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Hockey: Whalsay look unbeatable

Rosebowl

Whalsay 6 v Scalloway 1

Scalloway dominated the early exchanges, but Whalsay managed to stand firm and started to put pressure on and scored first from Deborah Mowat. Scalloway’s Kerri Redfern soon equalised from a short corner.

Mowat scored again in the first half’s dying seconds, and made it a hat trick five minutes into the second half, followed by two goals in quick succession from Victoria Duthie.

Scalloway worked hard but Alison Williamson rounded things off with Whalsay’s sixth of the night. 

Players of the match were Zoe Irvine for Whalsay and Christine Georgeson for Scalloway.   


Delting 0 v Whalsay 2

Whalsay immediately put Delting under pressure and goalie Toni Sidgwick had to make some fantastic saves. However Whalsay’s teamwork helped Deborah Mowat score their first.

A Delting penalty failed to score, Whalsay’s defence held back every effort. In the second half Mowat scored her second

Best on the night were Delting’s Toni Sidgwick and Whalsay’s Zoe Irvine.


Scalloway 0 v Juniors 1

Juniors set off at pace and were awarded a short corner from which Debbi Sneddon scored the first goal. Scalloway woke up after this, but could not get past the Juniors’ defence.

Scalloway improved in the second half, but their constant efforts were thwarted. Both sides’ defence teams were on top form and refused to allow the attackers through.

Players of the match were Kirsten Flett for Scalloway and Abbey Irvine for Juniors.


Juniors 1 v Zetland 1

No report.


Rosebowl     

Played Won Drawn Lost Points
Whalsay 5 5 0 0 15
Delting 6 4 0 2 12
Spurs 4 3 0 1 9
Burra 4 2 0 2 6
Juniors 5 1 1 3 4
Zetland 5 1 1 3 4
Scalloway 6 0 0 6 0

 

Fixtures:
Monday  23 May - Rosebowl
6:30pm Whalsay v Burra (Simon Skinner/Juniors rep)
7:50pm Delting v Juniors (Simon Skinner/Burra rep)

Thursday 26th May – Lizzie Polson
6.30pm Spurs v Burra (Simon Skinner/Zetland rep)
7:50pm Zetland v Juniors (Simon Skinner/Spurs rep)

 

Football: Goals galore

Madrid Cup - Group One

Delting 5 v Ness Utd 0

Delting turned in a good second half performance to win after a tight first half ended up 0-0. Second half goals came from Ross Jamieson (2), Ross MacDougall, Merv Jamieson and Peter Peterson who scored his 200th goal for the club.

 

Spurs 10 v Thistle 0

The home side flattened their town rivals. Four from Connel Gresham, a double from Sam Ward plus goals from Scott Morrison, Ian Goodlad, Sean Maver and Alan Page did the damage.

 

Madrid Cup - Group Two

Scalloway 2 v Whalsay 2

A Steven Umphray double for the villagers gave them the lead twice, but Whalsay improved in the second half and Ritchie Hutchison and John Montgomery got equalising goals.

 

Whitedale 9 v Celtic 1

After a Conor Regan opener for Celtic, few could predict what would happen next as Whitedale went on an onslaught. Jamie Wilson hit four, Paul Molloy hit a hat trick while Richard Sinclair and Jordan Morrison added to the hammering.

Olympic torch to light up Shetland

Ambassadors Mhairi Gifford from Shetland (top right corner), 18 year old Danielle Pryce from Aberystwyth, Wales; 14 year old Cassie Munro from Holywood, Belfast, Northern Ireland; 19 year old Sophie Lowe from Norwich, East of England; 14 year old Amy Johns from Penzance, Cornwall; and 14 year old Simran Dhingra-Smith from Newham, London point to their respective homes on the map during London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay Briefing - Photo by Matt Cardy ORGANISERS of the 2012 London Olympic Games have confirmed that the Olympic torch will come to Shetland on 10 June next year.

The announcement comes as Vidlin lass Mhairi Gifford represented Scotland at the UK’s first Olympic event – a photocall at Land’s End broadcast live on the BBC’s Wednesday morning breakfast show.

The torch will arrive from Greece at Land’s End exactly one year from today and go on an 8,000 miles relay through every country and every region of the UK before arriving at the Olympic Stadium in London on 27 July 2012.

Fifteen year old Mhairi, a secondary 3 pupil at Brae High School, had been put forward by the school’s head teacher Colin Kirkness as a sports ambassador.

Her PE teacher Jill Hibbert said she was a very able all-rounder and has represented her school at volleyball, football, netball, basketball and hockey.

Brae High School pupil Mhairi Gifford represented Scotland at the Olympic Torch relay route announcement on Wednesday morning - Photo: Gordon Stove“Mhairi has been fencing since the age of ten. She has competed in National Open competitions since the age of 13. She is very committed to her training and a determined competitor.

“There are many logistical difficulties in participating in high level sport from Shetland, but Mhairi has overcome these, with the assistance of her parents and coach, consistently achieving good results in Scottish competitions. She has set herself the goal of representing Scotland at junior and senior level,” she added.

