Dr Howie Firth is a writer and physicist from Orkney, with a deep interest in history and philosophy. He is director of Orkney International Science Festival.
Mary Leonard began her journalistic career on The Orcadian. Since then she has lived and worked in different parts of the world. She now lives in Edinburgh where she works as a psychotherapist and counsellor and continues to enjoy writing.
Orkney Science Festival
One of the world's longest-established and most original science festivals, providing a platform for fresh ideas in an island setting.
Elizabeth Woodcock is an RHS horticulturalist with training in regenerative agriculture and permaculture, a garden organic master composter, Lake District National Park walk leader, and is training as a mountain leader. She has been a journalist, science communicator, writer, and adventurer of many high, and low, places. She lives in Cumbria with her daughter, dog and chickens.
Alastair MacLeod committed his life to helping people and communities achieve their fullest potential, and particularly through his work with Orkney’s careers service and in leading successful community campaigns against environmental threats to the islands he loved. He started writing short stories in 2004, and reflective essays as well. His stories are available as ebooks on Amazon, and several have been translated into Italian, and also Spanish.
Christine is a Leith lass, who has lived in North Ronaldsay all her married life, and brought up four children on the croft, with her husband Tommy. She loves languages, history, writing, music, and her family. She also loves the Open University, which encouraged her to study for three degrees, and enabled her to teach, proving that distance is no barrier to learning.
Patricia Long inherited her interest in Orkney's history from her father, Peter Leith. She has written on a variety of subjects, her special interest being Orkney's contribution to the wider world. Using her family's store of knowledge, the excellent resources of the local archive and information now available online, she has traced the often inspiring stories of many Orcadian families who, in the words of John Gunn in Orkney The Magnetic North, regarded the islands as their cradle but the world as their home. Her website About Orkney has a wealth of information about Orkney and Orcadian connections.
Bob Tateson was born in Rotherham and did his PhD at Edinburgh University. After working as a geneticist at the Sick Children's Hospital he 'dropped out' and went back to Sheffield to work in the steel works. He was eventually washed up on the shores of Orkney where he survived for many years as a coal man, chimney sweep, crofter, and milkman before submitting to fate and becoming the maths/science teacher on Stronsay for 16 years. He is now retired in Kinlochbervie, surrounded by happy Olympus lenses.
Len Wilson comes from a long line of Graemsay seafarers. Born and brought up in Stromness, he spent much of his childhood fishing in an Orkney yole.
After a few years as a radio officer in the Merchant Navy he worked as a boat-builder in Stromness before joining the Ministry of Aviation/Civil Aviation Authority as an air traffic engineer, subsequently serving as engineering manager for Kirkwall and Wick Airports.
His hobbies include fiddle music and woodworking. He was a founder member of the Orkney Traditional Folk Festival and co-founder of the Orkney Yole Association.
Dr Allison Kirsop is currently Editorial Manager for the journal Neuroendocrinology. She specialises in bioinorganic chemistry, in particular, the role of vanadium and zinc in medicine. She is currently working with her husband in developing a website for the University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry as a teaching aid for undergraduates. She also works as a freelance copy-editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Moya is a founder member of AOP (Another Orkney Production), an Orkney-based heritage organisation who run three annual programmes - Orkney Aviation Festival (working closely with OISF), Orkney archive film project 'Billy's Night Oot', and each May, Celebrating Scapa Flow.
Liz Ashworth is a Scottish food writer and food product developer, with a particular interest in using local products to make high-quality wholesome food. Inspired by the work of F. Marian McNeill and her teacher Catherine Brown, she believes strongly in the value of preserving Scotland’s food heritage and using it to develop new products for the present day. The author of a pioneering series of cookery books for beginners of all ages, she writes food columns in various publications, and coordinates the food programme in the annual Orkney International Science Festival. Her most recent book is Orkney Spirit.
Bill Graham, a chartered engineer with a master’s degree from Heriot-Watt University, was the Technical Director of the TI Group’s industrial laboratories at Hinxton Hall, Cambridge, where he worked for 24 years. In Moray he managed the local Education Business Partnership and developed activities for the Scottish Space School and subsequently founded Moray’s makerspace, the T-Exchange. In a very active retirement he continues to innovate, design and develop new projects and ideas.
