Capitalise on Out of Season Discounts
Orkney’s temperature does not vary much due to the surrounding sea currents. Capitalise on the out of the Out of School Season rates and the magnificent sunrises that one only sees in these months, as one gets up in the morning. All the cottages are positioned on the sea, facing East – so they all capture stunning sunrises across the sea, that sets the scene for a wonderful peaceful relaxed day!
So much to do – for much less during these Out of Season months!
Whats on during October to April
The Orkney Storytelling Festival is a long weekend of oral storytelling. Organised by the Orcadian Story Trust, it has become an established annual event in the Orkney calendar since its re-emergence in 2010.
The festival events take place in locations across Orkney. Alongside local storytellers, both beginners and the experienced, the festival brings invited guests to our isles from all over the world.
Orkney is one of the best places in Britain to go seal-watching. In fact it is of significant international importance as a breeding ground for two species - the grey and common seal. Astonishingly, around 15% of the world's seal population make Orkney their home.
Along with the adorable puffins, Orkney's seals are a firm favourite with visitors and can always be relied upon to put on a show! They are naturally inquisitive creatures and can be spotted along the coastline, bobbing about in the shallows or lounging around on the skerries when the tide is out.
A superb community bonfire and fireworks display with music from the Kirkwall City Pipe Band. Pets and the use of sparklers are not permitted. There will be a collection for local charities and soup and hot dogs will be sold by the Glaitness School Parent Council.
Winter has well and truly arrived in Orkney. The days are short and sky is dark, apart from a glimpse of the low sun as it burns through the clouds.
And it’s the winter sun that plays a central role in one of Orkney’s most spectacular events. Every year, at midwinter, the setting sun shines down the entrance passage of the Neolithic tomb at Maeshowe, illuminating the back wall with beautiful, bright light.
Every Christmas Eve and Hogmanay, householders and shopkeepers along Kirkwall's winding central streets can be seen barricading doors and windows in preparation for the following days' ba' games.
The Kirkwall Ba' is a mass-football game played out in the streets of the town every Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
The game pits two rival "factions" against each other in a battle to secure a goal and win the game.
Why would you choose a New Year break in Scotland? Well, no other nation in the world celebrates the New Year with quite as much revelry and passion as Scotland does, and it's hardly surprising that the enormous celebration that engulfs the country is legendary the world over.
Hogmanay is what we Scots call New Year's Eve - 31 December - the big night that marks the arrival of the new year. Its origins reach back to the celebration of the winter solstice among the Vikings with wild parties in late December.
The Orkney West Mainland Agricultural Society was originally formed for the purpose of holding a Ploughing Match in 1859. It was not until 1891 that the first Dounby Show was held. The show has grown and developed and is now held annually in our own Showpark in Dounby, attracting nearly 6000 spectators in recent years. In October 2005, the Society became a Limited Company.
The Society also holds an Annual Ploughing Match, which at the present time is very well supported.
Trophies from both events are presented at the Annual Farmers Ball and Presentation of Prizes, which is held at the end of November or begining of December.
I think it would be fair to say that Orkney’s salt water sea trout fishery is a far cry from the halcyon days of 50 years ago. This doesn't mean that sport nowadays is poor. Far from it, but it’s a lot harder.Whereas in the distant past when large catches of quality fish were commonplace and relatively easy to find, today’s salt water angler has to put in a lot of effort and time, often for meager reward. On the plus side, fewer local anglers are plying their trade in salt water and it is quite possible to find yourself alone in one of the hot spots. If you are fortunate enough to be in the right place, at the right time, and you know what you are doing, then you can still expect a few fish. If you can manage to string together a few “right places” etc on the same day then you will enjoy one of the best day’s trout fishing possible in the United Kingdom.
Orkney’s cliffs are home to vast numbers of breeding seabirds during the summer, with Marwick Head and Mull Head on the mainland, and Noup Head in Westray, popular sites for seabird spotting. If you’re looking for puffins, many of Orkney’s huge population are on the inaccessible Sule Skerry, but there are plenty of spots around the islands to catch a glimpse of these charming birds, particularly the Castle o’ Burrian in Westray and Marwick Head on the west mainland.
Waders breed in Orkney’s wetlands and can also be found in the lochans on the moors of the mainland, Rousay and Hoy. The moors are also the place to see hen harriers and short eared owls.
The Brown Trout Season has just started and for the first couple of months it’s best to wade in the Loch of Harray as the shallow water close to the shore is warmer and the fish feed there. Towards the end of May, and through June, July and August, it’s best to use a boat on the Loch of Harray as the Brown Trout move out to deeper cooler water as the weather warms up.
A fun packed weekend of dance workshops and ceilidhs with various tutors and bands
Music from three local and one South band, tutors covering a multitude of different dances and a selection of daily workshops to choose from.
Ceilidhs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night with live bands and super served to your table.
The Jazz Festival takes place in The Stromness Hotel with a great line up of performers.
Performances start around 9pm in the Lounge Bar of the Stromness Hotel.
Sunday night includes a 3 course Orcadian buffet before the band starts at 9pm.