As the Year of Scotland’s Islands continues, many events are being held across Orkney in order to celebrate island culture and heritage.
From the 14 – 17 July the Sensational Circus of the Orient comes to town bringing with it an array of highly entertaining and skilled circus performers from China, Mongolia and Romania, to name but a few. Aerialists, springboard artists, crazy clowns and many more acts will perform under the traditional and spectacular Big Top.
Sanday Soulka a series of weekend celebrations held on Sanday will showcase island life. From 5 – 7 visitors can take a sea cruise, feast on local food, compete in fishing competitions and enjoy an Agricultural Show. From 2-4 September, visitors can discover the rich natural history of the island – seals, birdlife, shells, trees and wildflowers – with a series of guided walks.
The Deerness in 100 Objects exhibition, which tells the story of the historic parish through a display of 100 images and artefacts, guided walks, talks, music and children’s activities, and a ‘Time Team’-style dig for ancient Pictish and Viking finds.
Moving into 2012, The Papay Gyro Nights Arts Festival will take place between 6 and 13 of February. Set on the island of Papa Westry this contemporary arts festival is as unique as it sounds. The festival explores Orkney’s folklore, landscape and heritage as well as recent developments in art, music and architecture. The Night of the Gyros, which inspired the festival, is an ancient island tradition marking the end of winter, and was last celebrated almost a hundred years ago.
The Year of Scotland’s Islands aims to raise the profile of the islands across the UK and internationally, attract more visitors, bolster economic development and strengthen links between the islands and mainland cultural organisations. The programme, which includes over 140 events across 42 islands, showcases the music, arts, food, sport, history and heritage of the islands, as well as highlighting their unique beauty as visitor destinations.
The Scotland’s Islands initiative has been developed through a partnership of the six local authorities with island communities – Argyll and Bute, Highland, North Ayrshire, Orkney, Shetland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.
Other supporters who have contributed to the funding of the programme include Highlands & Islands Enterprise, EventScotland, European Regional Development Fund, VisitScotland and Awards for All.