Amy Liptrot comes from Sandwick, Orkney. Her first book, The Outrun, published by Canongate, has been highly acclaimed.
Steve Webster is a crofter and a gardener on the west coast of Harris.
Alusha Romaniszyn is a Fifth Year pupil of Stromness Academy and is planning on a degree in Physics, when she finally finishes her exams! She loves the stars and aims to go see them when she grows up, before returning to Earth to teach.
Bryce Wilson is a native of Stromness. He studied drawing and painting at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, taught in Orkney for ten years, then spent twenty-eight years in charge of Orkney’s Museums Service. He has written and contributed to a number of books, and illustrated others, and his new book Stromness: A History, telling the story of the town over 400 years, is published by The Orcadian Limited (Kirkwall Press).
Geoffrey A. Landis
Geoffrey A. Landis is a scientist at the NASA John Glenn Research Center, and currently is a member of the Mars Exploration Rovers science team. He is also an award-winning science fiction writer, author of the novel Mars Crossing and the collection Impact Parameter. More information can be found on his web page.
Ann Lingard (aka Ann Lackie), formerly a research scientist and academic at Glasgow University, is a novelist and writer of short stories and non-fiction. In additon to the ongoing Solway Shore Stories, her two most recent non-fiction projects have been at the ESRC Genomics Forum and the Department of Psychology in Edinburgh. She lives on a small-holding, looking across the Firth towards the Dumfries and Galloway hills.
‘She knows the flowers and birds and shells of Orkney as well as anybody,’ wrote George Mackay Brown, but she looks at them through the eye of a poet.’ He and Bessie were among the group of Orkney writers encouraged by The Orkney Herald, where her work was published under the byline ‘Countrywoman’. After the paper closed she wrote for The Orcadian until her death in 1996. She was born in 1923 at Ostoft in Shapinsay, where her father John Skea was a poet as well as a crofter, and in 1942 she married James Grieve. They lived in Rousay and Birsay before settling in Harray, and had a family of three children. Published works include anthologies of her columns, as well as short stories and poetry.
Fashion the Future
A project for upcycling ideas, led by Selena Kuzman, reimagining waste and discarded materials, from plastic to pre-loved textiles, transforming them into eco-couture designs as well as simpler solutions for the whole family to be involved in the process.
Roy Burdon was professor of biochemistry at Glasgow and of molecular biology at Strathclyde, and is the author of over 200 scientific papers and six books. His paintings – oil, watercolour and acrylic – have been exhibited at many galleries in group and solo exhibitions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Jenny, with a family background that may have included Labradors and collies, came originally from Quoyloo and always enjoyed an opportunity to return to native territory and monitor the levels of rabbits at the Bay of Skaill.
Elidh Myrvang Brown
Elidh Myrvang Brown came to Knockando from Glasgow to take up the challenge of developing the Education programme for Knockando Woolmill Trust, where her background in the contemporary practice of art, design and craft (with a good measure of cultural heritage thrown in) and experience of delivering learning in a eclectic range of settings has stood her in good stead. Elidh learns something new every day from her daughter Holly (4 years) who recently graduated (proudly sporting a self-made cardboard mortar board) from Knockando Playgroup, and finds great pleasure exploring the many wonders of Moray on her trusty bicycle, The Green Lady.
Pearse is a young Australian with a passion for the oceans. As a marine scientist he has been involved in many research projects, taking him across Australia, into Antarctica and now to Mexico, where he currently works for The Clipperton Project in planning scientific programmes, community partnerships and the logistics behind the organisation's expeditions. Pearse will be participating live in the Scottish Northern Isles Floating Laboratory this year, and as an avid diver, hopes to acquaint himself fully with the chilly northern waters.
Jane Donnelly, from Purtabreck in North Ronaldsay, has looked after island sheep and been involved in wool crafts since early days, and has managed the island wool company A Yarn From North Ronaldsay from its outset.
