Sunday 11th April 2021,
Frontiers Magazine

Browsing the "Column" Category



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 rain curtains traversing the ocean sweep over land and sea alike, bringing showers and storms; [...]

May 21, 2014 Alastair MacLeod Column Comments Off


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 and jellyfish, but on a clear November night the stars fill the dark dome above [...]

February 17, 2014 Alastair MacLeod Column Comments Off

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 the sun and the incoming tide is slowly warmed – this happens at Waulkmill, a [...]

July 5, 2013 Alastair MacLeod Column Comments Off
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 tips over the plastic garden chairs – empty crisp packets and polystyrene chip boxes swirl [...]

March 16, 2013 Alastair MacLeod Column Comments Off
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 became famous because of controversy; a clash of methodologies and a clash of ideologies. By [...]

March 3, 2013 Alastair MacLeod Column 0