In Print

Newsprint – 1942

1942 January 21 Orkney Herald

LOCAL COMMITTEE CHANGES – ROUSAY AND WYRE. – District Council Representative – Mr John Johnston, Testaquoy, Wyre, in succession to Mr Magnus Flaws, merchant, Hellzigarth, Wyre, who is moving from Wyre to Rousay to become manager of the Rousay, Egilshay and Veira Co-operative Society, Ltd., following the appointment of Mr Walls, the previous manager, as packing station manager of Orkney Egg Producers, Ltd., Kirkwall.

BRING YOUR OWN SUGAR. – Now that the increased sugar ration has been discontinued it is only reasonable that when visiting we should carry our own sugar. In smaller households it may be a real hardship to provide sugar for guests. There is little fear of your action being misunderstood when you produce your own sugar – in most cases it is likely to be appreciated. Get the habit now if you have not already adopted it.

1942 February 18 Orkney Herald

HOUSEHOLD RESERVES. – Many households, especially in rural areas, will have had reason to be thankful that they could draw upon small household reserves. Potatoes, oatmeal, and flour, which are still in good supply, provide a most suitable type of reserve, and reasonable supplies of these foodstuffs should be added to make up the inroads which may have been made on them during recent stormy weather. And remember, at least two days’ supply of bread should always be maintained.

1942 February 18 Orkney Herald


The R.N. Cinema, Kirkwall, was filled to capacity with men and women of the forces and a sprinkling of employees from various civilian contractors last Saturday night to welcome those famous artistes, Bud (Oi) Flanagan and Chesney Allen, who had a magnificent supporting company.

Flanagan and Allen were accorded a right royal reception when they made their appearance, and Bud’s overcoat of Orcadian Squirrel, together with his fretwork headgear were a riot in themselves.

One of the highlights of their show was Ches Allen as the racehorse owner giving riding orders to his jockey (Bud Flanagan) on Epsom Downs.

It would be impossible to imagine anything funnier, and it was these two great comedians at their brilliant best. Everything else that they did stamped them as the leaders in their line of business, and at the close they got a wonderful ovation.

The locally based R.A.F. Quintette richly deserved the big hand which was given them; each of its members is undoubtedly a very talented musician.

Cyril Smith compered the show and soon had the house sitting up and asking for more with his inexhaustible fund of clever stories put over in a manner only possible with a raconteur par excellence. His monologue “The Cockney and the Hun” was truly grand stuff.

Mr Stanley Kilburn charmed the audience with his arrangements on the piano, and he certainly is maestro.

An extremely pleasant surprise was provided by the introduction of Sergt. Alex. MacIntosh, vocalist, a Stromness competition winner. His rendering of “I’ll walk beside you,” amongst other excellent numbers, had a very warm reception and a successful future is indicated for this very fine singer.

At the fall of the curtain the whole company received another grand ovation. Seen by an “Orkney Herald” representative, Flanagan and Allen sent a message of good wishes to all Forces readers of the “Herald” (including the ladies) and want them to know how glad they are to be with them in Orkney. They would have been here before this but for previous heavy bookings.

They wish everybody all they wish themselves and the Best of Luck – Oi !!

[A hero of the home front was the singing comic Bud Flanagan. In jarring times his sleepy croon would soothe a nerve-racked city. Born Reuben Weintrop and raised in a Polish Jewish household off Brick Lane, he was a call boy in the music halls and worked up his own act with partner Chesney Allen. When hostilities commenced, the man who had beguiled audiences with ‘Underneath the Arches’ could now calm wartime jitters with ‘We’re Going to Hang Out the Washing on the Siegfried Line’. Almost the last thing he did, before his death in 1968, was to record the theme song to Dad’s Army, ‘Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mr Hitler?’ – a nicely nostalgic confection that offered him the perfect exit. – From ‘In the City: A Celebration of London Music’ by Paul Du Noyer.]

1942 February 25 Orkney Herald

NURSING SERVICES – MESSAGE FROM H.M. THE QUEEN. – Her Majesty The Queen has sent a message to members of all branches of the nursing profession, which is being exhibited in all hospitals in Orkney. The message is in the following terms: –

“My thoughts go out to the women who, in this third year of war, are serving the cause of humanity in every branch of the nursing profession.

“May you be granted strength and courage to carry on your selfless labours and may find your reward in the gratitude of those to whom you minister.”

1942 March 11 Orkney Herald

CALL-UP AGES REVISED. – Men of forty-five, girls of twenty, and boys of eighteen are now liable to be called up. A proclamation signed by the King in Privy Council last week giving effect to this decision states, too, that more doctors and dentists are to be recruited.

1942 March 18 Orkney Herald

BASIC PETROL RATION GOES AFTER JUNE 30. – After June 30 no basic petrol ration will be issued, and the Government wants all pleasure cars and motor-cycles taken off the roads.

Petrol will then be allowed only for essential purposes. The ration for May and June will be cut by half.

These decisions, the most drastic yet introduced, were announced in the House of Commons by Mr Geoffrey Lloyd, Secretary for Petroleum, and Mr Herbert Morrison, Home Secretary.

Basic ration for motor-cycles will not be abolished until the October period, as many war workers use motor-cycles to and from their work. There will be a 10 per cent. reduction in the supplementary allowance for the April May period…..

NEW COAL ORDER – TWO CWTS. PER WEEK. – From to-day (Tuesday) anyone in Scotland who has half a ton of coal in stock will not be allowed to buy any more for three weeks. People who have less than half a ton in stock will not be permitted to buy more than 6 cwts. for the following three weeks – an average of 2 cwts. per week…..

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in the Wasbister School on Friday, February 27. There was quite a good turnout of members, presided over by Miss Inkster, who gave as her motto, “Face powder fascinates a man, but it takes baking powder to hold him” – most appropriate for the demonstration which was to follow. After the minutes had been read and correspondence dealt with, Miss Inkster called on Mrs William Flaws, Hammerfield, to give a demonstration. This took the form of a currant bun, the mixing and method of which were very keenly followed. A vote of thanks was proposed to Mrs Flaws by Miss Inkster for her very able demonstration, and for the neat and efficient manner in which it was carried out. The competition for the evening was “Something Made from a Sack.” This produced one or two capital entries, such as mats, gardening aprons, etc. The judges, Mrs R. Mainland, Mrs Moar and Mrs Hourie, who had rather a difficult task, finally awarded the prizes as follows: 1 Mrs S. Gibson, Lopness; 2 Mrs McLean, Sourin Schoolhouse; 3 Mrs John Marwick, Breck. After a most acceptable cup of tea, provided by the Wasbister ladies, Miss Anna Yorston favoured the gathering with selections on the mouth organ, and Miss Evelyn Clouston with a song; both items being very much appreciated. Mrs Kirkness thereafter proposed votes of thanks to hostesses, judges and entertainers. The meeting concluded with the singing of the National Anthem. The next meeting will be held in the Sourin School on Friday, March 27. Competition – One pair ladies’ woollen gloves knitted on two wires. Members are reminded of next egg collection on April 6.

1942 March 25 Orkney Herald


From far-off Tahiti, in the Hawaiian Islands, comes a communication to the “Orkney Herald” from one of Kirkwall’s sons, Mr John Moodie. Posted on January 29, the letter had travelled by Trans-Pacific Air Mail from the U.S. naval base, made famous by the Japs’ treacherous attack on Pearl Harbour, to the States, and thence to this country Mr Moodie encloses the following poem…..


I know that I shall never see
Those far-off isles so dear to me
Though in my dreams I often roam
O’er link and braes I still call home:

To Wideford Hill I often go
And view the scene spread out below,
There’s Scapa Flow’s blue waters deep
Where Nazi ships forever sleep;

Sanday, like a monster sprawling;
Stronsay from its claws is crawling,
There Rousay lies curled up asleep,
While Eday’s peats her smoke screens keep;

Old Man o’ Hoy keeps sharp lookout,
To see no “subs” lurk there about.
The longing wish that “winna doon”
Is just once more to see that “toon”:

What would I give to walk once more,
From Clay Loan down just to the shore,
And nod, and smile, and say “Hello,”
To them of fifty years ago.

1942 May 20 Orkney Herald

LIFEBOATS IN WAR-TIME. – The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has just brought out a third edition of its interesting publication, “The Lifeboat Service and the War.” It gives a vivid idea in both letterpress and pictures of the day by day work of the lifeboat service under war conditions – the many new dangers that have to be faced and the unexpected duties that have to be carried out. In the first thirty months of the war, which are here reviewed, the lifeboats round the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland have rescued 4,630 lives – nearly two for every one rescued in the last war and five for every one rescued in the 20 years of peace between the two wars. “War,” it is stated, “has increased their work fivefold. It has increased their hazards much more than fivefold. It has brought them strange new duties. It has added many unfamiliar dangers to the ever-present and familiar dangers of the sea.” The booklet provides a stirring record of bravery and endurance. The many illustrations include portraits of some of the men who have played such a heroic part during these thirty months of war.

1942 May 27 Orkney Herald


£94,000 – that was Orkney’s Warship Week total at the time of going to press, as signalled by the sailor on the mast at Kirkwall Market Green at 1 p.m. to-day (Tuesday).

The county aims at raising £120,000 by Saturday to pay for the corvette H.M.S. Ness. There is confidence that the target figure will be reached, but not over-confidence – every penny is wanted.

There is no slacking of effort as the target figure is approached, and during the week a full programme is being enthusiastically entered into in Kirkwall and throughout the county.

The week was given an auspicious send off on Saturday afternoon with an inaugural address by Vice-Admiral L. V. Wells, C.B., D.S.O., Flag Officer Commanding the Orkneys and Shetlands. The address was followed by a march past of the Services, which provided one of the most impressive spectacles of its kind yet seen in Orkney…..

Vice-Admiral Wells took the salute at the march past as bluejackets, marines, W.R.N.S., soldiers, A.T.S., mechanised units, airmen. W.A.A.F.’s, A.T.C., and Home Guard swung past the saluting base, to the music of the pipes and drums of a Highland regiment.