Beatrice Searle is a fine art graduate of Newcastle University and a recently qualified stone mason, having completed her apprenticeship at Lincoln Cathedral last year. She is now an (itinerant) artist, working across performance, sculpture and drawing.
Cdr William Sutherland RN is chairman of the HMS Hood Association. Hejoined the Instructor Branch of the Royal Navy in 1981, following five years asa teacher. His service afloat included gaining his bridge watchkeepingcertificate in the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, in which he visitedAustralia in 1986 to help celebrate 75 years of the RAN. His RN service lastedvery nearly 25 years, and in his later appointments he specialised in personnelmanagement in the Ministry of Defence.
Alan Champneys is Professor of Applied Nonlinear Mathematics at the University of
Bristol where he has been in the Department of Engineering Mathematics for almost 20 years. He is currently also Head of School of the Queen’s School of Engineering at the University, which comprises the Departments of Aero, Civil and Mechanical Engineering. He arrived there courtesy of a DPhil in Mathematics at Oxford and a
brief period as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Bath, in which city he still lives with his wife and three children.
Janet Clark has been a tapestry hand weaver for many years, and is moving on now to spreading the word and hoping to encourage many more people to take on the rich and vibrant skill of tapestry hand weaving. She says that it is a rich and vibrant medium open to a great deal of interpretation of a subject. ‘It is Slow Art, contemplative, soothing and very expressive.’
Professor Stuart Monro was instrumental in establishing the science centre Our Dynamic Earth, where he is the scientific director. With a degree in geology from Aberdeen and a PhD from Edinburgh, he spent much of his career with the British Geological Survey. He has taught geology at all levels in the Open University and is an honorary professor at the University of Edinburgh. Other awards include an OBE for services to science and the Distinguished Service Award of the Geological Society. He is also the scientific director of the Scottish Consortium for Rural Research.
Gavin Scott Moncrieff
The late Bill Groundwater was for more than thirty years consultant surgeon in the Balfour Hospital; where he also was born and died. He grew up in Stromness, where his father was headmaster of Stromness Academy and his mother became the first woman Provost of the town. A keen member of the Rotary Club of Orkney, he was the prime mover behind the 1991 lorry convoy which took food, clothing and medical supplies to Romania at a time of hardship there.
Sigurd Towrie writes widely on archaeology and its links with history and folklore, both in The Orcadian, of which he is news editor, and on the Orkneyjar website, which is dedicated to preserving, exploring and documenting the ancient history, folklore and traditions of the islands.
Christine Skene has been involved in wildlife and conservation work in Orkney for many years, working for Orkney Islands Council and latterly for Scottish Natural Heritage.
Clive and Marianne Greated
Dr Marianne Greated is Lecturer in Painting and Printmaking at the Glasgow School of Art where her research focuses on painting in an expanded field, the panorama, sound and vision, the landscape and representations of sustainability. She has published in the areas of sound and vision, painting and colour and collaborated on environmental projects relating to sound in the environment, the coast and renewable power. Her work has been shown extensively including solo exhibitions in Denmark, Greece, Belarus, India, and across the UK.
Derek Ward was born in Kingston-upon-Hull, the 2017 City of Culture – “whose football team is still, sadly, an obsession for me.” A science degree at the University of Durham in the late sixties was followed by a career teaching physics, first near Durham, then in Norfolk until retirement several years ago. Now living in Suffolk with his wife, his interests include walking and cycling, visiting old churches and reading, especially historical, scientific fact or fiction.
Sarah Jane Gibbon
Dr Sarah Jane Gibbon is the John Rae 200 Conference co-ordinator. Formerly an archive assistant in the Orkney Library and Archive and a lecturer in Culture Studies and Archaeology at Orkney College UHI, Sarah Jane now combines historical and archaeological research with looking after her two children.
Rose is entering her final year in Biology at the University of Dundee but has interests from Aviation to Zoology. Anyone who knows her will say that she can never stay still and always has an adventure planned.
