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Also in the news / Message in a bottle, new Vaila owner, fishing course and more…

Photo: Ian Towriess

A MESSAGE in a bottle thought to have been thrown in the sea more than ten years ago has washed up in Yell.

The bottle was found in Burravoe in Yell on Monday (1 January) – and it included a brief note and a 20p coin.

Photo: Ian Towriess

The message, written on the back of a prize draw ticket from 2012, read: “Hello, here is 20p from Alanah. Whalsay.”

Thanks to the powers of social media the bottle owner was tracked down as Alanah Shearer, who said she wrote the message when she was a child.

She said it was either sent from Challister in Whalsay, or on a trip to Skerries.

“I do remember finding 20p and putting it in a bottle and throwing it in the sea,” Shearer said. “It was such a while ago so I was kind of forgotten about.”


A MAN with involvement in the creation of the Z Hotels chain appears to be the new owner of the island of Vaila.

Documents from Registers of Scotland shows Johnathan Raymond as the new owner of the island off Shetland’s Westside.

It suggests that the sale went through for £1.75 million.

The island, complete with a B-listed hall and watch tower, went up for sale in 2022 with an asking price of at least £1.75 million.

Z Hotels has a number of hotels across the UK, mainly in London but also in Glasgow, Bath and Liverpool.

Raymond was approached for comment but did not respond.


Jen Stout in Ukraine.

LOCAL journalist Jen Stout’s book on covering the war in Ukraine over the last two years is now available for pre-orders from the publisher’s website here.

Night Train to Odesa: Covering the human cost of Russia’s war will be published by Birlinn on 2 May.

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Stout worked for BBC Radio Shetland for a year before heading to Russia on a nine-month assignment shortly before its assault on Ukraine.

Reporting on the plight of ordinary people, initially from the Romanian border and then from Ukraine, she had her work published by many national media organisations, but also contributed a number of personal accounts to Shetland News.


DUE to the high demand for folk wanting to start a career in fishing, UHI Shetland will be running a three-week Seafish Introduction to Commercial Fishing course from 29 January to 16 February at the Scalloway Campus.

This course is for anyone who wants to start working on a commercial fishing vessel, or has only had very limited experience on a fishing vessel.

It will give people a basic knowledge and awareness of different activities aboard commercial fishing vessels, and includes four mandatory one-day courses which are legally required to work on a fishing vessel – sea survival, health and safety, first aid and firefighting.

Daniel Lawson of Shetland Fishermen’s Association said: “This comes on the back of a successful course run in August 2023 with nine trainees. This interest is also matched with vessels willing to take on trainees following the completion of the training.”

For more information or to book a place on the course, and for advice on how to apply for funding contact training.shetland@uhi.ac.uk


THE HONORARY president of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust has been awarded an OBE New Year’s Honours List for his contribution to wildlife.

Roy Dennis, who received an MBE in 1992, said he was “very honoured” by his latest award.

He set up his own wildlife foundation in 1995, undertaking activities like species restoration work and bird migration research.


ENTRIES will soon be open for the FSB UK Celebrating Small Business Awards 2024.

The event honours small businesses and the self-employed across the UK.

Entries open on Monday (8 January) and close on Sunday 11February.

More information can be found here.

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