A large crowd of spectators had gathered at Broad Street to hear the opening ceremony, brought to them by loudspeaker, and to witness the march past.

The large Home Guard contingent included Kirkwall, East and West Mainland platoons…..

On Sunday afternoon two Naval vessels were open to visitors at the harbour, and large numbers of people were conducted over the ships.

Principal Warship Week attraction in Kirkwall on Monday was the war weapons display at the Market Green. Navy, Fleet Air Arm, Army and Home Guard combined in providing a most interesting and comprehensive display of modern armaments.

Personnel of the Services were in attendance to demonstrate and describe the exhibits, which included a Naval torpedo, mines, field and anti-aircraft artillery, mortars, bren gun carriers, predictor, sound locator, searchlight, rangefinder, and a wide array of small arms and automatics. The public were given an insight into the Home Guard’s growing range of weapons, including a new piece of “heavy” artillery.

Crews of light A.A. gun and predictor were seen in action as an aircraft swooped over the Market Green in mock attacks.

The weapons display will be repeated on Thursday, and should be missed by no-one.

1942 June 3 Orkney Herald


£241,000 was invested in Orkney during the county’s Warship Week which came to an end on Saturday. It means that the target figure – £120,000 for the corvette H.M.S. Ness – has been more than doubled.

The figure of £218,000, announced at Kirkwall Market Green on Saturday evening, was augmented by returns from outlying areas since received.

First total signalled on the Naval indicator at Kirkwall Market Green was £60,000 at 1 p.m. on the opening day, Saturday, 23rd May, and from then on investments mounted steadily. The target figure was passed on Wednesday when, at 8 p.m. a total of £124,000 was signalled. The effort did not flag, however, as is evident from the county’s splendid final figure.

Though the Royal Navy was most closely associated with Orkney’s drive, all three services co-operated whole-heartedly with the civilian promoters.

Orkney’s near quarter-million total of Warship Week, brings the county’s total investments in round figures since the Savings Campaign commenced in November 1939, to well over £1,600,000, or more than £70 per head of the population of 22,000. The total is made up as follows: – War Savings £900,000, deposits in Post Office Savings Bank £500,000, Warship Week £241,000…..

1942 June 10 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NURSING. – Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre Nursing Association announces that while Nurse Moffat is on holiday, from 10th June to 6th July, her duties will be taken over as follows: – 10th June to 16th June, by Mrs Hugh Craigie, jr., Scockness, Sourin (formerly a Queen’s Nurse); 16th June to 1st July, by Nurse Keith, Witchwood, relief Nurse for Orkney, and from 1st July to 6th July, by Mrs Hugh Craigie, Scockness.

1942 June 17 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – A meeting of Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Wasbister School on Thursday, May 28. After the minutes, read by Mrs Marwick in the absence of Mrs Paterson, were approved, Miss Inkster introduced Mrs Gardner, M.O.I. lecturer, who chose as her subject “Women’s War-time Activities.” She gave a detailed account of the life of, and the work done by, the Women’s Services – W.R.N.S., A.T.S., W.A.A.F.S., W.L.A., W.F.C., and N.A.A.F.I., and the Nursing Services, and to all she paid a warm tribute. She pointed out that it was the duty of all who could to offer hospitality to the service girls, many of whom were far from home and must necessarily be lonely at times. The various work done by voluntary workers was also discussed, and Mrs Gardner emphasised that all women could be of national service by using as much home-grown food as possible and by making the most of their rations. At this point she told how to bottle fruit and rhubarb for winter use, and dictated the method for the benefit of those taking notes. Throughout the lecture, Mrs Gardner told many stories to illustrate certain points, but most touching of all were the stories of two old ladies, one in a London shelter who made tea and sausages every night during air raids for needy and homeless people, and the other who came back to her bombed out home in Clydebank, after the first blitz, found her stove, gathered together kindling, of which she said there was plenty, and all day made and supplied tea to voluntary workers. In closing, she spoke of the morale of the nation, which was very high, and the future. “Much sorrow,” she said, “lies before the women of Britain. Victory cannot be won without great sacrifice, but British women will face the ordeal bravely and they will realise that ‘Death is swallowed up in Victory.’ ” It was altogether a very comprehensive and interesting lecture, and it is to be hoped that “those in power” will persuade the Ministry of Information to release Mrs Gardner for another lecture tour in Orkney. On the call of Miss Inkster the lecturer received a very hearty vote of thanks, and she thereafter judged the entries in the competition, “Something new from something old.” First (equal) were Mrs Gibson, Lopness, and Mrs Hourie, Quoygreenie, for a child’s knitted dress, knickers and socks from up-runnings of two old jumpers, and a very attractive dress from an old coat, respectively; 2 Mrs Craigie, Furse, for a pair of gloves knitted from up-runnings of old cashmere stockings. The hostesses for the evening were Mrs Flaws and Mrs Moar.

1942 June 24 Orkney Herald

FIRST RAID VICTIM AVENGED. – The death of James Isbister, Bridge of Waithe, Britain’s first civilian air-raid casualty of the war, has been avenged. Colonel Fritz Doench, the German air ace who led the first bomber attack on this country in 1939, and who also led an attack on the Orkneys and Scapa Flow in March, 1940, in which Isbister was killed, is dead. His death was announced by the Nazis on Thursday. No details of how he was killed are given, but it is thought in London that he met his death in a flying accident while directing operations off the North Cape against our convoys going to Russia. During the Spanish War, Doench was one of the pilots in the infamous Condor Legion. Isbister was killed while standing in his doorway watching tracer bullets and bursting A.A. shells. The H.E. bomb was one of nineteen dropped by a fleeing enemy bomber.

1942 August 5 Orkney Herald

GRANNY MAINLAND IS 102. – “Granny” Mainland, of 17 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, celebrated her 102nd birthday on Monday. “Granny,” as she is known to practically everybody in the town, had many callers bearing congratulations and good wishes throughout the day. Among them were Mr Alfred Baikie of Tankerness, Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Shetland; Provost P. C. Flett, Kirkwall; Mr W. J. Heddle, Town Clerk, Kirkwall, and Mrs Heddle; Bailie Slater, Mr D. M. Wood, County Clerk; Dr MacLeod, and relations, neighbours and friends. “Granny” Mainland is a native of Rousay. She was born on the farm of Banks there. In her early life she spent some years in domestic service in Edinburgh, but has been living in Kirkwall for as long as most of the present inhabitants can remember. She is in good health and retains her faculties to a remarkable degree. All readers will join with us in endorsing the hearty congratulations which “Granny” Mainland has already received.

FAMOUS ARTISTES FOR ORKNEY. – Bebe Daniels and Ben Lyon, the London Palladium stars, famous from the “Hi, Gang” radio series, have announced their intention of visiting the Orkney Islands to entertain troops stationed here. These renowned American artistes have still a considerable time to put in with their present show, however. Other famous artistes who have promised to visit the Orkney forces include Sir Harry Lauder and George Formby. The latter has already visited Orkney once. Other stars who have already visited Orkney under the ENSA schedule or on their own initiative include Frances Day, Phyllis Monkman, Gracie Fields, Flanagan and Allen, Evelyn Laye and Arthur Riscoe.

1942 August 12 Orkney Herald

POSSESSION OF TELESCOPE AN OFFENCE. – Two young men, a Kirkwallian and a visitor, were fined 5/- each [by Sheriff-Substitute George Brown at Orkney Sheriff Court this (Tuesday) forenoon], having pled guilty to having a telescope in their possession on the Holm Road. A police car proceeding along the road saw the accused using the telescope to view ships in Scapa Flow. Accused explained that, though they were aware that it was an offence to carry a camera, they did not know that the restriction applied also to telescope or binoculars. The case was brought under the Regulated Areas Order (No. 6), which came into force about 6 months ago.

1942 August 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – FROTOFT PICNIC. – The annual Frotoft picnic was held on Friday, 7th August. The weather made outdoor sports impossible, but children, parents and friends assembled in the School and spent a pleasant afternoon and evening. Indoor races and competitions were eagerly contested. Tea was served at 6 o’clock. Afterwards Mrs [Grace] Goar, Wasbister School, presented the prizes to the winners. On the call of Mr William Craigie, Corse, she was accorded a hearty vote of thanks. Mr Harcus and committee were thanked by Mr Mainland, Nearhouse, for organising the picnic. Dancing followed and continued until 2 a.m., when the company joined in singing “Auld Lang Syne” before dispersing. The committee wish to thank all who sent gifts of home-bakes, and all those who supplied music for the dance.

1942 September 9 Orkney Herald

PASSING OF “GRANNY” MAINLAND. – “Granny” Mainland, well-beloved centenarian of Kirkwall, passed peacefully away at her home in Victoria Street shortly before midnight last Tuesday. Less than a month before, on her 102nd birthday, she had been visited by a number of civic notabilities, including the Lord Lieutenant of the County, Mr Alfred Baikie of Tankerness, who called with hearty good wishes. On her 100th birthday she was the recipient of Royal congratulations, of which she was particularly proud.

Born on August 3, 1840, in the island of Rousay, Granny Mainland worked in the South as a young woman, but returned to Orkney and settled down in Kirkwall, where she spent most of her life.

Deeply interested in both local and international affairs, she remained alert and keen-witted until within a week or so of her death. Until her 102nd birthday she was able to be out of doors. Latterly, however, she became weaker and was confined to her bedroom, and on Tuesday evening, September 1, after a long life well spent, she crossed the Great Divide.

All who knew Granny Mainland, and all who knew of her, will regret the passing of this staunch old pillar of the Orkney that was.

1942 September 16 Orkney Herald

EVIE – HARVEST. – We are now surrounded with acres of ripe grain, and harvesting is in full swing. Stooks are appearing in the fields in place of level seas of corn. The labour list is meagre, but machinery compensates, and we see large patches of corn diminishing as the self-binder with the tractor trails round them. There is prospect of a plenteous harvest to crown the farmer’s efforts, and the treasures of the field should amply reward him for his industry and patience.