It is not yet known whether Mhairi will become one of the 8,000 torchbearers who will be named later in the year.

Speaking immediately after her TV appearance, she said that initially she had not believed her mum Mary when she told her that the school had chosen her to travel the 1,000 miles to Land’s End.

“It is an honour to be here and to be the only one from Shetland and from Scotland; it really is unbelievable and I enjoyed it.

“Half of the people can’t point Shetland on a map. It really is good that the torch is coming to Shetland,” she said.

The other young sports people at Wednesday’s event were from Belfast, Aberystwyth, Norwich, and London, representing the UK’s four countries plus London as the host for the Olympics.

Meanwhile, the local council, MP Alistair Carmichael and Shetland Arts have all expressed their delight with the news that the torch relay includes Shetland.

Director of Shetland Arts Gwilym Gibbons said the organisation had into discussions with the organisers three years ago with ideas about how the whole of the UK could be represented on the relay route.

"The image and the spectacle of the torch running through Shetland, broadcast to millions around the world will be fantastic for the isles.

“Shetland Arts will continue its conversations with the Torch Relay Team and local partners to ensure Shetland can celebrate in style this once in a life time event,” he said.

Mystery surrounds death of whale

Specialist vets Andrew Brownlow (left) and Bob Reid after the post mortem - Photo: Pete Bevington, Shetland NewsSPECIALIST vets who carried out a post mortem on the long-finned pilot whale that died in Shetland’s oil port of Sullom Voe at the weekend said the cause of death remains unclear.

Bob Reid and Andrew Brownlow, from the Inverness-based SAC Wildlife Unit, spent three hours on Tuesday morning working on the adult female whale, which stranded on Saturday night.

The whale had arrived in the voe on Thursday with two other pilot whales, both of which disappeared that day.

During its three day ordeal it beached at least four times and swam in ever decreasing circles around the port, which is very busy at the moment with the construction of the £500 million Total gas plant.

The vets said that it was a very small, fully grown female measuring 4.51 metres - the normal size of an adult female is 4.9 to 5.5m. It had probably had two or three calves during its lifetime, they said.

Mr Brownlow said that on first inspection there was no obvious explanation why it had stranded.

The vets took samples from all of the creature’s major organs as well as its brain, which will be tested in laboratory conditions in Inverness and Edinburgh at the Moredun Research Centre.

“There is nothing obvious that we found from the post mortem that we can say with any degree of certainty that this is what is the cause of death, but I am pretty confident that by the time we have finished these tests we will have a fair idea of why it stranded,” he said.

“What we can rule out is that there are no major areas of trauma and it doesn’t seem to have any infection or bruising. It has moderate body condition, but it’s not emaciated and as yet there is no evidence of anything at all that would have debilitated it.”

One question is why it was in the busy port in the first place. When asked if it could have been disoriented by noise from the construction work in the area, Mr Brownlow said the simple answer was “unproven”.

Mr Reid, who has more than 20 years experience in the field, said that he believed the creature had been unwell.

“My feeling is that (the other two whales) were following in a sick animal, but I don’t know. We have no evidence to back that up at all,” he said.

He pointed out that whales have been stranding for centuries and that it is a natural process. Every year he deals with around 160 stranded cetaceans around Scotland, and carried out 109 post mortems on marine mammals last year, including three or four pilot whales.

Pilot whales, also known as caain’ whales in Shetland, have a history of mass strandings. In the 1980s hundreds stranded around the islands, which some people put down to the amount of seismic work going on as the oil industry explored the North Sea.

With exploration activity increasing again as the industry moves into waters north and west of Shetland, concerns have been raised that similar problems could arise.

However Karen Hall, of the Lerwick SNH office, explained that the environmental conditions imposed on the oil industry these days are “quite stringent” and involve a great deal of monitoring.

Total have employed a team of ecologists to keep a close eye on environmental activity around the Sullom Voe area and have altered their plans to accommodate local wildlife.

The vets thanked Ellis Nicolson, of EMN Plant, and the staff at Shetland Islands Council’s ports and harbours department for their help in carrying out the post mortem.

Ferry firm opposes coastguard cuts

THE STATE-owned company behind ferry operators NorthLink and CalMac is calling for the government to stop trying to save money by cutting the coastguard service.

The David MacBrayne Group said the government review of coastguard services should concentrate on saving lives.

Chairman Peter Timms said that as the ferry operator with the most routes and vessels in the UK, it was uniquely qualified to comment on the proposals.

Mr Timms said that while the company welcomed plans to modernise the service, they had fundamental concerns about the focus on making it cheaper to run.

“We welcome the intention to introduce new technology, however the focus of this technology must be on improving services and cutting casualties and pollution; not to cut costs,” he said.

He said the government had to take into account the economic and social impact on affected communities and said more use should be made of his own company’s staff.

“Our masters and skippers sometimes feel their knowledge is undervalued, and that they have no say in what should be a continual improvement process to learn lessons from every call for assistance.”

More important than search and rescue capability was the setting of high marine standards supported by effective regulation to prevent the need for it, he said.

