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Voluntary Action Shetland
244 Simmer 2008

Issue 244  Simmer 2008  

The Simmer issue of the New Shetlander, Number 244, is now on sale. The striking cover is from an oil painting by the late Frank S. Walterson. Frankie, a long-serving member of the New Shetlander committee, was famous for his cartoons, which were a major feature in the magazine. His serious painting is less well-known. The beautiful cover picture is a portrait of Frankie’s father, Robert James Walterson of West Burrafirth.

 Number 244 has a strong local history bias, reflecting some of the excellent current research ongoing in Shetland. Norman Moncrieff has contributed a substantial piece of work in Memories of the ‘Brenda’ and the Bressay Ferry Service, which is sure to create much interest. William John Kirkpatrick, Jim (‘Jimbo’) Clark, and a host of other characters feature. The article is written with obvious enjoyment, and enhanced with fine photographs and lively anecdotes about many things including a stranding, a cruise liner visit to Noss, and the transport of rams.

Charlie Simpson describes a piece of research which arose while he was rewriting the guidebook to Lerwick Town Hall. He was asked to identify and sort out all the heraldic shields on the ceiling – a task which had last been attempted in 1975, but never completed. It is a story of detective work and perseverance, and readers may marvel at the wide range of shields now neatly identified in the colourful centre page spread.

Meanwhile, Brian Hunter has been considering Puzzles from the past: broch sites in Unst and Whalsay.


On the literature side, Mark Ryan Smith writes about the poetry of the Minstrel of the mossy isle, Thomas Irvine of Midbrake, Yell: early nineteenth century work that has previously been unknown to most people. Mark’s research, which focuses on the man himself as well as his poems, discovers that Irvine sheds an interesting light on the past history of the Shetland dialect.


Poet Lise Sinclair was recently part of a SCFWAG project celebrating the crofting landscape of Shetland. In Croftscapes and imagination, she describes the project and how she and her artist partner Tommy Hyndman approached it. Some of Lise’s poems feature alongside the article, and as usual there is other fine poetry elsewhere in the magazine.


The Wadder eye looks at some current important decisions facing Shetland, while the editorial makes a stand in favour of Mareel.


The number of new publications with local interest keeps increasing, as the New Shetlander review pages show. This issue includes a review by Michael Barnes, well-known authority on Norn, of a book which has already caused some controversy in Shetland.

The New Shetlander is priced at £1.90.

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