1942 September 30 Orkney Herald

EMERGENCY FOOD SUPPLIES IN THE HOME. – Now that we are on the verge of winter it seems appropriate to give a reminder of the need for looking at household reserves and having them replenished or replaced with fresh supplies where necessary. The Ministry have made it clear what may be regarded as a reasonable reserve. Oatmeal, flour and potatoes are in good supply and are admirable as a reserve because they can be kept without deterioration for a reasonable period and can always be used and replaced. And remember always to have at least two days’ supply of bread in the home.  

DISTRIBUTION OF ORANGES. – There still appears to be a lot of misunderstanding about the Ministry’s orange policy. Oranges are not rationed and are not issued to holders of green (R.B.2) ration books in place of the discontinued tea ration. When supplies are available however – though for obvious reasons that may be only at irregular intervals – they must be reserved exclusively for the first five days for the benefit of children who possess the green ration book. Because deliveries are irregular, retailers should display the oranges so that parents may be able to take advantage of the opportunity. It is desirable that any supplies which may be left after the five days should be made available to young persons.

1942 October 14 Orkney Herald

MR CHURCHILL WITH THE FLEET. – The Prime Minister, speaking in Edinburgh on Monday, revealed that he had just returned from a visit to the Fleet, “somewhere in Scotland.” He had visited ships of all sizes and types and met men of all ranks, men recently returned from action in the Mediterranean and from perilous Russian convoys.

1942 November 18 Orkney Herald

CATHEDRAL BELLS. – The bells of St Magnus Cathedral swelled with their chimes the nation-wide carillon on Sunday morning to celebrate the victory of the Eighth Army in Egypt, and, in the words of a Downing Street statement, “as a call to thanksgiving and to renewed prayer.” Breaking their two years’ silence, the Cathedral bells sounded from 10.30 to 10.45 and from 11.10 to 11.15. The bell-ringer was Mr John Wick, Victoria Street, Kirkwall.

1942 December 2 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COLLECTION BY SCHOOL CHILDREN. – Mrs Harcus, Frotoft School, has received acknowledgment from the Earl Haig Fund of £7 5s 8d. This sum was realised from the sale of poppies by school children in Rousay. From the Governors of the Donaldson Trust in Edinburgh a letter of thanks has come, for the sum of £8 5s 4d, which was collected by school children. Teachers and pupils are thanked for their kind co-operation.

ORKNEY’S SPITFIRE IN ACTION. – News of some of the operational flights upon which the Spitfire “Orkney” has been engaged has been received by Mr Alfred Baikie of Tankerness, C.B., Lord-Lieutenant of Orkney and Zetland. He has learned that the Spitfire which the county of Orkney gifted to the Government, and was named “Orkney,” has been serving with the operational squadrons of the Royal Air Force for nearly a year, and was in the Battle of Britain and operations carried it to such places as Dieppe, Boulogne, Dunkirk, Cherbourg, St Omer and Lille, and it has shared in most of the squadron’s successes. It has been thrice damaged, but has been repaired and is still in service.

1942 December 23 Orkney Herald

THE BATTLE FOR WASTE PAPER. – Every gun, rifle or grenade used by our fighting men needs paper before it can do its work. Every tank, every ship has to be fed with paper. The supply of paper for these weapons of war must be maintained whatever the cost.

But we now have a weekly deficit of several thousand tons of waste paper for our essential war needs, states the Waste Paper Recovery Association. This deficit must be made good at once.

We must recover 100,000 tons of used paper immediately if victory is to be assured.

The paper is here in this country, without using the shipping so urgently needed to supply our fighting forces abroad. It is nevertheless being wasted, destroyed and burnt by careless people who do not seem to realise how they are impeding the war effort.

Every scrap of paper you can lay hands on is urgently needed NOW. If you do not search every corner of the house for it, you are endangering the war effort. To hoard paper now is as unpatriotic as trying to obtain more than your fair share of rationed foods.

Every old newspaper, magazine, cigarette or soap carton, every old envelope, and even every label from your food tins, can help to make a vital component for some weapons of war.

If each person in the country saves 4½ lbs. of paper or cardboard each month, or if every home will make its target 17 lbs. of paper a month, our war needs can be met. That is the minimum required.

If after combing your home or office for every scrap of unwanted paper, you cannot get it collected, please write to the Waste Paper Recovery Association, Courier Buildings, Dundee, who will advise you how to dispose of it.




“HEDGEHOG,” in modern warfare, is the term used to describe massed resistance – infinitely more effective than scattered strength. The same thing is true in the case of the coal you burn; look on any large lump as your hedgehog. Don’t break it up.


A good sized lump of coal weighs about 5 lb. Broken up into five pieces, it will blaze away fiercely. Left whole and well banked, it will burn for nearly three times as long. The heat won’t go up the chimney either, as it is apt to do when the fire blazes. So go easy with your poker – keep it on the hearth and keep your coal consumption down.


1. Reduce the area of your grate with fire-bricks. Ordinary bricks will do.
2. Bank the fire with slack to make it burn longer.
3. Poke the fire from underneath, when you must.
4. Sift cinders.
5. Remove all unburnt coal from the fire at bedtime.


1942 December 30 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CHRISTMAS PARTY. – The Frotoft Christmas party was held in Frotoft School on the evening of Wednesday, 16th December. For the first time for many years the schoolchildren gave a concert. Although there were only ten pupils, the programme was pleasing, and was well received by the audience of parents and friends. Among friends welcomed back to the district were Mrs Robertson, from Leith; Mr and Mrs Miller and family, from Evie, and Messrs John and Hugh Yorston, Yorville, who are now serving with the R.A.F. Mrs Paterson, Brinian House, acted as chairwoman. At the close of the concert, Santa Claus visited the children. In spite of war conditions, he had a splendid variety of toys, and every child in the district got a gift from “Santa’s” sack. Mrs Harcus called for a vote of thanks to Mrs Paterson for so ably carrying out her duties as chairwoman, while Rev. R. R. Davidson called for votes of thanks to the teacher and her pupils. Then tea followed. Music was supplied by the Wasbister band. At 1.30 a.m, the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” brought to a close a very enjoyable evening. Annexed is the programme: – Hymn, “Away in a Manger,” pupils; recitation, “The Spider and His Wife,” Edith Pirie; recitation, “I’m the wee chap that can do it,” infants; song, “Twenty Froggies,” pupils; recitation, “My Earliest Recollection,”. Mary Gibson; dance, “Baby Polka,” pupiIs; recitation, “The Mother’s Strike,” Rhoda and John Mainland; song, “How’d you like to be a Baby Girl?” junior girls; recitation, “Envy,” Brian Marwick; sketch, “The Christmas Pudding”; recitation, “The Big Meal,” Gilbert Pirie; song, “The Fox,” pupils; recitation, “Little John Bottlejohn,” Heleanor Mainland; interval: sketch, “Old Yet Ever New”; recitation, “My Uncle Jehoshaphat,” Eileen Mainland; song, “The Birdie’s Ball,” Edith Pirie and Chorus; recitation, “The Mother’s Strike,” Rhoda Mainland; dance, “Schottische,” pupils; recitation, “Mary Ann,” Mae Turner; song, “Dainty Lady Snowdrop,” Gilbert Pirie and Mary Gibson; recitation, “The Origin of the Camel’s Hump,” Sheila Mainland; song, “Christmas Eve,” pupils.

QUIET CHRISTMAS. – Christmas Day in Kirkwall was quiet – almost like a Sunday. The day was observed as a holiday, but no special public entertainments had been arranged, and there was, of course, no ba’. The bells of St Magnus Cathedral rang out the glad Christmas message in the morning, and a carol service was held in the Cathedral at 11.15. On Sunday special Christmas Services were held in the churches. At King Street Church at 11.15 a joint service was held with members of a Highland Regiment. Praise was led by a military band of the regiment.


Rousay Videos

A collection of links to videos with a Rousay content, hosted by YouTube.

Click on the underlined titles to watch.

The BBC2 documentary series Arena visited Rousay in 1977 to learn about the island’s film society.

1977 Rousay Film Society

Orkney Magazine No 1 – The Drift Back. A film produced for the Orkney County Council’s Education Committee by Margaret Caroline Tait (Ancona Films) in 1956. We see Neil Flaws and his family, Alice, John and Sheila, return to Halbreck, Wyre.

The Drift Back

FARA – The Orkney Series – Episode 9. Jeana Leslie and Kristan Harvey visited Rousay in October 2020. After relating the island’s history they visit Jim Craigie’s old home and play his best-known tune – Maggie Watson’s Farewell to Blackhammer.

FARA – The Orkney Series – Ep9

A video I produced of a collection of my Rousay photographs. The soundtrack is The Rousay Grand March, composed by Jim Craigie, and played by Garry Blakeley.

Rousay 1

Another collection of my Rousay photos, with three more of Jim Craigie’s tunes, The Purple Hills o’ Rousay, Guthrie’s Backsteen, and The Brig o’ Vacquoy, played by Garry Blakeley.

Rousay, Orkney ~ pictures and fiddle tunes

Throw another peat on the fire, pour yourself a dram, and watch a video I made in January 2012 – Wester in Winter, Rousay.

Wester in Winter, Rousay, Orkney

Rousay musicians Ellen and James Grieve play the tune – Edwin Flaws of Wyre by Freeland Barbour, and Maggie Watson’s Farewell to Blackhammer by Jim Craigie.

Ellen and James Grieve – Edwin Flaws of Wyre

I ventured out in a westerly blow of force 10 or thereabouts. My vantage point was the top of the Leean, with the Head of Faraclett taking a pounding.