“The MCA is silent on its plans for its standard setting and regulatory activities. There are problems with these, and we would like to see these services included in delivery of MCA casualty reduction targets.

“We recommend that efforts to improve search and rescues should be executed in parallel with an external review of the effectiveness and application of regulatory standards.”

Mr Timms also questioned the lack of comment in the proposals about the loss of the emergency towing vessels from Scotland’s north and west coasts.

“Whilst these vessels were not initially introduced to support our operations directly, but as a result of the Braer incident and to provide cover for tankers transiting the Minches, they do nonetheless now provide critical cover for all vessels in these sea areas.

“The need for such cover has been evidenced on several occasions since their introduction and there are tangible benefits to justify retaining the service.

“The proposals also seem particularly at odds with good practice established in the US Coastguard Service and even in Europe, where Germany, France, Netherlands and Norway appear to be establishing a similar capability with ETV’s that the MCA is planning to dismantle.”

 

Isles parents vow to fight on

THE COMMUNITIES of Shetland’s north isles have vowed to gather cross party political support in a bid to overturn the decision to close the two small primary schools in Uyeasound and Burravoe.

They will urge the new Scottish education minister – likely to be named this week - to call in Tuesday’s decision by Shetland Islands Council.

The islanders hope to enlist the support of SNP list MSP Jean Urquhart, who stood for the Shetland seat in the Scottish election.

Burravoe parent council chairman Steven Brown said they already had the support of local MSP Tavish Scott.

They also expect backing from many Shetland councillors representing rural wards, and from schools and parent councils that might be under threat at a future date due to council cost cutting.

On Tuesday councillors ratified their earlier decision to close the two schools on Unst and Yell, and to keep the two mainland schools in North Roe and Sandness open to protect their local economy.

Their votes, described as “consistently inconsistent”, have angered parents in the north isles who see it as “an attack against island communities”.

Similar arguments were rolled out during the 90 minute debate on Tuesday as were heard at the services committee last week.

Councillor Betty Fullerton, who had chaired the first half of the services committee meeting during which the closure of Uyeasound and Burravoe were agreed, said she had been “very, very surprised” by the outcome of that meeting.

She said she could not see the basis for differentiating between any of the four schools, and voted to close all four on Tuesday.

After the meeting, Uyeasound parent council chairman Derek Jamieson said: “We will contact Scottish ministers to call in the decision. We still believe the process has to be done properly and we don’t believe the decision has gone the right way.

“It is shocking how inconsistent councillors’ approach towards the four schools were, but we are very happy that Sandness and North Roe schools are both being kept open.”

Mr Brown added: “We think we have a very good chance for the decision to be called in, because clearly councillors have not applied the logic of the Scottish legislation and consultation for rural schools.”

If the two schools do close in October, the council will save around £200,000 from its £42 million education budget.

Ten pupils from Uyeasound will have to travel to Baltasound junior high school for their education, while 11 Burravoe pupils will have to travel via a long and twisty single track road to Mid Yell.

Meanwhile the Baltasound school received a positive report from HM Inspectorate of Education on Tuesday. HMIe said it would not need to re-visit the school in connection with this inspection.

 

Council ignores pleas for Scalloway school

A LAST minute attempt to delay the closure of Scalloway junior high school’s secondary department until at least 2018 has been heavily defeated by Shetland Islands Council.

Local councillor Betty Fullerton acknowledged Tuesday’s 15-5 vote to shut the secondary department may spell the end of her political career, after she went against the wishes of many of her constituents.

The parents council said they were “disappointed, but not surprised” by the decision, saying the SIC had consistently ignored the community’s wishes.

Tuesday’s vote followed a notice of motion signed by seven councillors, including the convener and vice convener.

Their call to delay the closure until a new Anderson High School had been built fuelled angry exchanges in the council chamber.

It would have overturned last December’s vote to transfer Scalloway’s 116 secondary pupils to Lerwick, saving more than £700,000 from the overstretched £42 million education budget.

Plans to transfer the pupils are well advanced after the Scottish government backed the council’s decision, having called the matter in earlier this year.

The motion highlighted concerns that Anderson High School did not have the social or canteen space to accommodate the new pupils.

But on Tuesday councillor after councillor said a recent visit to the Lerwick school had pointed out how much provision had been improved.

The meeting also heard that many pupils from the within the Scalloway catchment area were already attending the Anderson High.

The motion’s supporters spoke of a feeling of “bereavement” in the community since the council made its decision, while its opponents described the move as a “cynical attempt” to overcome a democratic decision.

Eventually just four of the seven councillors who originally signed the motion voted for it - Iris Hawkins, Andrew Hughson, Robert Henderson and Laura Baisley. The only other member to back them was Shetland North member Addie Doull.

Signatories Alastair Cooper and vice convener Josie Simpson voted against, while convener Sandy Cluness was away in Estonia on business.

Mrs Fullerton, who represents the area and chairs the new children, families and learning committee, said she had be inundated with email messages over the weekend, some of which had a threatening tone.

Last December she voted to retain the school and just one week ago had voiced support for Tuesday’s motion. However on Tuesday she changed her mind.

