over the legal alcohol limit has been disqualified for 20 months.

Mark Odie, of St Sunniva Street, Lerwick, pleaded guilty to the offence, which took place on the town’s Scalloway Road at 2.10am on Sunday, when he appeared at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday afternoon.

Police had spotted the vehicle he was driving parked outside one of the town’s pubs for several hours on Saturday evening before catching Odie driving home after closing time.

Norwegian royal yacht comes to town

The royal yacht Norge tied up on the outer arm of Victoria Pier on Friday. Photo: ShetnewsLERWICK Harbour enjoyed a brief royal visit on Friday when the 80-metre Norwegian yacht Norge tied up for a few hours.

The craft, which can carry up to 54 crew, was launched in 1937 and ten years later was gifted to King Haakon VII by the Norwegian people.

60-mile trek around Unst for three charities

SEVEN Unst lasses began a 60-mile trek around the island’s coastline on Thursday morning as they seek to raise funds for three separate charities.

Siobhan Pirie, Alana Johnson, Fern Johnson, Jennifer Hamilton, Andrea Laurenson, Lindsey Jamieson and Jodi Clark (pictured alongside three supporters) have embarked on the hike in support of Mind Your Head, MS Society and Action for ME.

Hopes high for Shetland’s seabird chicks

A puffin with a beakful of good-sized fish flies in to Fair Isle to feed its chicks. Photo David ParnabySHETLAND’S seabirds are showing signs of enjoying their best season for several years heartening ornithologists worried about their long term wellbeing.

Puffins, arctic terns, guillemots, shags, kittiwakes and razorbills all appear to be feeding well on abundant shoals of sandeels and sillocks around the isles.

While monitoring last year showed Shetland seabirds flying hundreds of miles to bring food back to their chicks, this year they are feeding well within a 20 mile radius of the islands.

DITT win Scalloway health centre contract

Scalloway primary school is to be turned into a health centre for the village by next summer. Photo ShetnewsA £1.5 million contract to convert Scalloway primary school into a health centre and move the children to the village’s empty secondary school has been awarded to local firm DITT Construction Ltd.

Work will start over the next month on external works to improve traffic access and create playgrounds and refurbishing the secondary school to make it ready to take the primary pupils.

Once this first phase is completed and the children have moved premises, work will start on turning the primary school into a health centre by next summer.

Sixth vessel as Petrofac workforce grows

The Gemini berthed at Dales Voe on Monday. Photo Ian LeaskTHE SIXTH floating accommodation vessel to house the growing number of construction workers racing to complete the Total gas plant in Shetland berthed in Lerwick harbour on Monday.

The cruise ship Gemini has been chartered by main contractor Petrofac for an initial three months to accommodate 400 personnel.

It arrived from Tilbury and will be stationed at the Dales Voe base, though it may have to move occasionally to suit other vessel movements.

SNP rural promises dismissed by Scott

BT are currently installing fast broadband in Lerwick and other areas of Shetland, with Quarff, Cunningsburgh and Sumburgh next on the list.THE SCOTTISH government has promised to tackle poor mobile and broadband coverage in rural areas like Shetland, as well as postal services and transport links if it wins independence in September’s referendum.

 However its proposed Rural Connectivity Commission (RCC) has been dismissed by Shetland MSP Tavish Scott as another con to win a Yes vote.

The RCC would be an expert body looking at how to help remote areas of Scotland by: 

• maximising mobile coverage, including 3G and 4G;
• extending good quality broadband;
• ensuring parcel delivery prices are fair;
• cutting fuel and energy prices; 
• improving transport links and reducing air passenger duty by 50 per cent.

Cable to open up isles renewables approved

A map of the route the Caithness-Moray cable will take.A KEY piece of the jigsaw for transmitting wind-powered electricity from Shetland to the power hungry cities of Scotland was approved on Friday by energy regulator Ofgem.

The £1.2 billion Caithness-Moray transmission link is designed to open up the north of Scotland to renewable generation for the long term.

With twice the capacity of the 600 megawatt subsea interconnector proposed for Shetland, it will be able to handle all the power generated in the northern isles should the Viking Energy wind farm and associated developments proceed.

Missing woman spent night on Ronas Hill

The relief Aith lifeboat 17-33 Beth Sell joined Thursday night's search for the missing woman while the main lifeboat is on refit. Photo Ian Leask

THE WOMAN who sparked a major air, sea and land search in Shetland’s north mainland on Thursday spent the night on Ronas Hill, police have revealed.

The 61 year old experienced hiker had told friends she intended to visit the tidal island of Uyea, in Northmavine, when she set off at 5pm on Thursday.

However when she failed to return at 9pm, the emergency services were alerted.

Court rules in Viking Energy's favour

A view of the proposed Viking Energy wind farm from the Kergord valley - Image: Viking Energy.THE CONSTRUCTION of a controversial 103-turbine wind farm in Shetland looks set to become a reality after the highest Scottish court ruled in the government’s favour.

Last September grassroots protest group Sustainable Shetland won its legal challenge against the Scottish Government after Lady Clark of Calton ruled its decision to grant planning consent for the Viking Energy project was incompetent.

MPs call for helicopter safety inquiry

Four oil workers died when the Super Puma with 18 people on board plunged into the sea off Sumburgh - Photo: Peter Hutchison/Shetland NewsTHE OIL and gas industry has claimed suggestions that commercial pressure affects the safety of offshore helicopter operations are “unsubstantiated”.

On Tuesday the UK parliament's transport select committee called for a public and independent inquiry to be convened to examine whether such pressure played a role in the spate of recent offshore helicopter accidents.

Gas plant worker found dead in Lerwick

A SIXTY year old man who had been working on the construction site for Total’s gas plant was found dead in Lerwick on Monday evening, police have confirmed.

A Police Scotland spokesman said the force was alerted to the sudden death, which occurred when the man was off duty, in the Lerwick Harbour area shortly after 9.30pm.

The death is being treated as “unexplained” but there are “not thought to be any suspicious circumstances at this time”, police said. A report is being prepared for the procurator fiscal.