Dario R. Alessi
Professor Dario R. Alessi is one of the world’s leading biochemists. Born in France, he went to school in Brussels and then to the University of Birmingham, followed by postgraduate research at the University of Dundee where he became director of the MRC-PPU in 2012. He has received many awards including the Gold Medal of the European Molecular Biology Organisation.
Jocelyn Rendall came to Papa Westray to join the team excavating the chambered cairn on the Holm of Papay. She stayed to live and work on Holland Farm, home to her husband’s family for 100 years. She has an MA in medieval art from Edinburgh University and worked as curator of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Collection in Glasgow. She is the author of articles on textile design and on Papay, and the books A Jar of Seed-Corn and Steering the Stone Ships.
Sheena Fraser McGoogan
Sheena Fraser McGoogan is a Canadian artist, seen here at the Greenland icecap. She has painted many colourful scenes of the nearby villages and landscape
Revd Dr Gareth Leyshon is a Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Cardiff. He is currently parish priest on the eastern side of Cardiff City in Wales, and previously served as chaplain to the University of Glamorgan. Dr Leyshon read physics at Keble College Oxford and obtained his PhD from the University of Wales for research into dust clouds at the heart of active galaxies. He continues to enjoy speaking on topics linking science and religious faith.
Neil Kermode, who is managing director of EMEC and chair of Orkney Renewable Energy Forum (OREF), is a civil engineer with a longstanding interest in energy. He has worked in municipal engineering and with the Environment Agency, and also with the developer of a tidal turbine in the Straits of Messina off Sicily. He first came to Orkney on a holiday as a scuba diver to dive the wrecks of Scapa Flow and came up with an idea to use the Churchill Barriers as a major source of renewable energy if turbines could be built into the causeways. Today EMEC is attracting worldwide interest for its ability to test wave and tidal power systems. “It is a privilege to be working at the heart of this burgeoning industry and to lead the team that helps break new (sustainable) ground on a daily basis,” he says
Agnes M. Shearer
Agnes M. Shearer, born in 1914, went on from The Orcadian to work for a time in Fleet Street and then to Edinburgh where she married the writer George Scott-Moncrieff. As Ann Scott-Moncrieff she wrote stories, poems and three books for children. She died in 1943, at the age of only 29, leaving work that is full of depth and understanding and adventure. ‘She was,’ wrote the poet Edwin Muir, ‘one of the rarest human beings that Scotland has produced in our time.’
Ian Scott studied at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen and returned in 1962 to his native island of North Ronaldsay to combine family crofting and fishing with his art work. His sculptures over the years have included the memorials to the Longhope lifeboat and the Fraserburgh lifeboat, heads of the artist Stanley Cursiter and the writer George Mackay Brown, and the statue in Stromness to the Arctic explorer John Rae. His works have been the subject of many exhibitions, and he has been contributing a Letter from North Ronaldsay to The Orcadian newspaper for thirty years.
Tim Dodman is an international conservationist based on Papay. His main work is in wetlands conservation in Africa, where he has lived in Somalia, Zambia and Senegal, with missions in around 40 countries. He has published widely, and is a co-author of the Atlas of Wader Populations in Africa and Eurasia.
Alan Ereira is an award-winning British author, historian and documentary filmmaker. After leaving university he went straight into the BBC, producing radio current affairs and history programmes for schools. In 1978 The Battle of the Somme was awarded the bi-annual international Japan Prize for the best educational radio programme. He then moved to television, and in 1989 Armada won the Royal Television Society award for best documentary series. In 1990 he made From The Heart of the World with the Kogi for BBC1. Alan left the BBC in 1996 and established Sunstone Films Ltd, making historical documentaries for television. He has written five history books and one about the Kogi. He is the director of the Tairona Heritage Trust, which has been established for their benefit. The Kogi own, directly and through the Trust, approximately 35% of Aluna The Movie Ltd.
Stewart, from Stromness, went to Dounreay in 1975 to serve a Fitter/turner apprenticeship and worked there till 1999 when he moved to a local firm JGC Engineering where he continues today. He programmes and operates CNC milling machines and lathes, manufacturing components mainly for the oil and nuclear industries. His main interests are photography (landscape, wildlife and night sky), bird watching and astronomy.