“I am in a very difficult position here. I voted last time to keep it open. However we have moved on since then and we are well down the transition period. I will probably not be here for the next council.”

Shetland South member Rick Nickerson warned that councillors would be a laughing stock if the motion won the day. “It would make us look silly if this goes ahead,” he said.

Lerwick North member Allan Wishart added: “If we go with the motion it will be damaging for the pupils, for the community and ultimately for Shetland.”

New political leader Josie Simpson said he had signed the motion to allow the local members the chance to debate the issue again, adding that he was “pleasantly surprised” by what they had seen on their visit to the AHS.

After the meeting Scalloway parent council vice chairwoman Karen Eunson said parents had viewed this as their last chance to save the school.

“We are very disappointed, but perhaps not surprised. We feel that we presented a very strong case on behalf of the school, parents, pupils and the community in December. We feel we were ignored then, and we have been ignored again today.”

Scalloway junior high will close this summer

COUNCILLORS have voted to close Scalloway junior high school's secondary department at the end of the summer term by 15 votes to five.

Shetland Islands Council threw out a motion put forward by seven councillors that the school should be kept open until a new Anderson High School had been built in Lerwick, which is estimated for 2017.

North Roe & Sandness to remain open

COUNCILLORS have voted to keep North Roe primary school open by 12 votes to eight, and to retain Sandness by 13 votes to seven, confirming all the decisions taken by the SIC services committee last week.

Uyeasound & Burravoe closures confirmed

SHETLAND Islands Council has confirmed the closure of the primary schools in Uyeasound (12-8) and Burravoe (11-9) at its meeting on Tuesday morning.

In brief for 16 May 2011

Crime down

 SHETLAND has experienced a 14 per cent reduction in crime combined with a small increase in detection rates from 67 to 68.3 per cent, Northern Constabulary reported on Monday.

Across the region as a whole crime levels have fallen by 8.6 per cent, with overall detection rates standing at 67.9 per cent. There is a 96.9 per cent detection rate for serious crimes.

Orkney has seen a 17 per cent decrease in crime, with detection rates of nearly 70 per cent.

Thanking the public for their help, chief constable George Graham said: “These results show that excellent police work has continued to drive crime down and maintain the highest detection rates in the UK against a backdrop of an extremely challenging and uncertain financial climate. This is clearly one of the highest performing forces in the UK and my aim is to keep it that way.”

Faroe delegation

 FAROESE trade minister Johan Dahl leads a delegation to Shetland on Tuesday to further strengthen economic and political links between the island groups.

During the visit, which follows a Shetland Islands Council trip to Faroe in March, the five strong team will meet folk from the Total gas project, Viking Energy, Lerwick Port Authority and Tesco.

They will then travel by ferry to Aberdeen to attend the All Energy Expo, Europe’s largest renewable energy exhibition, where they will meet staff from HIE Shetland.

SIC economy committee chairman Alastair Cooper said: “Future co-operation, particularly in the fields of telecoms and energy, offers opportunities which can provide great benefits to both our communities. This is a tremendous chance to explore our future working together.”

NorthLink at Expo

FERRY operators are pushing to earn more money from freight business by attending the All Energy Expo in Aberdeen this week.

NorthLink is offering “bespoke freight solutions” to the renewables industry using its vessels Helliar and Hildasay, with a focus on the European Marine Energy centre, in Orkney.

Senior manager shore support services Eddie Barclay said: “We believe that with the recent addition of MV Helliar to our fleet we now offer an unrivalled freight service to and from the northern isles.

“Significantly, and in response to customer demand, it is now a daily service and feedback indicates that this has been much appreciated by new and old customers.”

Streamlining aquaculture

REPRESENTATIVES of five Scottish local authorities have met in Shetland to streamline the planning process for fish farms to make it easier for them to expand.

Councils from Shetland, Orkney, Western Isles, Argyll & Bute and Highland want to bring the offshore planning system in line with onshore developments, including online applications and a standardised application form for Scotland.

SIC head of planning Iain McDiarmid said: “The aquaculture industry makes a major contribution to the economy of Shetland and provides vital employment in rural and remote areas.

"By streamlining the planning process we hope to encourage further investment and create more local jobs.

“Shetland has long been recognised as a centre of expertise in aquaculture and we have led the way in granting permissions for aquaculture developments.

“We will continue to collaborate with the other four local authorities through annual meetings to further improve planning processes.”

Equitable Life

ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael is encouraging anyone affected by the collapse of life insurance company Equitable Life to contact him if they wish to discuss the latest announcement about the compensation scheme.

On Monday the Treasury said that compensation payments would not be taxed and would not affect eligibility for tax credits, and policyholders do not need to do anything to claim their payments.

The MP said the introduction of a fair, transparent and independent compensation scheme for Equitable Life policy holders was a key Liberal Democrat pledge before the general election last year.

“I know that many of people in the northern isles will take an interest in the announcement today. If any of those who were affected by the collapse of the company would like to discuss these proposals with me in greater detail then I would encourage them to get in touch,” he said.