Faraclett Head, Rousay, Orkney – in a force 10

Neil Oliver explores the Knowe of Lairo, assisted by Bruce Mainland, Cott, – a clip from the BBC TV series Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney

In Print

Newsprint – 1941

1941 January 1 Orkney Herald

CHRISTMAS DAY RAIDER SHOT DOWN. – The most exciting event of Christmas Day in Orkney was the shooting down of a German plane in the county. The raider was apparently a reconnaissance machine, and was interrupted and brought down, according to the official announcement, by Fleet Air Arm planes co-operating with the R.A.F. Residents in certain Orkney districts had an excellent view of the sky battle and its successful culmination. The Nazi machine’s crew of four were captured.

SWAT THAT RAT. – Destroy the loathsome pest which eats £40,000,000 worth of food every year. Swat that rat. In town and country he is helping Hitler to make inroads on our food stores. The major task is for agriculturalists and those responsible for granaries and warehouses, but the householder can do his bit. Keep food and refuse out of the rodents’ reach and make your house rat-proof. There are several excellent brands of proprietary rat poison available, and your chemist will tell you how to use them. Use the bait in prolific manner. Rats are suspicious and one dead rat will warn all others away from the food which poisoned it. In warehouses, factories, shops and restaurants, use spring or break back, wire cage or sticky-board traps. Clear away heaps of waste and scrap. Keep your yards clean and starve out the pests. See that there is no casual water about. Kill them and blockade them. Help in the nation-wide campaign to destroy rats, it is vitally urgent.




VOLUNTEERS, both sexes, ages 18 to 60, as blood donors. An Orkney Blood Transfusion Association has been formed. A blood Storage Bank has been established, and your co-operation is VITAL if lives are to be saved.

Give your names and addresses to the Superintendent, Balfour Hospital,
Kirkwall, or to the Medical Officer of Health, Kirkwall.

1941 January 8 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SCHOOL AWARDS. – At Wasbister School, before closing on Friday, December 20, for the Christmas vacation, the following awards were made: – Good attendance at day school – Irene Hourie; perfect attendance at day school – Gertrude Moar; excellent attendance at Sunday school – Evelyn Clouston and George Sinclair. Orkney and Zetland Prize – First Class – Evelyn Clouston. Sir Donald A. Smith Scholarship – Evelyn Clouston.

1941 January 15 Orkney Herald

MEAT SUPPLIES. – Please show forbearance with your butcher at this period of shortage of meat supplies; his task is not an enviable one. You are not his only customer and he must be fair, as he will be, in distributing what supplies are allocated to him. Here is the opportunity to practice more assiduously the recommendation of the Minister of Food. Plain fare and ingenuity will tide over this temporary phase, and it is confidently expected that the housewives of the North-east will uncomplainingly “make do” until more plentiful supplies are available.

EMERGENCY BREAD SUPPLIES. – The maintenance of bread supplies under emergency conditions is most important, but it may be that under certain circumstances supplies and deliveries may be suspended for a short time. In order to meet such a contingency, should it ever arise, the Divisional Food Officer asks that all householders should have in the house at all times at least one day’s supply of bread. Experience in other areas has clearly shown that such prudence is not only desirable, but essential.

EVIE – COUNTRY IN JANUARY. – Ploughing has made good progress in the last week or two, and fields of freshly overturned soil, richly brown, contrast strongly with grass fields still vividly green, giving the landscape a rather pleasing aspect these colourless days. With the increase of light, signs of plant life are apparent in meadow and garden. Spring bulbs are forcing their green spears through the soil boldly – not to be checked, we hope.

1941 January 29 Orkney Herald



We acknowledge with pleasure, a copy of the new Orkney publication for the Forces, “The Orkney Blast.” Printed on a large four-page sheet (its pages are bigger than those of the average daily), it contains numerous features calculated to interest and amuse the members of the Services. Strictly speaking, it is more of the magazine than newspaper style, but a certain proportion of bona fide news is a feature, though we imagine the lighter articles and stories will make the greater appeal. Number one of the “Orkney Blast” strikes the right note for the times, and there is little doubt that its weekly appearance will be eagerly awaited by men of the Forces stationed in the Orkney area.

The editor of the paper is Major Eric Linklater, the famous Orkney novelist, and his chief assistant is Captain Frost, a noted London journalist of the “Daily Telegraph.” Editorial staff and contributors are nearly all drawn from the Services in Orkney. Many, of course, are connected with journalism in civil life. Two of Orkney’s best-known civilians, however, have written articles for the inaugural issue. Mr J. Storer Clouston, Convener of the County, has an absorbing story of the history of St Magnus Cathedral, and Provost J. G. Marwick, of Stromness, writes on the nature lore of Orkney…..

The publishing headquarters are given as Stromness, but the paper is printed at Kirkwall by “The Orcadian” newspaper. The cost is twopence. “The Orkney Blast,” however, is not on sale to civilians.

1941 February 19 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COMFORTS. – During January Rousay W.V.S. contributed the following war comforts: 4 pairs of gum-boot stockings, 10 pairs of socks from W.V.S. Work Party and one blanket.

1941 February 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COMFORTS. – The Woman’s Guild have sent to the W.V.S. the following comforts knitted from their own wool: 56 pairs of socks, 13 scarves, 7 helmets, 3 pairs of gloves, 6 pairs of mitts, 1 pair of mittens, 1 pair of cuffs, and 1 Cranwell collar. At Christmas socks were sent in each of eighteen parcels to Rousay boys in the Services. The committee would like to take this opportunity of thanking all who kindly gifted raw wool, those who knitted comforts, and also those who gifted knitted comforts.

NURSING. – The annual general meeting of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre District Nursing Association was held in Sourin School on Wednesday, February 12, at 3.30 p.m. Rev. R. R. Davidson, president, was chairman. The secretary gave a report of the Nurse’s work for 1940, and read the statement of income and expenditure. Both were approved by the meeting. Office-bearers appointed were: – President, Rev. R. R. Davidson, West Manse; hon. presidents, Mrs Walter G. Grant, Mrs Lees Low; vice-presidents, Mrs Kirkness, Quoyostray; Mr F. T. Inkster, J.P., Greenfield; hon. secretary, Mrs .Wm. Gibson, Avelshay, Rousay; hon. treas., Mr Alex. D. Craigie, Hunclett, Rousay. Executive Committee – Miss Craigie, Scockness, Sourin; Miss Craigie, Essaquoy, Sourin; Mrs Moar, Saviskaill, Wasbister; Mrs Grieve, Westness, Frotoft; Mrs Flaws, Classiquoy, Brinian; Mrs Inkster, Midskaill, Egilshay; Mr Seator, Cott, Egilshay; Mrs Flaws, Helziegetha, Wyre; Mr Craigie, Russness, Wyre. It was decided to take a five years’ lease of “Witchwood,” Brinian, Rousay, for a nurse’s house, and to move the Association’s garage from its present site to “Witchwood.” Subscriptions shall be collected as soon as the membership leaflets for 1941 have been printed.

[Wychwood was situated between Viera View and Daisy Cottage].

1941 March 5 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CO-OPERATIVE SOCIETY. – The annual general meeting of the members of Rousay, Egilshay and Viera Co-operative Society, Ltd., was held in Sourin Hall, Rousay, on Thursday, February 20. Mr J. Inkster, president, occupied the chair. Mr J. Craigie, secretary, read the statement of accounts and balance sheet for year ended August 31, 1940. This showed that the Society had, in spite of many difficulties, a most successful year. The president, in addressing the meeting, said, in part: – “The balance sheet shows you that another successful year of your Society has to be added to the many already passed, and the committee of management has just put forward the undernoted recommendations for your consideration: 5 per cent. interest to be paid on the share capital held by members: a dividend of 1s 6d in the £ on all purchases made by members for the year ended August 31, 1940; a donation of £5 to be given to the Balfour Hospital. All the recommendations were unanimously adopted. This Society started from small beginnings, and has proved itself to be a valuable asset to the island, and can now boast of an annual turnover of over £11,000.” The present committee of management, who were all re-elected, are: – President, Mr J. L. Inkster, Woo, Rousay; vice-president, Mr J. Craigie, Furse, Rousay; and Messrs R. Seatter, Banks; H. Mainland, Hurtiso; H. Craigie, Scockness; J. Craigie, Falquoy; H. Robertson, Langskaill; R. S. Mainland, Nearhouse; S. Inkster, Kirkhall; R. Johnston, Trumland; secretary and treasurer, Mr J. Craigie, Cruar; vanman, Mr Harcus, Gorehouse; manager, Mr W. R. Walls, Store Cottage.

1941 March 19 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CONCERTS FOR HOSPITAL FUND. – A most successful concert in aid of the Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall, was held in Frotoft School on Thursday and Friday, March 6 and 7, at 8 p.m. each evening. Chairman on Thursday evening was Rev. R. R. Davidson, M.A., and on Friday evening Dr Paterson. Votes of thanks (both evenings) to the chairmen were given by Mr Wm. Gibson. Votes of thanks were given by the chairmen to the concert party, and to Mrs Paterson for playing accompaniments. A dance followed Friday evening’s concert. It was kept up till 2.30 a.m. The committee thank Mrs Marwick, Breck, and Mrs Craigie, Hunclett, for making tea for the dance, and the Wasbister Band for supplying music gratis for the dance. £3 4s goes to the Hospital after all expenses have been paid. The programme was: – Opening choruses; chairman’s remarks; solo, The Rose of Tralee, Mr Wm. Gibson; violin selections, Messrs J. Sinclair and D. Craigie; dialogue, Looking for that Kind of Chance, Messrs R. Stevenson and D. Gibson; solo, A Paradise for Two, Miss M. Mainland; recitation, Mrs McTavish as Matchmaker, Mrs Wm. Gibson; harmonica selections, Mr D. Gibson; duet, The Crooked Bawbee, Mrs J. Grieve and Mr Wm. Gibson; sketch, Paddy’s Mistake; solo, Little Brown Jug, Mr J. Grieve; interval; violin selections, Messrs J. Sinclair and D. Craigie; solo, When Dawn Breaks Through, Miss M. Mainland; dialogue, At the Photographers, Mrs J. Grieve, Miss Gibson and Mr J. Grieve; Highland Fling, Mr H. Yorston; monologue, On the Telephone, Mr J. Grieve; solo, I’ll Walk Beside You, Mrs Wm. Gibson; dialogue, Insuring her Life, Mrs Grieve and Miss Mainland; Club Swinging, Mr J. Grieve; community singing, God Save the King. Accompaniments by Mrs Paterson, Brinian House.

