In the Year of Scotland’s Islands, the Festival featured events across Orkney from an astronomy weekend in North Ronaldsay to an evening of underwater archaeology in the Hoy Kirk. It was opened by an islander – the Scottish science fiction writer Ken MacLeod who comes from the Western Isles.
Arctic islands of science and Arctic shipping highways, the story of Italian polar exploration, and the 200th anniversary of the building of the Bell Rock Lighthouse were all highlighted.
Despite the recent collapse of the financial sector, there are still areas where Scotland is a world leader. We are already building spaceships on the Clyde. In the future, I think we will need to become people who can turn themselves to many kinds of work with connections within and without. In other words, we all have to be like islanders.
The skies above Orkney’s most northerly island are among the darkest in Europe. The winning images from the first two second annual competitions for North Ronaldsay night sky photographs shows the sharpness and clarity with which features can be seen.
Science fiction predictions, the past glories of the church organ and a new electronic recreation, a trip to Hoy to hear about underwater archaeology, the bright light of photobiology, plus opportunities to chat about it all over some fine Orkney food and drink…
Music and art, crafts and costumes, stories of people and ideas, all in the setting of the Earl’s and Bishop’s Palaces in Kirkwall, Orkney, in the 21st Orkney International Science Festival, September 2011.