Orkney’s climate is surprisingly mild, given how far north we are. The last lick of the gulf stream curls around the islands and helps keep us above freezing even in midwinter. It’s true, summers are not particularly warm, but they are sunny: typically, we get 40 or 50 hours of sunshine per week in May and June. But what dominates the islands all year round is wind. In the light months it’s usually a gentle breeze – force three or four – but from the autumn equinox, right through the long dark winter, force six or seven is common. Fiercer...
  Photo courtesy of Lynda Sharp   The shortest scheduled commercial flight in the world is between Westray and Papa Westray, two of Orkney’s north isles.  Timetables show it lasting three minutes, but with a following wind it can all be over in 90 seconds.  The plane is an eight-seater Islander, with a cabin narrower than the average family car, so everyone gets a window seat.  Look down during those moments as you fly low over the swirling waters of Papa Sound, and you’ll see a three-islet straggle of rocks, pebbles and beaches, with a few sheep dotted here and...
  Since setting up her jewellery business in the 1960s, Ola Gorie has drawn inspiration from a range of sources, including the ancient past, her surrounding environment, her home in Orkney and from other pioneering designers. One such designer was Jessie M. King, a prolific early 20th century artist, known for her paintings, illustrations, ceramics, textiles and jewellery.  King was a contemporary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald (also inspirations to Ola) and studied at the Glasgow School of Art during its Art Nouveau heyday in the early 1900s. She was most celebrated in her lifetime for her fabulous...
One of Ola’s enduringly popular jewellery collections is Skara Brae, inspired by the discovery of a Neolithic village at the Bay of Skaill, on the west coast of Orkney, in the mid 19th century. Ola’s handcrafted pieces takes their inspiration from the stones and artefacts discovered on the site, which was properly excavated in the late 1920s. The site excavation was led by Professor Gordon Childe, the first professor of Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, who was brought in to preserve the site for the public. Childe has long been credited with the dig and its historical findings but it...