Project Description

SCOTLAND’S YEAR OF COASTS AND WATERS

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters is giving us the opportunity to develop a range of new events, among them an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of Swona, with its seals and flowers and feral cattle. 360-degree photospheres and the voices of people past and present give a vivid picture of the uninhabited island, lying at the edge of the Pentland Firth’s tidal stream.

The deep influences of the sea on us all are brought out in a short performance film, with accompanying abstract sound and music, costume and actions responding to the dialogue between ebb and flow. Our bodies follow the tidal movement of ebb and flow, hope and despair, joy and sorrow, it says – are we carried in a deeper flow?

And the old sea-routes that came to the fore in Norse times are featured in a concert of music titled Sagas and Seascapes. There is much from Icelandic on an Icelandic theme, and music from Orkney and Faroe.

Elsewhere in the programme there are talks on new marine research in Orkney and on the trans-Atlantic links that developed in the old days of the Hudson’s Bay Company. We look at the shaping of the sea-cliffs and the life of the shore. There is insight into the ways in which the tall ships could use the power of the wind to sail several hundred miles in a day, and news of developments in offshore wind to open up new energy opportunities. And through it all runs the theme of the sea which has shaped the coasts and lives of the islands.

TO TAKE THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE TO THE SEA

September 2 → 1:00 pm1:45 pm

Long thought a fable, the Arctic route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans had its final link identified by Dr John Rae. Half a century later, Roald Amundsen made the journey in a fishing vessel, although only after several years of voyaging and overwintering. ...

THE WIND ON THE SEA AND THE ENERGY FUTURE

September 2 → 3:00 pm3:45 pm

Blocks of seabed leased for offshore wind represent a massive proportion of the UK’s future electricity demand, with some 19 GW (around one-fifth of current demand) within 100 kilometres of Orkney harbours. Could Orkney become a service base for the new offshore wind ...

TURNING THE TIDE

September 2 → 5:00 pm5:45 pm

The world’s most powerful, most technologically advanced tidal turbine is currently generating energy in Orkney waters at the EMEC test site at the Falls of Warness. The design concept has its origins in Stromness, with the company that is today Orbital Marine Power. ...

FLIGHTS AND FERRIES TO THE FUTURE

September 2 → 7:00 pm8:00 pm

Transport is the highest emitting sector of greenhouse gases for the UK: aviation and shipping combined represent over 11% of the total. For Orkney, where air and sea provide lifeline services for island ...

SEEING THE VALLEY OF LIGHT

September 3 → 6:15 pm7:00 pm

Filmmaker Mark Jenkins brings together images of Rackwick with voices past and present, using a slow cinema approach to focus on the aural experience. The film was created in response to ‘The Hidden Valley of Light’, one of the ‘Tales o Hoy’ podcast episodes developed for the Hoy Heritage ...

SAGAS AND SEASCAPES

September 3 → 9:00 pm10:00 pm

Norse stories and landscape around the northern sea-routes form the inspiration for this concert by Nordic Viola. Irish composer Linda Buckley’s Aud draws on the settlement of Iceland, while Lillie Harris’ sextet Elsewhen seeks to capture the atmosphere of Orkney’s ancient sites. In Carry His Relics for flute and viola, Orkney composer Gemma McGregor describes the journey of the remains of St Magnus from Birsay to Kirkwall, along the present-day ...

OUT ACROSS THE HARBOUR

September 4 → 10:00 am11:00 am

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. ...

CONFLICT ON THE COAST

September 4 → 11:30 am12:15 pm

Rising sea levels with coastal flooding and population movements inland, over-exploitation of resources like water and biomass, increasing pollution and sediment discharge … How do we cope? Look for nature-based solutions, says Roger Crofts, see the coast as part of a bigger system and plan holistically ...

TRADERS IN THE NOR’ WAST

September 4 → 3:00 pm4:30 pm

Formed just over 350 years ago, the Hudson’s Bay Company had a trading monopoly over a vast area of North-West Canada, rich in Arctic furs. Its ships regularly called in to Stromness for supplies and workers, and the resulting income gave a huge boost to Orkney’s ...

WORKSHOP: NAVIGATING WITH THE STARS

September 4 → 3:00 pm4:00 pm

Join Vassilios Spathopoulos of Glasgow International College on a journey around the world and into the past, to learn the secrets of celestial navigation used by ancient travellers. The Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Vikings and the Polynesians will teach you how to use the stars, sun and moon to find your way across the sea. ...

THE CURES OF HUDSON’S BAY

September 4 → 5:00 pm5:45 pm

The Atlantic voyage from Stromness, plus the harsh environment, could cause serious health problems, such as scurvy, for Hudson’s Bay Company workers. They had doctors and apothecary chests but, as Dr Winona Wheeler of the University of Saskatchewan ...

SET FAIR FOR SWONA

September 5 → 10:00 am10:45 am

An opportunity to find out more about Swona, its seals and shipwrecks, as Katy Firth of Stromness Museum introduces an exhibition of 360 degree photospheres of the island, with the help of some of the people close to its wildlife and history.

THE POWER OF THE WIND AND THE SCIENCE OF SAILING SHIPS

September 5 → 11:15 am12:15 pm

Schooners, brigantines and barques, and the clippers which could reach speeds of over 17 knots – the tall ships sailed the world’s oceans, carrying cargoes from one continent to another, the fastest of them sometimes covering several hundred miles in a day.

GREEN LAND OF NORSE AND INUIT

September 7 → 3:30 pm4:30 pm

The story of two of Greenland’s UNESCO world heritage sites, cultural landscapes with very different stories. Kujataa in South Greenland is the lushest part of the country and is a subarctic farming landscape which combines the cultures of the Norse ...

LIFE ON THE SHORE

September 7 → 6:00 pm6:15 pm

Award-winning wildlife cameraman and photographer Raymond Besant has been looking into his archive, to bring us some scenes of life along Orkney’s coast, including some footage not shown before. ...

WONDERING: IN-BETWEEN AND BEYOND

September 7 → 6:30 pm6:45 pm

A visual short performance film about the sea and its transformations, and our relationship to it. Is the sea an object to be gazed at from a distance, or a place of attachment for us? The moisture in our bodies links us to the rain from the sky and the water of the seas. Our bodies follow the tidal movement of ebb and flow, hope and despair, joy and sorrow – are we carried in a deeper flow?

SAVE IT FROM THE SHORE

September 7 → 7:00 pm8:30 pm

Dump it by the roadside, tip it in a waterway, throw it into the sea – from where it can often be washed ashore on beaches? It’s a global problem, but traditionally in islands where resources are finite, nothing was simply discarded. Driftwood became lintels and doorposts, worn-out clothes were turned into patchwork quilts ...

WHALES IN THE CHANGING ARCTIC

September 8 → 3:30 pm4:15 pm

Bowhead whales travel thousands of miles every spring to feed on the rich plankton concentrations of Disko Bay, West Greenland. But why do the plankton concentrate there, and what does Arctic ice melt mean for their future? Dr Neil Banas of Strathclyde University ...

CLIFFS ALONG THE COAST

September 8 → 5:00 pm5:45 pm

Geologists Dr John Flett Brown and Dr Adrian Hall set off to look at the sea-cliffs of Orkney’s west coast. The dynamic duo explore the Old Red Sandstone along the shore and discuss the effects of monster waves in Atlantic storms. "Few coasts on Earth," they declare, "match the magnificence ...