Sue Jane Taylor
Sutherland-based artist Sue Jane Taylor has worked for over twenty years recording the lives of workers in the North Sea oil industry on sites such as Piper Alpha, the Pipe B platform, and the Flotta terminal, and in recent years in the offshore renewables industry as well. A graduate of Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, the Slade School of Fine Art in London and Konsthogskolan in Stockholm, her work has been widely exhibited in venues from Scotland to Australia, and she is a recipient of the Glenfiddich Living Scotland Award. Her bronze memorial to the men of Piper Alpha was unveiled by the Queen Mother in 1991.
Dr Julia Collins is a mathematician who got her PhD in Knot Theory from the University of Edinburgh in 2011. She now works as the Mathematics Engagement Officer at Edinburgh, spreading the word about all the amazing maths research which goes on at the university. You can often find her in cafés around town writing a blog with her sheep Haggis or working on her latest maths knitting project.
T. Ratcliffe Barnett
Thomas Ratcliffe Barnett was a Church of Scotland minister, wartime chaplain, writer and musician who was born in 1868 in the weaving village of Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire. He wrote lyrically about his travels in Scotland and the people he met on the road. He was active in caring for the casualties of World War I and founded the Princess Margaret Rose Hospital in Edinburgh. He died in 1946.
A chemistry graduate from Edinburgh University, Michael spent most of his working life in secondary education in East Lothian, before moving to Orkney in 2007 and returning to the classroom as Principal Teacher of Chemistry at Stromness Academy. Now retired, he devotes much of his spare time to the local drama scene and the Orkney Historic Boat Society.
Born in Kinloss in 1924, Ian Keillar volunteered for the RAF at the age of seventeen. Wartime service in the Middle East and Africa began a lifelong interest in history and archaeology. In 1964 he joined the Hydro Board and transferred his aerial archaeological skills to his new environment in Moray where he lived until his death in 2010. His insight and commitment led to many articles and papers and the book Romans in Moray, and to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland’s Dorothy Marshall Medal, awarded every three years to an individual who, in a voluntary capacity, has made an outstanding contribution to Scottish archaeology.
John Leith is an instrument mechanic, computer programmer and photographer with a wide variety of interests in technology and history. After a career in industry, he moved back to Orkney, where he lives and works in his home parish of Stenness. He has a postgraduate diploma in renewable energy development from Heriot-Watt University through ICIT in Stromness and is a member of the Institution of Analysts and Programmers. He likes to try out new ideas whenever he finds an opportunity and looks after all the audiovisual challenges of the Orkney International Science Festival.
Magnus Grimond is a writer with Schroders in London. He has worked as a financial journalist on various newspapers including The Scotsman, The Independent and The Times, after starting his career as a journalist with BBC Radio Orkney and The Orcadian.
Harvey Johnston, from the parish of Harray in Orkney’s West Mainland, has spoken at events across Orkney, from Harvest Homes and community functions to commemorations for John Rae and St Magnus. He was a lecturer in agriculture and then deputy principal of Orkney College UHI, and is the convener of Orkney Islands Council.
Morag MacInnes was born in Stromness, Orkney. She is a lecturer and writer. She now lives a few miles further down the road in Quoyloo, Orkney.
Dr Charles Tait has a BSc in genetics from Edinburgh, a PhD in biochemistry from Aberdeen, and a lifetime’s interest and knowledge of his native Orkney islands, where he has photographed, sailed and explored in all weathers and all seasons. He is the author and published of the definitive Orkney Guide Book, as well as guide books for Shetland, the Outer Hebrides and the North Highlands. His passion for photography has taken him on countless journeys, seeking out wildlife and historic sites, and conditions ranging from storming seas to the shimmering aurora borealis in winter skies. His family has been at the heart of Orkney life, through the family farm supply business built up by his father, with at the same time a keen eye for the beauty of the world around them, as exemplified by his aunt, the filmmaker and poet Margaret Tait. The Maeshowe internet project has brought together his passion for photography with his love of delving into Orkey’s past in search of new insights.