1941 March 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – WOMEN’S GUILD. – There was a splendid turnout of members at the annual business meeting and social, in the Wasbister School on Friday evening, March 14. After praise and prayer, Mrs Corsie, vice-president, addressed the meeting, and referred to the absence of the president, Mrs Reid, owing to bereavement, and expressed the Guild’s sympathy. She went on to say how, in spite of wartime difficulties, they had been able to give their usual contributions to the various schemes, and in one or two cases had even increased their donations. After giving a list of comforts sent to the Services, she said how grateful the committee were to all those who had gifted raw wool, as well as to those who had done the knitting, and thanked them all. After the Treasurer’s report had been heard, the committee and officials were re-elected. During the evening the Wasbister members, who were the hostesses, served a sumptuous tea, for which they were accorded a hearty vote of thanks on the call of Mrs Paterson. Rev. R. R. Davidson asked for votes of thanks to all the performers, who gave a varied programme which was very much enjoyed by all, and also to Mrs Corsie for conducting the meeting. Rev. R. R. Davidson was given a vote of thanks for helping with the business meeting. A collection in aid of the Balfour Hospital amounted to £4 3s 6d. Annexed is the programme: – Recitation, The Lasses Noo-a-days, Miss Kathleen Gibson; solo, Beyond the Dawn, Miss Maisie Mainland; encore, Ships that Pass in the Night; talk by Rev. R. R. Davidson; musical selections, Mrs Paterson; sketch, Granny’s Parade, Mrs H. I. Gibson, Mrs Jim Craigie, Miss Margaret Donaldson and Miss Chrissie Russell; recitation, Pastor McKnock’s Address, Miss Irene Hourie; talk by Dr Paterson; monologue, Mrs Pinkerton’s Bonnet, Mrs William Gibson; musical selections, Mrs Paterson; sketch, A Neebourly Chat, Mrs John Craigie and Mrs Tom Donaldson.

1941 April 9 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – COMFORTS. – Church of Scotland Women’s Guild have knitted and despatched to the Forces this further consignment of comforts: – 11 pairs of socks, 4 scarves, and 4 pairs of mitts.

1941 April 23 Orkney Herald

It is regretted that difficulties in the obtaining of newsprint supplies have compelled us this week further to reduce the size of “The Orkney Herald,” from six to four pages. This latest reduction, however, is of a temporary nature, and it is hoped next week or the following week to revert, for some time at any rate, to our recent six-page paper. News of local interest, however, is still fully reported, only “general” articles being cut.

1941 May 21 Orkney Herald

DUKE OF KENT’S VISIT TO NORTHERN BASE. – H.R.H. the Duke of Kent recently paid an informal visit to a North of Scotland port, where he inspected a naval base and chatted with Service personnel. The Duke was in the uniform of a rear-admiral. One of his calls was at Halifax House, a Toc H establishment, where he was shown round by Rev. Eric K. Cross, the padre in charge, a brother of the new High Commissioner to Australia.

At another point H.R.H. stopped to talk with a Portsmouth woman whose husband is serving in the Navy. She told the Duke that her home in “Pompey” had been bombed, and the Royal visitor expressed his sympathy.

At one stage of his visit the Duke spoke to a soldier reporter who was “covering” the Royal tour for a local Service newspaper. He showed keen interest when told that the troops in the area had their own paper, and asked a number of questions about it. The reporter was able to give H.R.H. a copy of the publication to take away with him.

The Duke’s visit was of an informal nature throughout. Many local residents practically rubbed shoulders with the Royal visitor without realising who he was.

[The ‘naval base’ was Scapa Flow. Halifax House was on Hoy, and the local Service newspaper was the ‘Orkney Blast’. Toc H was forces signaller’s phonetics for T.H., the initials of the HQ of the organisation, Talbot House, London…..]

1941 May 28 Orkney Herald



Orkney W.V.S. War Comforts Association wants more sphagnum moss. Woollen comforts are not in great demand at the moment, but, with the wisdom of the busy bee, stores are being accumulated by the W.V.S. Committee. Winter will come again, and a great war goes on and on, absorbing our united efforts, not the least of which is to keep our soldiers, sailors and airmen happy and comfortable.

Even in this season of perpetual daylight, the men like to have some quiet amusements in the camps. Games, packs of cards, books and musical instruments have been included in our issues last month. A portable piano, an accordion and a violin have been gifted, and another piano is almost ready to go to its destination.

The Association would be pleased to hear of any piano or musical instrument for sale. Any instrument which is for sale will be bought at valuation.

Sphagnum moss is in great demand, and the Association will be glad to have consignments sent to Mrs Cormack at Messrs William Shearer’s, Victoria Street, Kirkwall. The moss should be easily gathered, and officials shall be glad to receive it in sacks without being made up into dressings. Some clean sacks are available on application to Mrs Cormack. Moss is urgently required at Red Cross headquarters …..

1941 June 4 Orkney Herald



One of Orkney’s most prominent public figures for over half a century, Mr Duncan John Robertson, O.B.E., died on Saturday at his home, Crantit House, St. Ola. He was eighty-one years of age, and his death followed a period of illness and declining health, during which he had undergone a serious operation. Eight months ago he had retired from the post of County Clerk of Orkney.

Orcadians everywhere will learn with regret of the passing of Mr Robertson. He stood for so many things characteristic of Orkney life and Orkney interests that his death seems to mark the end of an epoch in the saga of the county. To his friends and colleagues, and the people of Orkney as a whole, he seemed a link with a calmer, more dignified and more gentle age, and these islands, it will be generally felt, are the poorer for his death.

Contributions to Orkney Life. – Few Orcadians have in their day been more highly-esteemed by all classes of the community than the late Mr Robertson. Over more than fifty years of public and social life his interests were many and varied, business, literature, administration, sport, etc., but always nearest his heart was the welfare of Orkney. In innumerable ways he contributed to Orkney’s development. Not the least of these contributions was cultural. A poet and writer of exquisite charm, he at one time regularly contributed essays, sketches and verses to leading national magazines, and transmuted into the permanence of print many of Orkney’s historical and scenic glories. This literary work, though not widely known to the present generation (with the exception of his fairly recent delightful book, “Notes from a Bird Sanctuary”), is affectionately remembered by the older school of Orkney folk, and deservedly, for the charm of the Orkneys has seldom had so able in interpreter.

The late Mr Robertson was the only son of the late Sheriff James Robertson, who occupied the Kirkwall bench from 1866 to 1875. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University, and after receiving his legal training in the Scottish capital he returned to Kirkwall, where he commenced practising as a lawyer. He entered into partnership with the late Mr J. C. Macrae, the firm thereafter being known as Macrae and Robertson. In a very short time Mr Robertson’s ability in his profession became generally realised, and he went from success to success. In September 1888, while still only 28 years of age, he was appointed clerk to the Commissioners of Supply, the forerunner of the County Council, and when Orkney County Council was formed, soon afterwards, his appointment to the new body was confirmed. It will inevitably as County Clerk that Mr Robertson will be best remembered, in view of his long and distinguished tenure of the office. Readers will recall the eloquent tribute paid to his work by Mr J. Storer Clouston, County Convener, on his retiral from the County Clerkship in October last year, when he was made the recipient of a silver salver from the members and officials of the Council. During the early period of the Council’s existence, Mr Robertson guided its destinies with a sure and devoted hand, and through the entire 51 years of his clerkship his courtesy, kindliness and helpfulness endeared him to all members. While he was Clerk the Council passed through two important stages in the history of local government, the 1889 and the 1929 Acts, both periods which entailed much work of reconstruction. In his retiring speech Mr Robertson mentioned that no member of the original County Council was alive.

By virtue of being County Clerk, Mr Robertson held a large number of other appointments, including those of County Treasurer, County Collector of Rates, and many others.

Balfour Hospital Work. – Other notable service was a senior joint clerk and treasurer to the trustees of the Balfour Hospital, the work of which was very close to his heart. He was also senior joint clerk to Orkney Harbours Commissioners, and senior joint agent of the Kirkwall branch of the Commercial Bank.

For many years he had been head of the firm of Messrs Macrae & Robertson, and had fully maintained its high reputation. In his professional capacity he was factor for some of the largest estates in the county.

Reference must also be made to his long connection with the Bar of Orkney Sheriff Court, of which he was Dean of the Faculty. He was also an honorary sheriff substitute for the county.

Mere enumeration of the late Mr Robertson’s many appointments and offices, however, does not adequately assess what he meant to the life of Orkney or the loss which the county has sustained by his passing.

For notable war-time services he was awarded the O.B.E. in 1918. He was Vice-Consul for all the Scandinavian countries, and Denmark, Norway and Sweden all conferred honours and decorations upon him.

In his younger days Mr Robertson took a keen interest in sport, and he was a fine shot and an enthusiastic boatman. In later years the hobbies which claimed him were photography and natural history (bird-life in particular) and these occupied his leisure time as long as health permitted him to get about. His connection with the island of Eynhallow is a byword in Orkney. He was proprietor of the island, which was a gift to him, and it is one of Orkney’s beauty spots as a bird sanctuary. Mr Robertson’s chief delight was to spend summer days on Eynhallow bird-watching.

[Previous owner of Eynhallow was Thomas Middlemore, who lived at Westness House. After the Middlemores moved from Rousay to Hoy, Mr Robertson was appointed factor for Mr Middlemore’s Melsetter estate.]

