It's one of Orkney's most magnificent walks, with bird cliffs and spectacular rock scenery and views across the sea to Hoy. There are rock stacks too – the Castle of Yesnaby and North Gaulton Castle – and the feeling of an unexplored land. We meet in Stromness, where a minibus is waiting to take us to Yesnaby for the start.
See some of the Museum’s natural history collection, then set off to the Point of Ness and beyond to see seashells and stromatolites, granite rocks and wildflowers. On the way there are stories about famous naturalists such as Hugh Miller and Robert Rendall, and views across the harbour from the cannon and across Hoy Sound.
Come out to the West Shore for four family-friendly activities. Learn to identify seaweeds and make your own seaweed artwork. Forage for pigments and mark-making materials – and for seaweeds and plants. Build a beach fire to cook a foraged lunch. Search for fire flints and clays, and make your own Orkney shell farm game.
Conducted by Rev. Fraser Macnaughton, with the St Magnus Cathedral Choir. “Whether you come from north or south, east or west, whether you live here or are a visitor, are here for the first time, or are here regularly… you are welcome to our worship,” they say. There's an alternative online version as well.
That’s the title of Dr Malcolm Alexander's book, looking back at a year in the life of an Orkney doctor, in Eday in the 1980s. He joins us to reflect on the work of an island GP, living in the heart of the community, coping with the medical and emotional challenges and the varied situations that can emerge with weather or wildlife.
Around the North Isles, farmers have been looking back at the changes through their lifetimes in recorded interviews with Dr Tom Rendall and Ailsa Seatter. Sit back and listen to voices, with photographs past and present: Jimmy and Mary Lennie in Sanday, Irvine Miller in Stronsay, Ena Hewison in Eday, and Steven Drever in Westray.
This guided walk with Rangers Sandra Miller and Elaine Clarke of Historic Environment Scotland explains more about the site, its history, archaeological investigations and its place in Orkney's Neolithic past. Howie Firth accompanies them to highlight some of the astronomical questions raised over the years.
To reach Orkney in Neolithic times meant building vessels strong enough to cross the Pentland Firth and safely carry cattle and timber as well as people. This requires substantial ship design and boat-building – but how? Biophysicist Dr Mark Cooper of the University of Washington has looked at ancient seacraft designs in many places.
The atmosphere of the world-famous Ness of Brodgar excavations is captured in drawing, painting and sound, by Karen Wallis, an Artist in Residence since 2016. It's more than a documentary, evoking the physical existence of the dig and focusing on the archaeologists’ everyday process in a flow of voices and images.
"Come with us on a dramatic journey to the very edge of our solar system and back in our travelling planetarium! In real-time we'll be seeing the boundaries of human exploration and following in the footsteps of some very special space missions. There will be a second show at 7.30 pm." All tickets now sold.
The need to rethink the human relationship with the natural world is the context of Selena S. Kuzman’s new performance film. It draws on the old Highland stories of deer shapeshifting into women, bridging the human and natural worlds. Costume and headdress are created from found and pre-loved fabrics and objects from the past.
Music from the 17th century and today comes together with the poetry of John Donne, born 450 years ago, and the story of a terrible European war in which modern science was born. It wove together the lives of Donne, Kepler and Galileo, and also the Winter Queen, Elizabeth Stuart, granddaughter of Mary Queen of Scots.
Join an artist, a poet and a naturalist as they bring our attention to Orkney’s grasses. Made at the start of the grass season by Mark Jenkins, this film weaves natural history, botany, poetry and photography into a thoughtful and lingering visual experience. With Rebecca Marr, Valerie Gillies and John Crossley.
Mary Somerville was an astronomer, a mathematician, and a gifted writer. She carried out research into light and magnetism, pioneered new applications of mathematics to astronomy, and wrote textbooks and popular science books that achieved great success. She did all this despite being mainly self-taught, at a time when education for women was not encouraged. She was born in Jedburgh in 1780, the daughter of a Vice-Admiral, she spent her early years in Burntisland, Fife, and went on to become recognised as one of the most remarkable people of the 19th century. Cartographer Ian Archibald tells her story.
Sit back over a drink to hear the composer Edward McGuire in conversation, speaking about his setting of Three Donne Lyrics, and his interest in the life and work of Donne amidst the turmoil of the 17th-century scientific revolution. He describes too his own interest in astronomy, expressed in works ranging from Big Bang and Orbit to Symphonies of Galaxies. There’s an opportunity to put your own questions and to hear an introduction to the bass flute by flautist Ewan Robertson.