James Murray is the business development manager for Scotrenewables Tidal Power, liaising with customers, utilities and government agencies to identify and follow up new market opportunities for the company. He has a degree in electronic engineering from Waterford Institute of Technology and a Master’s in renewable energy systems from Loughborough University. Originally from Waterford in the Republic of Ireland, he has lived in Scotland for several years, first working in wind energy and later in marine. He is passionate about driving marine energy to full commercialisation.
Julia Anya Guthrie
Julie Anya Guthrie is from a small hamlet on the west coast of Scotland. She has Scottish, French and Russian ancestry and is married to an Italian. After graduating from Edinburgh University, she worked in France and Switzerland before returning to her native Scotland. Her influences include William Wallace, Gaetano Donizetti and Rosa Luxemburg.
Aelfleda Clackson is an illustrator currently working and studying in Münster, Germany. She grew up in Sanday, Orkney and is especially interested in connecting folklore and mythology with the issues of the present day.
Peter K.I. Leith
Peter Leith's family have farmed in Stenness for several centuries, with each generation passing on to the next a wealth of information about local history and tradition. Peter himself had a lifelong interest in all aspects of Orkney's history and environment, making this knowledge more widely available through numerous talks, papers and demonstrations of craft skills. At the age of 90, he became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and continued to be active in writing and researching until his death in the summer of 2021, a few weeks ahead of his 94th birthday.
Lynda Aiano works in archaeology, education and collections management. Within archaeology she is particularly interested in experimental approaches, palaeobotany and ethnoarchaeology.
Currently based in Orkney, she is a researcher for Exeter University, working on ‘Touching the Past’, a project which seeks to explore ways in which rare and delicate museum artefacts can be made more accessible to those who are interested in them.
Carol Kitson is an Orcadian living and working in Perth. She runs a small freelance business specialising in PR, copy-editing and proof-reading. In her spare time she is studying for a BA in English Literature along with Creative Writing. She is also a keen photographer.
Dr Helen Maynard-Casely is an instrument scientist for the WOMBAT high-intensity powder diffractometer at Australia’s Bragg Institute, outside Sydney. Her expertise is in the study of small molecules and ices under pressure. Much of this work is motivated by the wish to understand the interiors of planetary bodies. Prior to working at the Bragg Institute, Helen was based at the Powder-Diffraction beamline at the Australian Synchrotron where she developed her program of research on planetary ices.
The late Archie Bevan was a master of just about every aspect of the craft of using words. He enriched Orkney cultural life immensely, from his teaching days at Stromness Academy, where he pioneered the study of Orkney writers, to his major role in the development of St Magnus International Festival.
Rebecca Stott’s work, in radio writing, fiction and non-fiction, weaves together history, literature, and the history of science. Her family memoir In the Days of Rain won the 2017 Costa Book Awards in the Biography category. She was, until her retirement from teaching in 2021, Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her new novel, Dark Earth, set in 6th-century Roman Britain, will be published in the spring/summer of 2022.
Kala Perkins is Professor of Astrobioethics and the Psychology of Religion at the American University of Sovereign Nations. For over 25 years she has been a researcher and educator on issues at the forefront of astronomy and their relationship to human ideas. She has a particular interest in cosmology, the area of her research thesis with the Australian National University.
Dr Kate Johnson is a post doctorate researcher at ICIT/Heriot-Watt University in Stromness. Her main research interests are coastal communities and marine resource management including energy and fisheries. She has worked in Galapagos, Vanuatu and Scotland.
Wendy has been a lover of high wild places and high latitudes all her life despite, she says, being scared of heights. After a fifteen-year career in cell biology research, she had an opportunity to manage the medical research of the British Antarctic Survey. This took her on many visits to remote places, including Yukon, Iceland, and the Antarctic itself. She has a degree in zoology and a PhD, and also worked for Highland and Islands Enterprise and ran her own consultancy.
Martin Gray from Orkney was from 1994-2008 a Naturalist Guide, Presenter and Zodiac Driver on board several Expedition Cruise Vessels in the Arctic and Antarctic.