Moving On survey

THE SUCCESSFUL Shetland charity Moving On, which has been shortlisted for Scottish Charity of the Year 2011, has launched an online survey to help it improve its service.

The Moving On Employment project was set up in 1997 at Lerwick’s Eric Gray Resource Centre to give adults a taste of work, but quickly progressed to provide a much wider service helping people with barriers to employment find a job or a training post.

The survey is being distributed to employers, volunteers and local partnership agencies and is accessible online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/MOEP.

Last year’s survey led to new developments, such as the transition support service for young people and funding for additional support workers.

 

 

Robbers sought after Lerwick mugging

SHETLAND police are hunting two robbers who attacked a man near Lerwick’s Gilbertson Park in the early hours of Sunday morning. 

Police said at around 2.15am the victim was approached by two men in their 20s with Scottish accents. They assaulted him and then took his money.

One of the two was six foot tall wearing a white baseball cap and blue jeans, while the other was about five foot seven inches with a white tracksuit top and jeans.

Anyone in the area or who saw men fitting this description at the time are being urged to contact the police on 01595 692110.

The cells at Lerwick police station were full to capacity over the weekend, leading the police to issue a warning that they would deal “robustly” with drunken anti social behaviour.

At 2am on Saturday morning a man was assaulted on Lerwick’s St Magnus Street. Police are looking for witnesses, but said they were following a positive line of enquiry to identify the assailant.

At 1.45am on Saturday morning police were called to Posers nightclub, in Lerwick, where an assault was alleged to have happened. A man was subsequently arrested and a report is being sent to the procurator fiscal.

In the early hours of Monday morning two men were arrested for fighting on Lerwick’s Commercial Street and are being reported to the fiscal.

Police confiscated music equipment from a house in the town after four attempts to get the noise turned down, and have charged and reported the householder to the fiscal.

Two men were issued with £40 fixed penalties for openly drinking from a can of lager in Lerwick’s Old North Road in breach of local byelaws.

A driver has been charged with various road traffic offences after a car was found abandoned in Weisdale having left the road and hit a crash barrier. One of the charges is failing to report the accident.

Another driver was issued with a fixed penalty after he was caught driving without a seatbelt.

Acting chief inspector Eddie Graham said the cells at Lerwick police station had been full to capacity over the weekend, placing a huge strain on police resources, adding that most of the incidents were due to drunkenness.

He said: “It will come as no surprise to the public that most incidents which police deal with on a day to day basis are alcohol fuelled and this has a direct consequence in terms of police visibility dealing with the aftermath of these offences, not to mention the victims this also creates.

“It is a strategic priority of Northern Constabulary to reduce incidents of anti social behaviour and drink fuelled violence, and as such police will robustly deal with such people committing these offences.

“Excessive consumption of alcohol is neither an excuse nor a defence for appalling and unacceptable behaviour and recent sentences handed down to perpetrators of these offences would suggest that the court takes a similar view.”

 

Round up from Lerwick Sheriff Court

Drink driver banned

A LERWICK man who admitted drink driving when he appeared at the town’s sheriff court from custody on Monday has been fined £700 and disqualified for two years.

Jason King, aged 37, of 5-7 Goodlad Crescent, admitted being more than twice the legal limit for alcohol when he was stopped on Lerwick’s South Road on Sunday.

Sheriff Graeme Napier told King that he could reduce his ban by six months if he attended an alcohol awareness course.


Hammered on door

A MAN who admitted hammering on a door at a house in Lerwick’s Gilbertson Road on Saturday appeared from custody on Monday.

Adam Wyrzykowski, aged 34, of 22 Arheim, pled guilty to threatening or abusive behaviour and was released on bail after sentence was deferred until 15 June for reports to be compiled.

As part of his bail conditions he must not approach his girlfriend or her house.


Assault charge

THE CASE against a 21 year old Bressay man has been continued without plea after he appeared from custody on Monday charged with assaulting two men in Lerwick on Saturday.

Liam Hunter, of Hirnik, is charged with repeatedly punching one man on the head on Muir’s Steps, and spitting in the face as well as punching the head of another man on Commercial Street.

West side man Edward Rankin, aged 24, of The Manse, Gruting, also made no plea after being charged with shouting, swearing and making threats at a house in Lerwick’s St Olaf Street, on Sunday.

He is also charged with struggling with police officers and committing both offences while on bail from Paisley Sheriff Court.

Men admit breaking into sheltered homes

TWO Lithuanian men have been warned they could face jail after pleading guilty to breaking into two sheltered homes in Lerwick over the weekend.

Appearing from custody at Lerwick Sheriff Court on Monday, 30 year old Nerijas Kalkauskas, of 29 Cheyne Crescent, Lerwick admitted stealing a wallet containing £275 from a house occupied by an 85 year old man in the town’s Burgh Road on Sunday.

Kalkauskas and his 27 year old friend Tomas Levandacius, of 24 King Harald Street, Lerwick, also admitted stealing a TV and a watch from a sheltered house a few doors away.

Sheriff Graeme Napier deferred sentence for reports and released both men on bail until 15 June, warning them that they could be sent to prison for their actions.