Family Life. – In 1890 he married Margaret Keir, daughter of the late Mr Archibald Garden, J.P., of Dyke, Forres. Two elder sons served in the last war. The eldest, Major James [‘Hamish Neil’] Robertson, received the Military Cross and the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour decoration. He was invalided out of the Army in 1928. The second son, Archibald Garden Robertson, served in the Black Watch and the Royal Flying Corps, and was killed in action in Flanders in 1917. The third son, serving in the present war, is Captain Donald Robertson, Seaforth Highlanders, who was a member of the Auxiliary Force, India, prior to 1939.

There are four daughters. [Jean McLeod, Margaret, Mary Beatrix, and Harriet Fernelith.]

The funeral takes place tomorrow (Wednesday) from St Olaf Church.

1941 June 18 Orkney Herald

EVIE – JUNE IN THE COUNTRY. – It is now well on to the Summer Solstice, and nature is wearing its most charming aspect. The countryside is full of beauty spots, and lovely pictures are to be found in every corner. The lavishness of Nature in its richness of foliage and blossom make us want to spend every moment out of doors. Wild flowers are most luxuriant now, and the sward is bright bedecked with blooms of many hues. Burnsides burn with the flame of the marsh marigold, so abundant round here, and mayflowers and buttercups mingle in beautiful displays everywhere. The seaside is fringed with hardy shore plants showing dainty flowerets, and the whin is the glory of every rough valley and moorland slope. Heathery whiffs from the hills blend with all kinds of seductive scents which meet us at every turn and make the air deliciously sweet. Gardens are still resplendent with early summer shows, which combine with the colourful surroundings to make the country a lovely and pleasant place wherein to dwell these long June days.

CROPS. – Generally speaking, the cereal crops look satisfactory, notwithstanding the persistent drought of the past weeks, and with the accession of more moisture and heat – now due – should show more rapid advancement. As to the grain yield, a guess can hardly be hazarded so soon. Pasture grass has been slow of growth, and the hay crop is not likely to be heavy after so dry a May. The turnip seed has all been committed to the soil, and in many fields seedlings are appearing in long green lines. Potatoes are showing up well in most fields, and granted the desired sunshine may prove to be a good crop.

PEATS. – Peat work has been greatly lightened this season by the prevalent dry conditions and the turves are now almost cured and ready for carting home. This kind of fuel has become more valuable and desirable in the country than ever since coal has soared in price and there is the likelihood of it being rationed. Every household has endeavoured to procure this product of the moors, great though the difficulties of labour and transport may be.

1941 July 16 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY SPHAGNUM MOSS. – The following reply, received by Mrs A. Sinclair, convener of the Moss Committee, demonstrates how the consignments sent from Orkney are welcomed at the Red Cross Depot, Aberdeen.

“You will receive an official card of thanks from the Red Cross for your five sacks of moss, but I wish to send a personal note of thanks because the moss is of such splendid quality, was so well gathered, and had been so admirably cleaned. I was particularly glad to handle your moss today, because the greater part of the moss that has just come in is rather damp, and, even when cleaned, can’t be packed into dressings for some days. Much gratitude, therefore to your Work Party. – D. H. F.”

1941 July 30 Orkney Herald

GRACIE FIELDS IN ORKNEY. – Miss Gracie Fields spent a few days in the Orkneys entertaining troops and workers last week. At her opening show on Wednesday last she was assisted by Ivor Newton at the piano and by an R.A.F. band. She scored a success with a new tune for the Lord’s Prayer, and was warmly applauded also for her Ave Maria and her new Victory-V song, “All for one and one for all.” Soon after arriving in Orkney Miss Fields met the “Co-Optimists,” who were headed by Phyllis Monkman. While walking in Kirkwall Miss Fields pleased the onlookers by stopping to speak to the young wife and infant daughter of a local man, Charles Thomson, who is a prisoner in Germany.

1941 August 20 Orkney Herald


His Majesty the King paid his second visit to Orkney during the present war ten days ago. Travelling in an American-built bombing aircraft, escorted by an armada of fighter planes, he landed at a Naval Air Station.

In the course of his week-end tour he visited various shore establishments and several vessels of the Fleet.

His Majesty knows Orkney well. During the last war in which he served as a midshipman and as a junior officer of the Fleet, he was frequently in the county…..

At the naval base where he landed the King met the war at first hand, for the crews of naval aircraft whom he inspected and talked to had been on patrol only a few hours before, and many of them told him vivid stories of the part they took in the recent successful raids on Petsamo [Finland] and Kirkenes [Norway].

Then, entering a car, His Majesty started upon a round of visits to inspect naval, military and R.A.F. bases, and also civilian personnel. His route took him through Kirkwall, where the people had been informed only a few hours earlier of the Royal visit. They crowded the streets and gave a cordial welcome to His Majesty…..

His Majesty’s tour was made by motor car and motor launch, which took him to depots and bases, where he inspected and talked with the personnel.

The main events entailed short journeys by motor launch across Scapa Flow. The King stepped ashore, obviously familiar with the geography. He chose to walk to the parade ground, where he passed a natural grandstand packed with men, women and children, who welcomed him with a real roar of greeting. Marines provided the guard of honour, and their band played the National Anthem, in which the crowd joined lustily.

The King inspected soldiers and sailors, merchant seamen, and civilians. His Majesty stopped and spoke to many of them. He spent most time speaking to merchant seamen, asking about their experiences in taking their ships through mine and submarine-infested waters. When the ribbons of any seaman’s breast caught His Majesty’s eye he halted to chat with him.

Elsewhere he reviewed the 2nd Orkney battalion of the Home Guard, asking beribboned men about their service. Afterwards he went on to an R.A.F. establishment and inspected the airmen.

On His Majesty’s departure the roads were again crowded. Marines lined the route, and behind them men, women and children climbed on carts and windows to catch a glimpse of the King…..


His Majesty the King spent three days with the Home Fleet in Northern waters, and during his visit stayed aboard the flagship, King George V. He met officers and men who took part in the chase of the Bismarck and who have been engaged in many other naval actions, and also saw military and flying personnel.

The King visited aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers which have taken part in recent actions (writes a special correspondent with the Home Fleet). During the whole visit, every ship was under “short notice,” and ready to engage the enemy.

In the Admiral’s cabin in the flagship the King knighted the Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sir John Tovey, and invested him with the insignia of a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath. It was from this cabin that the Admiral went up to his bridge to direct the Fleet action against the Bismarck. Seven officers and fifteen ratings were also decorated after the C-in-C…..

That day the King went aboard one of our latest aircraft carriers and some cruisers, one of which was manned entirely by West Country men.

In each ship the King found the same “happy family” spirit, and officers and men he talked to told him many stories of their encounters with the enemy…..

In another ship, the King met two ratings, who were “Royal Naval Frenchmen,” Free French sailors who have volunteered to serve in British ships, and one Norwegian. One of the French sailors is listed in the ship’s books as “Horatio Nelson,” and the King, talking to him in French, heard how he and his comrades have chosen famous British names as their noms de guerre, keeping their own names secret. Other ratings he recognised were men who used to serve in the Royal Yacht.

Next day the King spent several hours on a tour of the flagship…..When he went between decks, walking amid the tremendously complicated electrical gear and modern machinery under the glare of electric lights, the Master-at-Arms went ahead of the Royal party, carrying a lighted candle lanthorn, just as they did in Nelson’s day, because the Navy guards its traditions through the centuries. In the ship’s chapel the King saw the Bible that was used every day by his father, and given by him to the ship with the inscription in it in the King’s hand…..

Officers and men lined the side of each of the ships, big and small, and as the King passed their cheers thundered out over the waters, giving a final naval review touch to the Royal war-time visit. It was a marvellous demonstration of Britain’s armed might in the war at sea.

Admiral Tovey went ashore with the King, and as they said good-bye the King gave his last command to the C-in-C, ordering him to signal the Fleet “Splice the mainbrace” – the order to serve extra rum rations in every ship in the Fleet to drink the King’s health….

[At this stage of the war my father, George M. Fletcher, was a Lieutenant aboard H.M.S. Nigeria. I have a photograph of him shaking hands with the King during his visit to the Crown Colony-class light cruiser in Scapa Flow. Having taken part in both Russian and Arctic convoys, Nigeria was about to be assigned to operate in Operation Pedestal, as flagship of a close-escort group escorting a convoy bound for Malta].

1941 August 27 Orkney Herald

BUSY ISLANDERS. – “Norseman,” writing’ in last week’s issue of the “John O’Groat Journal,” paid the people of Orkney the following tribute: – “The people of the Orkneys have adapted themselves to war-time conditions in a way that we on the mainland would do well to take note of. On the islands of South Ronaldshay, Rousay, Shapinsay and Stronsay, together with the Orkney Mainland, nearly two million cabbages are being grown this season, over and above the usual annual crop. About eight tons to the acre is the output, and the work has been carried through in response to an appeal by the agricultural executive officer for the county. In times past poultry farming had been the means of putting Orkney on the map, but curtailment of stocks consequent on the need for economy in the use of feeding-stuffs has been a knock to the industry. But to change over from a hen to a cabbage is a trifling matter to the versatile Orcadian, and in doing so he is helping himself and, the country as a whole…..

1941 September 3 Orkney Herald

PETROL RATION CUT BY HALF. – Motorists are reminded that, as announced on July 1, October petrol rations for private cars will be halved. The Secretary for Petroleum has issued a direction reducing the value of the basic ration unit to half a gallon. A coupon for 2 units will, for instance, now be worth one gallon of petrol instead of two. This reduction does not affect motor cycles or tricycles.

EXTRA CHEESE RATIONS. – County road men are among new classes of heavy workers who are to be granted the special 8 oz. a week cheese ration already allowed to agricultural workers, announced the Ministry of Food at the week-end. The new classes entitled to the ration will be county roadmen, forestry workers, land drainage workers and land girls, workers on threshing machines and tractors, railway train crews (excluding dining car staffs), signalmen, and permanent way men, who have no access to canteens. The special ration will operate from September 22.

BREAD WRAPPING WILL STOP. – Wrapping and slicing bread will be prohibited, and the use of oil and fats in bread making restricted by an Order which takes effect of September 29, says the Ministry of Food…..



