Oats and bere were for centuries Orkney’s staple diet; survival depended on the harvest. In the 20th century modern convenience foods came in, often based around wheat; and the harvest fields gradually vanished. But now there’s a new interest in oats and bere, with a growing body of research that shows that they’re healthier for us – as Prof. Karen Scott of Aberdeen University’s Rowett Institute explains.
Hear and see at first hand what's involved, from the tools and the skills to the finished instrument's unique personality. Orkney violin maker Colin Tulloch, with his son Findlay, describes the process, and violinist Charlotte Rowan explores the sound with examples from her musical repertoire.
The writer F. Marian McNeill, who died 50 years ago, worked through hard times to save Scottish heritage in books like The Scots Kitchen, The Scots Cellar, and the folklore series The Silver Bough. She was born in Holm, where her father was the Free Kirk minister; her mother came from Fochabers. Liz Ashworth tells the story of a life of warmth and resilience, with readings from Marian McNeill’s books and Douglas Montgomery playing his march F. Marian McNeill from Holm.
In the days of sail and wooden ships, Stromness harbour welcomed tall ships from many far places. Stromness-built ships also lay at anchor in the harbour, with a few berthed alongside merchants’ piers. Len Wilson, former boatbuilder, tells the story of the tall ships and the men who sailed them, while naval architect Dennis Davidson of Murray Cormack Design describes Stanger’s and Copland’s shipyards in Stromness and some of the ships they built.
Nine years ago Ben Weber, born in Orkney, where his parents lived in Stronsay and then Stromness, decided to develop a new pattern of life; and on 17 January this year he reached the South Pole after a 58-day, 700-mile trek alone across Antarctic ice and snow. He returns to Orkney to tell the story.
You’d think the toughest challenge of ultra-running would be the physical one, of covering marathon distances day in, day out, in sometimes extreme conditions. But no, says ultra-runner William Sichel, the hardest barrier is mental. He's applied the mental approach to big challenges in everyday life, building a business in Sanday and coping with health problems and bereavement. It's also taken him through the world’s hottest race in Badwater and then in 2014 the ultimate test: the 3,100 miler.
St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall The Sun is setting off south again after its week in the Cathedral, and here's a final opportunity to see it and enjoy music, songs, poems and stories to wish it well on its way. Among those taking part are ... the Archipelago String Quartet, poets Alison Miller and Yvonne Gray, storytellers Tom Muir and Fran Flett Hollinrake, and St Magnus Cathedral Choir. Tickets will be available from 1 September from Orkney Museum and St Magnus Cathedral. £10 adults, £5 children.