BEUY WHIT A WIND IT WIS LAST NIGHT!

September 11, 2023 → 9:00 pm10:00 pm

The Orkney Club, Kirkwall

It took haystacks and henhouses, and massive seas opened up Kirkwall’s waterfront. The previous year had seen a hurricane, and 1953 brought the full force of the weather on to Orkney again, as Dr Tom Rendall hears, with recordings past and present and archive photos from both years.

Joining him are Ailsa Seatter from Westray and Billy Cardno from Kirkwall, along with recently recorded accounts from Donnie Grieve in Harray, Isa Stanger in Kirkwall, Jim Pratt in Shapinsay and Jim Lennie in Sanday. Sarah Jane Gibbon reads a description written by her grandmother, Bessie Skea (Countrywoman).

Tickets £8 can be booked through this LINK.

There are stories of the 1952 hurricane on the About Orkney website, where Patricia Long looks at its scale.

“On 15th January 1952, winds stronger than any recorded in Britain before came roaring in from the south-west. The wind had reached gale force by 3 am and kept rising, peaking about three hours later. It’s impossible to say exactly what speed was reached, as the recorders went off the scale at 127 mph and stayed off for half an hour. Informed opinion estimated the maximum may have been about 135mph; hurricane force begins at 73mph.”

She quotes the description given by one West Mainland farmer to the Orkney Herald:

“I saw my barn collapse like a pack of cards, and my winter crop vanishing like smoke. Smaller sheds were going bounding across fields like rabbits, and as for my hens, I was picking them up next day from all over the parish. The chaos was indescribable, and I was frankly terrified. I thought even the farmhouse was going to go. It was rocking like a ship at sea.”

The hurricane in Orkney made national news headlines and was reported in cinemas across the country in the Gaumont British News.

THE THORFINN AND THE HURRICANE
CRACKING CONCRETE, GROWING CARROTS, SINKING CARBON

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