Tuesday 28th September 2021,
Frontiers Magazine

Browsing the "Stories from the Islands" Category

Orkney Spring 445

Scented summer days

TThis week the hay is already being baled. There has been no rain for almost five weeks, and the earth is full of cracks where the sun has dried it out. The grass is thin and poor instead of its usual lush growth. The island has changed quickly from fields blowing in the wind, to [...]

December 3, 2020 Christine Muir Stories from the Islands Comments Off

Along the tide-mark

The word ‘foraging’ brings images of journeys among hedgerows and fields for wild foods – herbs, berries, nuts, wild garlic and mushrooms – but it happens on the shore as well. For Martin Gray, one of the most experienced and well known explorers of Orkney’s shorelines, beachcombing is not simply the delight in finding an [...]

November 15, 2020 Mary Leonard Spring Issue 2021, Stories from the Islands Comments Off
Quoys Burn (Effy Everiss)

Going to Graemsay

Many years ago, for a child in Stromness the lighthouses of Graemsay were ‘Granny’s candles’. The island seemed a world away. Then one fine morning Uncle James collected us from the pier and soon we were weaving across the swirling tide to the noust of Quoys. At Garson, under the noon-day sun, cats dozed by [...]

July 3, 2020 Bryce Wilson Stories from the Islands Comments Off

Where the rain and the light fall in


July 3, 2020 Aelfeda Clackson Arts & Crafts, Stories from the Islands Comments Off
The Swan – restored Shetland herring boat (Swan collection)

The Cod Hunters

The Cod Hunters tells the story of the Shetlanders who fished for cod around the north Atlantic in their cod sailing smacks. Fishing at Greenland, Iceland, Faroe and Rockall, the cod smacks returned with cargoes of salt cod which were then dried on Shetland beaches before being exported to Spain. Salt cod is the main [...]

May 26, 2020 John Goodlad People Past & Present, Stories from the Islands Comments Off
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Kill or cure

A late spring can bring feelings of malaise and tiredness. One of the tonics common to Orkney last century involved catching snails late at night, when they have a quiet feed, suspending them on a string in front of the fire, and catching the oil in a cup. Snails were used for other remedies. They [...]

June 30, 2019 Christine Muir Stories from the Islands, Summer Issue 2019 Comments Off
North Ronaldsay seals

Seal song

Every morning when I get up early and look out at the sea from the upstairs window, I see more than two hundred seals in the bay. They turn somersaults, lie on their backs in the water, flapping a lazy flipper, or bob up suddenly, whiskers dripping, like a rather pompous elderly gentleman taking an [...]

June 13, 2018 Christine Muir Stories from the Islands Comments Off

A day in the life of an Orkney Yole

In Stromness, where I grew up, the yole was used for fishing and for pleasure trips but in my grandparents’ island, Graemsay, it was also the main mode of transport. There had been a South Isles steamer for many years but Graemsay had no pier. The Hoy Head would lie off Hoy High lighthouse while [...]

July 9, 2016 Len Wilson Stories from the Islands Comments Off

Ball lightning

The Hessdalen phenomenon of hovering and flashing balls of light is fascinating, especially as there now seems to be far more serious worldwide research into what used to be widely regarded with scepticism, and connected to the realms of UFOs and SciFi. What is particularly interesting to me is that the Hessdalen lights do not [...]

June 7, 2016 Christine Muir Stories from the Islands Comments Off
Nora Thomson and Robbie Mowatt alongside the blockship Rotherford in Burra Sound

Fishing in Graemsay: Lythes, sillocks and cuithes

Through the 20th century the only commercial fishery in Graemsay was lobster, along with the occasional halibut or skate. In the main, whitefish and partan (edible crab) were for the table. The following is from my personal memory, from about 1944, when I spent much of my annual summer holiday round Windywaas and Garson and [...]

March 18, 2016 Len Wilson Stories from the Islands Comments Off