£394,893 3s 7d is announced by Orkney War Weapons Week Hon. Secretary William C. Barrack, as the final total of the county’s investments during the week. – The target figure was £100,000…..

The appeal to honorary secretaries of Savings Groups to make great efforts to increase their “business” in War Weapons Week did not fall on deaf ears. Some secretaries put themselves to no end of trouble to get the most out of their group. Astronomical figures were achieved by some. Here are some of the higher achievements:…..[ninth in the list was Rousay, Egilsay and Veira Co-op, with a creditable sum of £255 10s 0d.]

1941 September 10 Orkney Herald

CONTROL OF PHOTOGRAPHY. – The Control of Photography Order No. 3 has been replaced by another Order, No. 4, which entirely prohibits the use of cameras in Orkney and Shetland. Order No. 3 permitted the use of a camera on private property, but this is now no longer permissible.

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Frotoft School on August 26. The meeting was presided over by Miss Inkster, president, who gave as her motto, “It is easy enough to be pleasant when life flows by with a song, but the woman worthwhile is she who can smile when everything goes dead wrong.” The competition for this month was a buttonhole, worked at the meeting. There were eleven entries, which were judged by Mrs Kirkness, Quoyostray, and Miss Mainland, Westness. The prizes were awarded as follows: – 1 Mrs Craigie, Furse; 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness: 3 Mrs Maclean, Sourin Schoolhouse. A most amusing interlude was caused by Miss Inkster’s suggestion that the members should try to write their names and addresses on a piece of paper held on their foreheads. Some fantastic results were handed in. The hostesses for the evening were Mrs Marwick, Breck; Miss Mainland, Westness, and Miss Anna Yorston, Yorville. A most enjoyable meeting was hurried to a close owing to the darkness coming down quickly. There will be no meeting in September. The next meeting will be held in the Wasbister School on a date to be fixed later.

[Everyone had to be home before the evening blackout came into operation.]

1941 October 1 Orkney Herald

PHOTOGRAPHY ORDER: AMENDMENT AFFECTING ORKNEY AND SHETLAND. – A fortnight ago it was intimated that, under a new Photography Order, the use of cameras in Orkney and Shetland was entirely forbidden. By an amendment to this Order, however, it is again permissible to use cameras on private property but not in public in Orkney and Shetland. This is a reversion to the provisions of the Control of Photography Order (No. 3) of 1940, by which “no person shall, without a written permit, have any photographic camera with him in any public place within the counties of Orkney and Shetland.” A camera may be used on private property, such as a garden or within a house.

1941 October 15 Orkney Herald



Restrictions on the taking of photographs in the Orkney and Shetland area are clarified in an official statement just issued to the Press. A previous Order which permitted the taking of photographs on private property or indoors without a permit has now been cancelled, and although there is still no restrictions on possession of a camera, its use is prohibited except to authorised persons. Any person taking photographs in a house or in a garden or backyard now commits an offence in terms of the Defence Regulations. The term “photograph” also includes any sketch, plan or other representation.

The Control of Photography Order (No. 4) 1941, states that any civilian person desiring a permit to operate a camera should make application to The Commandant, No. 2 Protected Area, whose address is obtainable from the Police or Defence Authorities anywhere in the county.

Permits to operate cameras are issued for essential reasons only, and it is an offence, further, for any permit holder to publish any photograph, sketch, plan or other representation until it has been submitted to and approved for publication by the authority who granted the permit. “To publish” means to make copies of, or circulate copies of, or otherwise exhibit.

1941 November 12 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The annual business meeting of Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Wasbister School on October 31, when there was a good attendance of members and visitors present. Miss Inkster, president, gave as her motto, “We are not here to play, to dream, or drift, we have hard work to do and loads to lift: Shun not the struggle, face it; ‘Tis God’s gift.” Thereafter the Secretary read the minutes of the previous meeting, which were approved. The annual reports of the Secretary and Treasurer ware received and adopted. The President, in her remarks, thanked the Committee for their help, and the members who had worked so well for the W.V.S. Voting by ballot for the new committee then took place, the tellers being Mrs R. Mainland, Mrs H. I. Gibson, and Mrs James Grieve. During the counting of the votes Mrs Paterson played some selections, and a competition, “Sing, Say or Penny Pay,” helped to pass the time pleasantly. The new office-bearers appointed are as follows: – President, Miss M. A. Inkster, Cogar; vice-president, Mrs Wm. Flaws, Hammerfield; secretary, Mrs R. E. Paterson, Brinian House; and treasurer, Mrs R. Mainland, Nearhouse. The Wasbister ladies then served tea, a feature of which was a birthday cake presented by Miss Inkster. The competition for the evening – Turnip Lantern – only produced one entry – a capital one – from Miss Dorothy Mainland, Hurtiso, who thus obtained the prize kindly given by Mrs James Grieve. The member who gained the most points in the monthly competitions was Mrs H. I. Gibson, Bigland. It was decided to hold the meetings monthly – the next being in Sourin on Friday, November 28. The competitions for that evening will be: (a) One pair knitted socks from Brora 3-ply wool, to be given to the soldiers; (b) Thin oatcakes, divided in four quarters, without shortening. It was announced that the next egg collection will take place on December 8. Votes at thanks were proposed by Mrs Kirkness to Miss Inkster for the birthday cake, the tellers and hostesses. A very hearty meeting was brought to a close by the singing of the National Anthem.

1941 November 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – FOR GOOD CAUSES. – Miss Gibson, Frotoft School, has received from The Donaldson Trust, Edinburgh, an acknowledgement of £6 5s 6d, which was collected in Rousay recently for the Trust. From the sale of poppies, £7 5s 6d was collected for the Earl Haig Fund. Miss Gibson desires to thank teachers and pupils in Wasbister and Sourin for their kind co-operation in their respective districts.

EVIE – WINTER. – Winter is now very evident over the land, and the countryside is not inviting these dark November days. The cold, bare fields, wet, muddy pathways and chill, damp winds all have wet blanket effects, making life dull and cheerless. About the only sign of life in the open during the short day is the ploughman and his team turning the soil in preparation for next year’s crop. Cattle no longer browse on the pastures, but are housed and fed indoors. The long nights spent longer for lack of the usual entertainments which the blackout, and other exigencies of war prevent.

In Print

Newsprint – 1940

1940 January 3 Orkney Herald

CALL-UP OF 2,000,000 MEN. – An “omnibus” proclamation signed by the King late on Monday night warned nearly 2,000,000 men from the age of 19 to 27 to be ready for a call to the colours during 1940. By the end of the year Britain will have 3,400,000 men in the armed forces or registered for service, in addition to Dominion contingents.

ROUSAY – NATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY – ORKNEY AUXILARY. – The hon. treasurer, Mr W. J. Heddle, solicitor, Kirkwall, begs to acknowledge the sum of £3 11s 9d, being the amount collected in the island of Rousay on behalf of the above society for the current year, and to thank Mr James S. Gibson, Hullion, and the following collectors, viz., Messrs Ernest Mainland, Hugh Lyon, Gordon Taylor, Arnold Grieve, James Pirie, and Misses Irene Hourie, Evelyn Clouston and May Turner for their kind services.

1940 January 31 Orkney Herald



Only now can the story be told of the severe weather which Great Britain suffered in the earlier part of this month. Nothing could be said at the time owing to the ban on weather reports. Snowstorms, described as the worst in living memory, swept the country causing widespread dislocation of transport by road and rail.

Orkney suffered with the rest of the country. The snowstorms in this county are described as the worst for at least twenty years. Snow lay thickly for over a week, and youngsters throughout the county enjoyed an orgy of sledging, skating and other winter pursuits.

For the first time in the memory of the younger generation, Kirkwall’s Peerie Sea was frozen completely over. Youngsters were seen playing on the ice out in the centre, and one Kirkwall gentleman pushed a pram, with his baby son aboard, from one end to the other.

Intense cold accompanied the snow, but no fatalities were reported as a result of the severe conditions. Transport, too, was not too seriously affected, and there was comparatively little interruption of the mail services either by sea or air.

EVIE – THE FARM. – Work on the land was brought to a standstill during the recent severe weather, but as ploughing is far advanced here, the suspension of operations was not regarded as a serious disadvantage. Snow is not accepted pleasantly by the farmer, entailing, as it does, a lot of extra trouble in the prosecution of routine, but it may be looked upon as a blessing in disguise, its effects on the soil being beneficial for the future crop. In the recent hard spell, the farm staff were kept occupied round the farmstead attending to all live stock, whose needs were great, and it was no easy task dealing with frozen turnips, frozen water, frozen everything in the process of feeding the brutes. The ploughing match, which was to have taken place last week, has been cancelled.

“SPOOTS”. – The first “spoot” ebb of the year occurred with the full moon of this month, January, last Thursday being the day most favourable to a good catch. Usually at such time the Evie sands are dotted with fishers in quest of this favourite mollusc, but on this occasion the weather was so Arctic that – even though fish of any kind is rarely seen now in the country – only one brave man ventured forth to try his luck. Digging energetically, he was rewarded in a large bucketful of lovely fish. A general distribution of the catch was made in the neighbourhood, and many “spoot” lovers shared with the fisher in a toothsome feast. From kitchen firesides issued the appetising odour of “spoots” roasted in their shells, the aroma rivalling that of “burnt pig.”

1940 March 20 Orkney Herald



Nazi bombs rained down on Orkney on Saturday evening in the biggest scale air raid launched against Great Britain since the war began.

Fourteen enemy bombers took part in the raid, which was made as dusk was falling. Fleet units in Scapa Flow were attacked and also land objectives. One warship was struck by a bomb and received minor damage, according to an Admiralty announcement. There were seven casualties among the crew. No military objectives on land were hit, despite the hundreds of bombs dropped.

The most serious aspect of the raid was the fact that there were a number of civilian casualties, the first in air-raids in either the Allied countries or Germany.

