Shops and shoppers in Kirkwall will be back in action this year with the Great Molecule Hunt. It starts on Saturday 31 August to give the opportunity for two weekends of molecule hunting as well as the full period of the Festival.

Twenty shops in and around the town centre will join in to set the challenge. Each shop will have a model of a particular molecule related to its business tucked away somewhere in the window or inside.

The molecules are beautiful and varied, and we will have some early details here in the weeks leading up to the start.

The competition is organised by Sandy and Lorna Smith of Science@Cwaben, in collaboration with Kirkwall BID (Business Improvement District).

The molecules are made out of the Molymod system and the first correct entry out of the hat on 11 September will win a Molymod® kit kindly donated by Philip Spiring of Molymod.

Spiring Enterprises, a British company, developed the Molymod system as an educational tool for teachers, researchers and students 12 years and over, and the kits are highly regarded.

There were 22 correct entries for last year’s Molecule Hunt. The draw was carried out at the closing ceilidh on Wednesday 12 September by Dr Jacqueline Bell, who earlier in the day gave a talk on becoming an astronaut. The winner was Ruairidh Wood, and the two runner-up prizes went to Carrie Peace and Jack Tait. Two of the prizewinners attend St Margaret’s Hope school and one attends Burray.

Participants enjoy the challenge of going round the shops to hunt for the various molecules. “A wonderful way to explore Orkney! Hi from Florida!” wrote one of the entrants.

Looking for the Kirkwall molecules

Aurora Jewellery
Cycle Orkney (Tankerness Lane) – Cycle Shop / Hire
Edinburgh Woollen Mill
For Arts Sake

Judith Glue (Broad Street) – Knitwear, local produce supplier
Kirkness & Gorie (off Broad Street) – Delicatessen, wine
LOGO Orkney

Lows Orkney
The Orcadian Bookshop (Albert Street) – Bookshop

Orkney Distillers
Orkney TV Enterprise

Orkney Tech Ltd
Ortak Galleries
Sheila Fleet
St Magnus Cafe

Sutherland’s Pharmacy (Victoria Street) – Photography
The Old Library
The Orkney Hotel (Victoria Street) – Hotel
Visit Scotland T I C (West Castle Street) – Visitor information

Twenty town centre businesses – on the map – took part in the 2019 Great Molecule Hunt in Kirkwall,

We also have the complete leaflet with all the details of the molecules and the shops which they could download.

You can also attend the Family Day on Saturday 7 September where you will have the opportunity to construct a molecule model yourself. Experts will be on hand to assist if required.

“I have had a few molecule kits, but this one is by far the best,” says one online review of the Molymod Organic Student Set. “The bonds fit easily and the atoms are large and in scale to the links. This kit makes molecules interesting and fun.”

“This kit was for my 12 year son who really got into chemistry lately,” says another review. “He really likes it and wants more atoms (pieces)! Would recommend it for any budding chemist.”