 

Swimming: Amy gears up for games

Amy Harper: Five freestyle gold medals.NINETEEN year old Amy Harper from Gulberwick enjoyed an outstanding weekend winning five gold medals at the Scottish Amateur Swimming Association’s East District Open Championship in Glasgow.

Harper achieved three personal best times to win gold in the 50m freestyle, the 100m freestyle and the 400m freestyle on Saturday.

On Sunday the gold rush continued with gold in both the 200m and 800m freestyle races.

Highlight of the weekend was the 50m freestyle in which Harper’s time of 27.41 seconds qualified her to take part in the British Gas ASA National Championships in Sheffield in June.

Later that month she will be on of 163 swimmers competing in the Island Games in the Isle of Wight, where she will be in a strong position to be one of Shetland’s medal winners.

In brief for 15 May 2011

Trouble at Posers

 POLICE are appealing for witnesses after a man was taken to Gilbert Bain Hospital following a disturbance at Lerwick’s Posers nightclub in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Anyone who saw what happened that night is asked to contact the police on 01595 692110 or anonymously on 0800 555111

Coastguard rescue

SHETLAND coastguard co-ordinated the rescue of four people on board a dive boat two and a half miles west of Rora Head, on the isle of Hoy.

The crew of the Jean Elaine contacted the coastguard after the vessel started taking in water around 12.50pm on Saturday. The Stromness lifeboat attended, put pumps on board and escorted the boat back to port.

 

MCA removes coastguard gagging order

THE GOVERNMENT has caved in to the outcry over its refusal to allow Shetland coastguard officers to give evidence to the House of Common transport select committee.

Last week the Maritime & Coastguard Agency instructed their officers at the closure-threatened Lerwick coastguard co-ordinating station to decline any invitation to speak at the select committee’s inquiry, when it sits in Stornoway on Thursday.

The move infuriated both the coastguard officers and committee chairwoman Louise Ellman MP, who accused shipping minister Mike Penning of going back on a promise to Parliament.

On Friday, five days after the original instruction, the MCA staged a U turn and said that two coastguard officers could attend the hearing as long as they did so as PCS union members rather than coastguard staff.

Union officials Alex Dodge and Bob Skinley, who will now travel to the western isles to give evidence, said that it appeared to be an exercise in semantics.

In a joint statement over the weekend, they said: "Whilst it seems to be a ridiculous exercise in splitting hairs, we are delighted to now have the proper opportunity to speak before the committee.

“Yet again the government and the MCA seem to have shot themselves in the foot over this, but at least some common sense seems to have prevailed at last."

In December the MCA proposed halving the number of coastguard station around the UK, leaving just one 24 hour operation in Scotland in Aberdeen, supported by a daytime only service in either Lerwick or Stornoway.

In March shipping minister Mike Penning, during a visit to Shetland, said that he did not think those original proposals would come about as a result of an extensive public consultation.

The all party transport select committee is carrying out an inquiry into the coastguard proposals, along with the decision to remove the four emergency towing vessels based around the UK coastline and the offshore fire fighting service.

Football: Whalsay’s revenge on Whitedale

Madrid Cup – Group One

 Ness Utd 0 v Spurs 1
Connel Gresham’s goal separated the sides in a tense battle at Boddam pitch.

Thistle 0 v Delting 3
The Delts continue their return to form with goals from Ross MacDougal and a Kevin Main brace.

Madrid Cup - Group Two

Celtic 2 v Scalloway 0
Glenn Henderson  and Lowrie Simpson’s goals keep Celtic in the hunt for the semi-finals.

Whalsay 7 v Whitedale 1
A bit of a shock considering the Westsiders won the last time round. Bryan Irvine completed a fine performance with four goals and James Shearer hit a hat trick. Gary Tulloch got the consolation for Whitedale.

Chiropractic Reserve League

Ness Utd B 6 v Unst 0
Goals from Martin Henderson (2), Steven Smith, Kyle Malcolmson, Michael Adamson and Grant Redfern ensured a comfortable win for the home side.

 

Tavish tables ferry contract questions

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott has shot out of the traps after his party’s election defeat and his resignation as Scottish party leader to pressure the new SNP government over their plans for the northern isles lifeline ferry service.

Accusing the previous SNP minority administration of trying to “sneak through cuts” to the ferry service by running them slower on less fuel with fewer trips during winter, Mr Scott is now demanding assurances over the timescale of the new contract.

Last week Shetland transport partnership ZetTrans and current operators NorthLink voiced concern about slow progress on the new contract, which is due to commence in 14 months.

Now Mr Scott has tabled parliamentary questions seeking details of the dates for the various stages of the consultation and tendering process.

He is particularly interested when a draft specification will be put out to consultation and what consultation will there be.

“People are right to be worried about the lack of visible progress. We have little over a year to go until the end of the current contract but we still have to see what they are proposing to put out to tender,” he said.

“The last SNP government tried to sneak through cuts to the current contract with slower running ferries and fewer services in winter. But they had to back down when their plans rightly met universal condemnation.

