Thursday 28th May 2020,
Frontiers Magazine

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Low cloud is quite frequent in Orkney, especially in the winter. Coming from the West, it rolls in across the central part of the mainland, over Stenness and Harray, then funnels slowly through the narrow gap at Binscarth to spread [...]

June 10, 2018 Column

Deploy the drones

We are now all familiar with how the ROV, the remotely operated vehicle as it is called, is deployed under water. Attached to the mother vessel by its power and communications umbilical, it can survey the sea bed and effect [...]

June 10, 2018 Column

Green Flash

In the light of evening the low sun began to illuminate the wall of the croft with a soft amber glow. The days had gradually stretched out and out until now it was that, at nearly midnight, the sun still [...]

March 9, 2015 Column
findhorn foundation

Orkney housing in the 21st century?

(The John D. Mackay Memorial Lecture in the 2014 Orkney International Science Festival looked at the challenge of housing, to see what new ideas might be brought forward on technology and design, from Scandinavia in particular. Here Alastair MacLeod sets [...]

June 7, 2014 Column
The Large Hadron Collider at Cern.

To CERN from South Ronaldsay

Tom Levens who is from South Ronaldsay in Orkney has an unusual job. He works on the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland helping to find such things as the Higgs Boson. Deep in the mountains lies a large doughnut-shaped accelerator, [...]

May 23, 2014 Spring Issue 2014


One of the exciting things about Orkney is that it is truly oceanic. We are seventy islands in the sea – none so big as to create a land climate: the sea climate dominates. Atlantic depressions catch us afloat, the [...]

May 21, 2014 Column


A sudden dip in temperature reminds us that, here in Orkney, we are closer to the Arctic than we think. The sea makes us complacent – water from the Caribbean streams north through our islands bringing summer visitors, leatherback turtles [...]

February 17, 2014 Column

A few hot days

For there to be a hot day in Orkney the wind must die down, a rare occurrence. On such a day another rarity occurs – a warm sea, but only where the exposed sand of the ebb is heated by [...]

July 5, 2013 Column
An Orkney wind

An Orkney wind

Gauging the strength of the wind becomes easy – a force nine tears at the dead skirt of the palm tree, and sends the fronds rapping on the windows overlooking the garden. It upsets the tall ali baba pots and [...]

March 16, 2013 Column
John Rae digital artwork

John Rae: a clash of methodologies and ideologies

The scandal that rocked the Victorian establishment It is 200 years since the death of John Rae and this year Orkney and the Science Festival will mark the occasion in a variety of ways. For such an unassuming man he [...]

March 3, 2013 Column