ONLINE Research students from three universities – Heriot-Watt, Robert Gordon, and UHI – share news of the progress of their work, hosted by Dr Mike Bell of Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Island Technology in the Stromness campus with its views out across the harbour to Graemsay, Hoy and Scapa Flow.
Phoenix Cinema, Kirkwall The Sun, our closest star, provides all the heat and light required for life on our world. Glancing up, it may appear to us to be just a boring, bright globe in our skies. Not so, says Prof. Robert Walsh of the University of Central Lancashire, introducing us to a close encounter. “Your star is a massive atom smashing machine; a seething mass of electrified gases that at times is anything but quiet and uninteresting. In this talk we will learn how important the Sun is for us here
Our island adventure will start with the ferry from Houton where we can look out for seabirds and cetaceans. Once on Flotta, we will enjoy a leisurely walk round the island enjoying the scenery and a wide variety of wildlife. Bring a picnic. Please note the ferry fare is included in the price. Medium 2–3 hours, Easy, £33pp It is possible to use the local bus service for this walk. Stagecoach service No 2 from Kirkwall to Houton can stop at the end of the Gyre road on request. Megan’s aim with the Festival walks
Broad Street, Kirkwall It’s a great sight on Broad Street in front of the Cathedral, with an opportunity to see cars that can range in time from a Model T Ford from 1915 to a new electric vehicle of today – and with over a hundred years of vintage vehicles, classic cars and tractors in between, along with the sound of engines in action, and all beautifully restored. You can hear the stories from the owners of how a vehicle might have been gently rusting away over long years and then through
ONLINE Join geologist Dr John Flett Brown on the classic Orkney walk along the West Shore of Stromness in this new film made by Mark Jenkins. Starting from the Point of Ness, with views across Hoy Sound to Graemsay and Hoy, the journey begins with a fossil beach on the shore of ancient Lake Orcadie, the great lake from which today’s Orkney rocks began their story as sediments. As we walk on, the record of the rocks and their eras unfolds, layer by layer, following the story of the lake and the
Orphir Community Centre The John Rae Society welcome you to hear more about John Rae himself, and the plans for his birthplace, the Hall of Clestrain, and hear the story of the Northwest Passage. Polar historian Dr Maria Casarini will speak about the search for the Passage and final link put into place by Rae, and sea ice expert Prof. Peter Wadhams will describe the changing climate conditions which are now opening up the Passage.
Art explores the deep time of geology in a new exhibition at the Pier Arts Centre, and this afternoon the artists are there to take you on a tour of it. You can join them in a workshop as well. The rock cycle concept looks over long stretches of time at how rocks form and weather, with the debris gradually forming new rocks as the cycle goes round anew.
Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall Since early childhood, nature and animals have been naturalist/author Polly Pullar’s passion. She tells us about the joys and heartbreaks of hand-rearing and rehabilitating numerous wild creatures, from tiny naked squirrel kits to tawny owlets and hedgehogs. She also highlights the pressing need to care for nature in all forms, from the smallest insects and plants to habitat restoration. Polly speaks too about her newly-published memoir The Horizontal Oak, and her wonderful, feral childhood in Ardnamurchan where numerous animals, from pet sheep to a kestrel, shared her life. But
Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall It was washed up on the rocks below the cliffs of Rothiesholm in 1808 and if it was a basking shark then it was 15 feet longer than anything that has ever been recorded. And there is now a chance to find out for sure as a very small piece of material from its body has now been found, sent through a chain of several people and safely preserved for two centuries. The story involves several writers of the time, including Lord Byron – with further consequences. Howie Firth
ONLINE Oceanographer Dr Neil Banas of Strathclyde University looks at how a story by a master Haida mythteller, Skaay, reflects the marine ecology on the North Pacific Ocean’s edge. “He managed to capture the dynamics of ecosystems at the ‘edge of chaos’ in his mythic frame with an accuracy that mathematical modellers still struggle to duplicate.”
ONLINE Synthesizers are going through a revival, with sophisticated systems now available for low prices, providing a rich range of sounds to explore, often relaxing and sometimes ethereal with natural sounds blended in with new creations. A group of synthesiser players in the north has been meeting online to play together through the pandemic and inspire each other, and this evening they’d like you to join them to listen to a mixture of pieces and find out more about the workings of synthesisers and their sounds. Music comes from Maarten de Vries in the