“We need to see as soon as possible what they are proposing for the next contract so that businesses, trade bodies and individuals can all have their say.”

The MSP said that any form of cuts to the passenger and ferry services would “not be acceptable”, and that instead the service should be improved, especially during the refit period.

He also called for the government to “look again” at NorthLink’s proposal for couchettes to tackle the demand for on board accommodation during the busy tourist season.

“This is Shetland’s main lifeline link to the south – of vital importance to our social and economic life. The new government must make it clear that they accept that and that it will be improved and not cut.”

 

Whale dies after three day ordeal

The long finned long-finned pilot whale had spent three days swimming around the busy oil port - Photo: Austin TaylorA SICK long-finned pilot whale that had spent three days swimming around the busy oil port of Sullom Voe finally beached itself and died early on Sunday morning.

The whale, which measured 4.6 metres, had been escorted into the harbour by two fellow whales on Thursday who then left it to fend for itself.

Port operators Shetland Islands Council kept a close eye on the creature, which on Friday threatened to disrupt the work being carried out by Dutch marine contractors Van Oord who are laying rock to protect new pipelines that are being laid for the new Total gas plant.

The port is busier than it has been for years with the building of the £500 million gas plant, along with an accommodation block at Sella Ness for up to 800 construction workers.

The whale shortly after it died in the early hours of Sunday morning while work continued round the clock in Sullom Voe, busy with the construction work for the new gas plant - Photo: Shetland NewsCrowds of people started to gather to watch the whale on Friday as it swam to the head of Garth's Voe.

Animal welfare charity SSPCA raised concerns about one man who donned a wet suit and spent a half an hour with the whale as his friends looked on.

Local inspector Ron Patterson said: “I was very disappointed to hear about the man who was in the water with the whale.

“Members of the public need to realise that although it’s not an offence to go into the water, it is an offence to interfere with a sick or injured animal under the 2006 animal health act.”

Mr Patterson said that the whale continued to swim around the head of the voe throughout Saturday, until it beached around 10pm and died at low tide about three hours later.

He said it appeared to rally shortly before it died and had been swimming quite powerfully earlier in the evening.

On Sunday the port’s engineering manager Andrew Inkster said that the authority had taken the dead whale off the beach and was holding it until Monday morning when Scottish Natural Heritage would arrange for samples to be taken to find out the cause of death.

In brief for 13 May 2011

Fishing’s now “sexy”

 NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael has said that he is delighted the issue of fisheries management has become “politically sexy”, after a House of Commons debate on discards this week.

Calling for a root and branch review of European fisheries policy and greater industry involvement in management decisions, Mr Carmichael argued that environmental and economic interests could complement each other.

He said: “We need to have a management system that takes account of both the economic interests of the industry and the ecology of our seas. The existing EU Common Fisheries Policy does neither. Root and branch reform of the policy is required if the long term interests of the sector are to be protected.

"I am delighted that at last the issue of fisheries management seems to have become politically ‘sexy’ enough to get attention in the House of Commons from people who come from non-fishing communities."

Below the line

SHETLAND solicitor Brian Inkster, based in Glasgow, has joined his colleagues who are spending five days living on just £1 a day to raise awareness and funds to tackle extreme poverty around the planet.

Mr Inkster said: "It has been a tough week. Careful planning is essential at the start of the challenge to make that £5 go as far as it possibly can. No snacks or treats all week.

“Porridge for breakfast, potato soup for lunch and cheap rice, pasta or couscous with root vegetables for dinner has been my staple diet for the week. It makes you appreciate the luxuries in life that we really have and take for granted on a daily basis.

“Joining the challenge gives you a better understanding of the challenges faced by people living in real poverty".

More information can be found at http://www.livebelowtheline.org.uk and http://www.inksters.com/livingbelowtheline

Deep sea concerns

SCIENTISTS have called for more discussion about the ecological impact of deep sea drilling for oil and gas following the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago.

Professor Monty Priede of the University of Aberdeen and Dr Henry Ruhl of the National Oceanography Centre have called for independent monitoring of deep sea exploration and exploitation using underwater monitoring equipment uploading real time images to the internet.

They say the European Commission and United Nations should push the issue and their proposals, published in the scientific journal Nature, have the backing of the General Assembly of the European Seas Observatory NETwork (ESONET).

Next week the Maritime & Coastguard Agency will be carrying out one of the biggest ever oil spill exercises in Aberdeen and Shetland as a response to the Gulf of Mexico disaster in April 2010.

 

Wave power firm looking for sites

A SECOND wave power company has been in Shetland to explore the potential of setting up a power station on the west coast of the islands.

On Friday Edinburgh-based Aquamarine Power met with the Shetland Marine Renewable Energy Group, which includes representatives from Shetland Charitable Trust, Shetlands Islands Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage and NAFC Marine Centre.

The company wants to identify a site to deploy its Oyster wave power device, which is currently being tested at Orkney’s European Marine Energy Centre.

Senior site developer Marc Murray said they were concentrating their attention on Shetland’s north west and south west coasts, which had the “best wave resource”, namely large and predictable waves travelling in a uniform direction.