John Goodlad is a Shetlander who has worked in the seafood industry all his life. Having worked for the Shetland Fishermen’s Association and having been a fish farmer, he now works for a London based seafood Investment Fund. He is also an advisor on sustainability issues for several national and international fisheries bodies. He has always been passionate about history and has spent many years researching the little-known story of the Shetland cod hunters.
Roderick Thorne is the Sanday Ranger, and Chairman of the Sanday Soulka Group.
Pippa Goldschmidt is a writer based in Edinburgh. She has a PhD in astronomy and worked as an astronomer for several years at Imperial College, followed by posts in the civil service including working in outer space policy. In 2012 Pippa was awarded a Scottish Book Trust/Creative Scotland New Writers Award. The Falling Sky is her first novel and was runner-up in the Dundee International Book Prize.
Charlotte Baird lives in Orphir and is a first-year pupil at Kirkwall Grammar School.
Vic worked for 23 years with Diageo, mainly in production management and process support, leaving last year to pursue his passion as a minister. Alongside this he runs a consultancy business providing services to the malting and distilling industry, and independent malt whisky nosing and tasting sessions. He is also the Whisky Lecturer for the University of the Highlands and Islands, and helps run the renowned Whisky School at the Speyside Whisky Festival.
Mike Pescod has been instructing mountaineering and mountain guiding in Britain and abroad since 1993. He has lived in Fort William, on the west coast of Scotland, since 1995 where he has climbed extensively and put up new routes in summer and winter. Scottish winter climbing and Alpinism are his strengths and he has made very successful expeditions to the Caucasus, Tadjikistan, Peru and East Africa.
Eileen Summers works as Environment Officer at Orkney Islands Council, where she has a leading role in preparing and implementing the Orkney Local Biodiversity Action Plan. The current Plan includes a ‘Greenspace’ theme encouraging more nature-friendly planting in public spaces and private gardens, and highlighting various plant species particularly beneficial for wildlife. She has a degree in biological and earth sciences and an MSc in marine resource management.
Gavin Woodbridge, 15, works at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory and goes to Kirkwall Grammar School.
Dr Tim Tomkinson and Dr Paula Lindgren are both researchers at the University of Glasgow and their research is funded by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).
Tim’s research involves looking at the formation of alteration minerals in these Martian meteorites called nakhlites. Tim is also working on trying to determine how long ago liquid water was present on Mars, by using the argon-argon isotopic dating technique.
Paula’s research is on carbonaceous chondrite meteorites, which are rocks originally derived from asteroids.
Tom Rendall was born in Sanday at a small farm called The Meadow. He left the Sanday school at the age of 15 with no qualifications, but through the help of John D. Mackay was able to study in the evenings for O levels and Higher English. He went on to take two degrees with the Open University and, following eight years of part-time research with Orkney College UHI, has just been awarded a PhD for his study of attitudes towards the use of dialect in Orkney. He has lived in Kirkwall since 1990 and worked in various jobs connected with tourism and education.
Gary Gibson is an Orkney artist who in his teaching career taught in smaller island schools and then Kirkwall Grammar School. He is a former colonel in the TA and Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Orkney, and is Chairman of the Italian Chapel Preservation Committee. He is a veteran Ba’ player and Ba’ maker.
Gerry Meyer came from London to Orkney on an October day in 1940, and within months his previous civilian background in journalism had led Eric Linklater to recruit him as editor for the Forces’ wartime newspaper, The Orkney Blast. Gerry went on in peacetime to edit The Orcadian from 1947 until his retirement in 1983, combining professionalism with a mature judgment and a deep feeling for the islands and their wellbeing.
Dr Caroline Watt is a founder member of Edinburgh University's Koestler Parapsychology Unit, which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year. She is a Past President of the Parapsychological Association, is author of over 100 research articles, and runs a popular online parapsychology course.
Rebecca Marr was born in the Highlands, studied photography at Napier University and moved to Orkney in 2007 with her filmmaker husband Mark Jenkins. As well as working as a photographer, teaching and exhibiting, Rebecca worked with the Gunnie Moberg Archive at Orkney Library & Archive for two years.
