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Voluntary Action Shetland

New Shetlander  270 - Yule 2014


The Yule issue of the New Shetlander appears on Friday 12 December; its content is as varied as ever. The striking cover, an underwater photograph by Donald Jefferies, comes from the lead article, Shetland’s sunken treasures, by Laurie Goodlad of Shetland Museum and Archives, which focuses on the Drottningen af Swerige (Queen of Sweden), wrecked off the Knab in 1745. The article is well supplied with photographs by Davy Cooper.

The editorial reflects on the past year, which has in various ways been ‘a year like no other’. Stella Sutherland continues her series of recollections of Foula with an account of Da Hallowmass Banket, an unusual event she took part in at the age of eleven and has never forgotten. Howard Towll presents an illustrated article with a disturbing title: Where have all the eiders gone? Jordan Ogg, by contrast, has been looking at the world of folklore, in particular the njuggles of Shetland and the varying beliefs associated with them in different parts of the isles. Linda Riddell writes a detailed article with the unusual title ‘Sir Walter Scott’s piano’: the life and times of Dorothea Primrose Campbell. Miss Campbell, who lived in the early 19th century, was the first published Shetland writer of poetry and fiction, and lived in straitened circumstances. A series of letters reveals her attempts to secure monetary support from a variety of sources - hence the mention of Sir Walter Scott.

There are several short stories. Jim Mainland recounts the tale of The Thing, which may leave readers with a sense of unease. Annie Broon brings to life a set of characters during their working day: some Coonty men, disturbed by shearing through Da clay pipe.

The New Shetlander is, as always, delighted to publish Shetland Library’s Young Writer competition winners: Chloe Irvine of Whalsay, Megan Nisbet of Yell, Merran Thompson of Voe and Emma Leask of Gulberwick. Their winning entries – three stories and a poem – appear here. This year the competition drew more entries than ever, and joint awards were presented in both Senior and Junior sections; the Dialect prize was also a joint award.

Poetry comes from Bruce Eunson, Christine De Luca, Laureen Johnson, James Sinclair, Gordon Dargie, Kay Wheatcroft, Colin Honnor and Cecil Tait. A previously unpublished poem by Rhoda Bulter commemorates Remembrance Day in 1969.

Book reviews complete the magazine. The New Shetlander is priced as usual at £2.

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