The Oyster “flaps” back and forth, pushing water up pipelines onto a shore-based hydro electric power station, so it needs a stable seabed and low cliffs, he said..

Swedish energy giant Vattenfall are already working with marine energy firm Pelamis to create a wave farm using the Sea Snake off the Burra coast.

Both developments will not go ahead without the sub-sea interconnector cable to export power to Scotland, which has been promised if the Viking Energy wind farm is given the go ahead.

Mr Murray said that they had received a very positive response in Shetland to their ideas, which is no surprise considering the £2 million investment the company has made in Orkney over the past two years.

Their main focus at the moment is meeting people who can help them find the ideal spot to plan their wave station, he said.

Mr Murray can be contacted at marc.murray@aquamarinepower.com

Ann Black, who chairs the marine renewable energy group, welcomed the company’s interest and said they looked forward to working closely with them over the coming months to develop Shetland’s nascent marine energy industry.

Troubled pilot whale at Sullom Voe

Wildlife experts are keeping a close eye on this long-finned pilot whale near the Sullom Voe TerminalA LONG-finned pilot whale which has got into difficulty in Sullom Voe is threatening to force work to stop on the new gas pipeline for the Total plant currently under construction.

The five metre long whale was first seen swimming near the Sella Ness harbour buildings on Thursday and environmentalists kept a close eye on the creature until the early hours of Friday morning.

During that time the whale beached, and then thrashed its tail until it was back swimming in the water again.

By Friday morning the whale was floating just off the beach directly outside Sullom Voe oil terminal, occasionally swimming in circles and then resting again.

Andrew Inkster, engineering manager for Shetland Islands Council’s ports and harbours department, said the whale had first been seen with two other whales in Brae earlier in the week.

All three had appeared at Sullom Voe on Thursday morning and during the day the two healthy whales had disappeared, leaving this creature on its own.

Dutch marine contractors Van Oord are working nearby loading rock onto barges and transporting it to dump on top of the inshore section of two gas pipelines that have been laid next to Total’s gas plant construction site.

“If it goes over to the pier we shall have to cease operations until it decides what it wants to do,” Mr Inkster said.

He added that there was concern that people coming to see the whale could impede the trucks carrying rock by parking their vehicles close by.

Jan Bevington, of Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, spent several hours watching the whale on Thursday evening. Speaking from Sullom Voe on Friday, she said the whale was not in good condition at all.

“It’s completely disoriented and I don’t know how long it will hold, but it’s better than last night, so we shall just have to wait and see what happens,” she said.

In brief for 12 May 2011

Speeding

 THREE drivers were stopped by police for breaking the 20mph speed limit outside Sound primary school, in Lerwick, during Northern Constabulary’s “day of action” on speeding and seatbelts on Wednesday.

Inspector Eddie Graham said that two drivers had been issued with fixed penalties, while a third had been reported to the procurator fiscal.

He said: "It’s disappointing that we still have individuals involved in speeding offences particularly outside schools. Motorists should be mindful of the very real dangers in relation to children and pedestrian traffic.”

Coastguard concern

THE CHAIRWOMAN of the House of Commons transport select committee has voiced her “disappointment” at Shetland coastguard officers being ordered not to give evidence on plans to close the Lerwick station.

Louise Ellman MP said shipping minister Mike Penning had gone back on his word that coastguard personnel could give evidence.

She said: “A month ago the minister gave a commitment to Parliament that all staff would be able to give evidence to the select committee and we have already received written evidence from these same coastguards. This is a matter of great concern."

Bigton shop

MORE than 40 local people turned out to a meeting to discuss a community buy out of the shop in Bigton on Wednesday.

The whole community is to be asked if they support the venture and how much they would be prepared to invest if a community benefit society was set up and registered with the Financial Services Authority.

Tingwall & Girlsta

FOLK in Tingwall and Girlsta are being invited to plan their future, with the council canvassing local opinions on public transport, renewable energy, local employment, the environment, communications, housing and local community issues.

The Tingwall and Girlsta Profile Steering Group was set up a year ago and has developed a set of questions to be sent to every household in the area. A specific questionnaire has been prepared for young people and P7 pupils at Tingwall primary school.

“We feel it is very important to obtain the views of young and old alike,” chairman Andrew Hughson said.

The results will help the council draw up a draft community profile which will be presented at a public meeting. Anyone who does not receive a questionnaire can contact area community worker Mick Clifton on 01595 745303.

 

Trust earned £11m last year

SHETLAND Charitable Trust earned around £11 million from its investments of £181 million during 2010/11, a meeting of the trust heard on Thursday morning.

Trustees expressed their dissatisfaction with property managers Schroders who did not meet expectations.

The other two fund managers, Black Rock (equity) and Insight Investment Management (bonds), did meet their performance targets. IIM was congratulated on a “very good performance”.

Financial controller Jeff Goddard told trustees that international markets were continuing to recover and reminded them to take a long term view on investments.

He added that the trust had a further £30 million invested in local companies and property. As of last Friday, the trust had a total value of £211.3 million

 

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