Matt Sillars taught photography at Inverness College UHI for 25 years before retiring in 2019. He now manages the Inverness Community Darkroom and is Chair of FLOW Photofest, the biennial International Photography Festival held across the Highlands & Islands and Moray. Matt exhibits his own work widely and has an interest in the history of photography, in particular alternative processes such as cyanotype and litho printing.
Clive Greated is Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Edinburgh where he teaches fluid mechanics. His interest in ocean waves began when he worked as an engineer for the Danish Institute of Applied Hydraulics in Copenhagen. Later research into breaking wave dynamics, wave forces on ocean structures and laser flow measuring devices let to numerous publications and consultancy work for companies such as Shell, Britoil and BP.
Lisa Matthews was born in Benwell in Newcastle upon Tyne and has lived in the north-east all her life. She has published two full collections of poetry (Postcards from a Waterless Lake and The Deadheading Diaries) and has founded or co-founded several major creative writing initiatives. She has held various writing residencies and fellowships, most recently at the ESRC Genomics Forum, Edinburgh University. As well as facilitating writing workshops in the north east to help people explore their hopes and fears surrounding the new genetics and biotechnology, Lisa also works with medical students and staff in Newcastle and Durham Universities, where she uses literature and creative writing to help trainee doctors become better communicators.
Jane Glue is an Orkney artist who has been painting the shores and sea of her native islands for many years. Her work can be seen in the Jane Glue Gallery in Finstown.
Muriel, born in Orkney, worked for 40 years in Rosyth, Paris, London and Orkney. Her interests include travel (while, she adds, still fit enough!), and language (in all its forms).
Eoin F. Scott
Eoin was at the heart of the Orkney community in so many ways. He farmed the family farm at Redland where he developed a woodland and investigated the history and archaeology of the area. He was an Islands Councillor, a Tax Commissioner, a Deputy Lieutenant of Orkney, chairman of Orkney Archaeological Society and of the Hoy Trust, and chairman of the Science Festival for more than twenty years. He died on 5 June 2012. The annual Eoin F. Scott Memorial Lecture will be given in the 2014 Festival by the geneticist Dr Jim Wilson of Edinburgh University, who is a cousin.
Christopher Somerville has covered the length and breadth of the UK on foot, and has written and broadcast about its history, landscape, wildlife and people for over 25 years. He is the walks correspondent of The Times, and has thirty-six books, hundreds of newspaper articles and many TV and radio appearances to his name.
John Mellis is the author of Scotland’s Science – Stories of pioneering science, engineering and medicine (1550-1900). Born in Glasgow, he studied Applied Physics, Logic and Semantics, and the Philosophy of Science at the University of Strathclyde. His PhD, in laser physics, is from the University of St Andrews. For most of his career he was with the BT Laboratories, Martlesham, and for many years he was a Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and lives in Suffolk, where he is working on the next instalment of Scotland’s scientific history.
Louis lives on North Ronaldsay. He enjoys a wide range of activities including: gardening, baking, model making and wood carving. He currently works at the Bird Observatory as well as doing a few gardening jobs for people.
As Orkney County Librarian after the war, Evan MacGillivray was responsible for many of the big developments that make Orkney’s library and museum services so highly valued by users. He laid the foundations for much research and scholarship, providing insights and resources for others and writing up various papers himself. His contribution to Orkney life was so outstanding that it could arguably be regarded as the greatest since the days of Earl Rognvald and Bishop Bjarni Kolbeinsson.
Simon W. Hall
Simon W. Hall is the author of The History of Orkney Literature (Birlinn), which won the Saltire Society prize for Scottish First Book of the Year in 2010. He currently works at Education Scotland as a Scots Language Coordinator, and has two books coming out this October: e-Grades National Five English (e-Grades publishing) is an interactive e-book study guide for young people preparing for N5 English, and The Orkney Gruffalo (Itchy Coo) is his translation of Julia Donaldson’s famous beast fable for bairns.