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Also in the news / Cabin space demand, new crofting chair, fiddle concerts and more…

Hamars Ness terminal. Photo: SIC

FERRY crossings to and from Fetlar will be for foot passengers only for a five day period in early September to allow for the replacement of the linkspan at the Hamars Ness terminal.

Shetland Islands Council will carry out this essential maintenance from 7.45pm on Thursday 7 September until 6am on Tuesday 12 September 2023, weather permitting.

On Thursday 7 September the last service to take vehicles out of Fetlar will be the 7.40pm sailing to Gutcher.  The last service to take vehicles into Fetlar via Unst will be the 7.05pm sailing from Belmont.

Anyone with restricted mobility may not be able to safely board and disembark the vessel using the gangway at Fetlar, and they are asked to contact the council’s ferry services department on 01595 744200.

Shetland Islands Council said it would like to apologise for any inconvenience that these essential works may cause.

LOCAL MSP Beatrice Wishart is calling on transport minister Fiona Hyslop to instigate an assessment of how more cabin space on board the NorthLink ferries could be created.

The MSP said that more than 350 responses of a total of over 1,000 she had received as part of her recent booking survey highlighted the access to cabin space, including the reintroduction of shared cabins, as a major issue.

Wishart also called for the unpopular sleeping pods to be ditched.

“I don’t think anyone would believe it unreasonable to seek a place to lie flat on a fourteen-hour trip where you hope to get some sleep. People very often tell me that if they have tried a pod once they don’t want to experience them again,” she said.

“While I understand the offer on board of a range of options there is a clear call from passengers about increasing capacity for more berths in cabins.

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“I would like to see a return to shared cabin bookings for those wishing to travel by that means. I am also calling for an assessment of how more cabin spaces could be configured on existing vessels.

“Additionally I would like to see consideration given to do away with the unpopular pod rooms in favour of utilising the space for more cabins and berths on future vessels with innovative ideas investigated from similar relevant overnight accommodation.”

THE SCOTTISH Crofting Federation (SCF) has appointed a new chief executive to replace Patrick Krause.

Donna Smith will take up her new post in October this year.

Newly elected SCF chair Donna Smith

Originally from Thurso, she was brought up in the Highlands, attended Heriot Watt University and worked across the UK for a number of years.

She then returned to area, where worked for the crofting federation before starting her own business consultancy.

“There are many challenges for crofting in Scottish rural policy formation so we need a strong collective voice to speak on behalf of crofters and crofting,” Smith said.

“My priority will be to grow the SCF membership and ensure that the voice of crofters is heard loud and clear in policy circles. Scotland is a very vibrant and progressive country, looking to build a new, more nature-friendly agriculture system and reforming how we use our land.

“Crofting is good for people, good for production and good for the planet and it will be my privilege to work on behalf of crofters and crofting in continuing to promote these points.”

THIS year’s Shetland Arts’ Folk Frenzy summer school will culminate in two concerts on Thursday and Friday showcasing student’s learning as well as local talent.

Promised to be a lively event, the Tutors’ Concert will take place in Mareel on Thursday 10 August at 7.30pm including a performance from popular local band Vair.

The Big Gig takes place in Mareel the following day at 7.30pm when Folk Frenzy tutors and participants perform together, as well as local trad band Haltadans.

This concert brings participants and tutors together from all over the world to perform the pieces of music and arrangements they have been working on throughout the week.

Tickets for both gigs are available online from tickets.shetlandarts.org, in person at the Mareel box office or by calling 01595 745500.

HERIOT-Watt University is launching a new Master of Science degree programme to provide advanced training in the increasingly urgent work of energy transition.

The programme is taught in person at the University’s Orkney campus and focuses on technologies, systems, processes and economics, alongside the design of transition projects to move away from fossil fuels and accelerate the integration of renewable energy.

The programme has been developed by Professor Susan Krumdieck, an international expert in energy transition research.

“If the world is to decarbonise and reach net zero emissions by 2050, whole systems will have to be redesigned and redeveloped, including energy infrastructure, technology, regulation and markets,” she said.

“Students will tackle real-world problems – like transition to walkable neighbourhoods, or net zero products – and will learn use of digital tools to model and analyse transition scenarios.”

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