When a salvo of high explosive bombs was dropped around cottages at the Bridge of Waithe, Stenness, one man was killed [27-year-old James William Isbister] and five other people, including two women, one of whom is 64 years of age, were injured in varying degrees of seriousness. Their homes were badly damaged.

Two Servicemen were injured as the result of bombing on the outskirts of Kirkwall.

Damage to property was considerable. Apart from the devastation wrought at the Bridge of Waithe cottages, there was damage at Holm, the mansion of Graemeshall having numerous windows broken and cottages in the vicinity also suffering. In St Ola, Craigiefield House had many windows wrecked. Haystacks and a shed in Stenness were set on fire by incendiary bombs, hundreds of which were dropped over a wide area.

The raiding bombers were given a terrific reception by anti-aircraft guns from warships and shore batteries and by fighter planes. One raider, the Admiralty announced, was shot down and others were damaged. A German bomber which crashed in Denmark was yesterday stated to have been one of the machines which took part in the Scapa Flow raid.

Germany claimed that four warships were hit by bombs and that three aerodromes, as well as gun-positions, were successfully attacked. The only comment which needs to be made on this is that the Nazi raiders have impressed Orcadians more by their vivid imaginations than by their bombing skill…..

1940 March 27 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NURSING ASSOCIATION. – Rev. R. R. Davidson, president, presided at the annual general meeting of the Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre District Nursing Association. The minutes of the previous general meeting were read and approved. This was followed by the financial statement for the year ended 31st December, 1939. The secretary then gave a report on the nurse’s work for the year, which was considered very satisfactory. At the end of this report it was stated that Nurse Shaw had resigned from her post as district nurse on 18th December, 1939, and that her place was now filled by Nurse Ferrier. The Secretary was instructed to record the following appreciation of Nurse Shaw’s work in the minutes, and to forward an excerpt to Nurse Shaw: – “The Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre District Nursing Association desires to express its appreciation of the services rendered to the district by Nurse Shaw, who was the first nurse to be appointed after the formation of the Association. Fully qualified for her work as a nurse, the district remembers her for her close attention to duty, her deep interest in the welfare of the sick and aged people whom she cared for, and her willingness to help those in trouble.” It was agreed that the office-bearers for 1939 should be re-elected for 1940. Two members of the Executive Committee, Mrs Corsie, Glebe, and Miss Mainland, Westness, had resigned, and the new members appointed were Mrs T. Inkster, Woo, and Mrs J. Grieve, Westness. The Secretary dated that the collectors would get their collecting books as soon as the membership leaflets for 1940 had been printed. There followed discussions arising out of the Association’s business matters.

1940 April 17 Orkney Herald


Twelve German bombers were shot down and at least five were badly damaged in two raids made on Scapa Flow last Monday and Wednesday. Fighter planes and anti-aircraft batteries shared the honours for this achievement…..

In the Wednesday raid no fewer than seven bombers were brought down, and two were thought to be seriously damaged. Sixty planes, it has been stated by Mr Churchill, took part in the raid.

From the enemy point of view the raids were complete failures. Neither warships nor land objectives were hit. Slight damage to South Isles farmhouses was reported…..The terrific fire put up by the Scapa Flow batteries, however, forced the raiders to a height at which accurate bombing was impossible…..

The action in this raid covered practically the whole of the county of Orkney. In the South Isles, particularly in Flotta, Longhope and South Ronaldshay, islanders had a ‘ringside’ view from safe points of vantage of the tremendous duel between the anti-aircraft batteries of Scapa Flow, the strongest A.A. defences in the world, and the raiding bombers. In the mainland and the North Isles British fighters were seen in combat with single units of the enemy. Stronsay dwellers claim to have seen two bombers brought down in these engagements. One German plane is reported to have come down in the sea off Rousay, one of its crew escaping by parachute…..

1940 April 24 Orkney Herald


Owing to my Assistants having been called up for National Service, and being unable to replace them by others, I regret that I have no alternative but to CLOSE my MEN’S DEPARTMENT to the General Public until further Notice. I shall, as and after Monday, 22nd April, undertake to do Men’s Hairdressing by Appointment only. I hope, in this way, to be able to meet the requirements of my Clients during this difficult period.

To Avoid Disappointment, Please Book in Advance.
Call, or ‘Phone Kirkwall 98.
George Swanson, 63 Albert Street, Kirkwall.




Orkney education has sustained a heavy loss by the death on Saturday morning of Mr George William Reid at his home, 14 Ayre Road, Kirkwall. For only two years less than half a century he had been a valuable part of the Orkney educational machine, first as one of the most efficient teachers Kirkwall has ever had, and latterly as an employee of the Education Authority of the County.

The late Mr Reid was a native of the island of Rousay, and received his early education at Sourin School. While a pupil there, he was the first holder of the Orkney & Zetland Associations school bursary, in 1878. After receiving his secondary education at Kirkwall Burgh School, he attended Edinburgh University, where he took his degree of M.A. He also took a course in divinity. Receiving an appointment in Kirkwall Burgh School, he taught there, under the late Dr McEwan, from 1892 until 1912, when increasing deafness compelled him to retire. He was retained, however, by the School Board, and subsequently the Education Authority, to look after the registration and clerical work in the school. This work he continued until the time of his death. After he ceased his duties as a class teacher, he continued to give instruction in Bible knowledge to candidates preparing for the Highland and Islands bursary examinations.

Of the late Mr Reid an old colleague said: “He was one of the most competent and conscientious teachers who ever taught in Orkney, as can be attested by innumerable former scholars. His natural talents were supported by his many fine qualities as a man. His loyalty and faithfulness were unquestioned. He was, in fact, as near the ideal type of teacher as it would be possible to find.”

The late Mr Reid was a man of wide interests. Everything connected with education interested him, and he was invariably well abreast of all new developments. It was his custom every year to “sit,” for his own interest, the various papers in the Leaving Certificate exams. One of his favourite pursuits was research into old court records, and the piecing together of old manuscripts. He was very skilful with his hands, and his handwriting and printing were used as models of neatness. Astronomy was one of his great interests, and in the study of this he frequently corresponded with men whose names are famous in astronomical science.

With his colleagues Mr Reid was always highly popular and respected, by reason of his pleasant personality as well as the skill and efficiency with which he carried out his work. His death leaves a gap which will be difficult to fill.

The late Mr Reid was predeceased by his wife, Margaret Yorston, some years ago. He had no family. The community’s sympathy is extended to surviving relatives.

[George William Reid was born at Wasdale in 1864, the son of William Reid and Catherine Baikie. His great-grandfather was Rousay’s famous centenarian George Reid. Teacher George’s wife Margaret was the daughter of Capt. James Yorston and Margaret Inkster, Saviskaill.]



People wishing any information regarding the Farm of NEWHOUSE, Rousay,
are requested to communicate with the proprietor, HUGH SINCLAIR, 4435
Ravenswood Avenue, Chicago, who desires the boundaries, grazings, etc.,
of the farm to be respected.

[Hugh, born in December 1882, was the son of James Hugh Sinclair, News, and Margaret McKinlay, Sound, Egilsay]

1940 May 1 Orkney Herald

EGILSHAY – SERVICE TO THE MEMORY OF ST MAGNUS. – At the end of the forenoon service held in Egilshay Church on Sunday, April 21, the congregation proceeded to the monument which was erected two years ago to the memory of St Magnus, and near to the spot where he died and laid down his life for the highest cause. The gift of a wreath of lilies, which was sent by Miss Baikie, Tankerness Hall, was laid at the base of the cairn by Miss Alexander, Kirbust, the grand-daughter of the late Mr Hugh Robertson, who laid the wreath last year. There was a good attendance, and most of the farms were well represented. The elders and managers were present. The service was opened by singing a part of Psalm 100, conducted by Mr James Seator, Howe. The scriptural lessons were taken from the Book of Ecclesiasticus and the Revelations. Prayer and thanksgiving was made by Mr D. Turner, missionary-in-charge, and after paying a short tribute to the memory of the martyr, he asked Miss Alexander to lay the wreath, which was afterwards staked firmly by Mr E. Alexander and Mr John Craigie. The service was then closed with the benediction. To Miss Baikie we return our sincere thanks, writes our correspondent, for keeping the service in memory, and for the wreath, which was much appreciated by the congregation. The service was held under a bright sunshine, although a cold easterly wind was blowing.

1940 May 22 Orkney Herald



The Secretary of State for War’s appeal for local volunteer troops to deal with possible invasion of this country by German parachutists has aroused an enthusiastic response in Orkney. Up to this (Tuesday) morning in the region of 230 volunteers had been enrolled, and there is no appearance of any check in the rate of recruiting, which the “Orkney Herald” was informed at Kirkwall Police Station is increasing rather than otherwise.

Kirkwall’s first recruits were forthcoming last Tuesday night almost before the Secretary of State for War had concluded his broadcast appeal. Names were handed in by telephone. During Wednesday some 40 other recruits were forthcoming at Kirkwall.

The men who have volunteered for the Defence Corps in Orkney are of ages ranging from seventeen to over sixty. There are several youngsters of schoolboy age, and ex-Servicemen of the 1914-18 combat are largely represented. Members of Orkney rifle clubs, as might be expected, have made a whole-hearted response to the appeal.

A considerable number of the Orkney volunteers have already been equipped with rifles and ammunition. Uniforms are also to be provided. The Volunteer Force will be unpaid, and the period of service will be for the duration of the war.

Many would-be volunteers who are already in organisations are wondering whether they can take part in both these important branches of home defence. The position in Orkney is that they may volunteer and adjustments may be made later.

The need for these volunteers, the War office state, is greatest in small towns, villages, and less densely populated areas.

Mr Eden, the War Minister, in his broadcast last week, said that volunteers would not be required to leave their work or live away from home. It would be a spare time job.

The purpose of parachute raids, he explained, was to seize such important points as aerodromes, power stations, railway junctions, and telephone exchanges, and to hold them by treating disorganisation and confusion until reinforcements arrived. The success of such an attack depended on speed, and consequently the measures to defeat it must be prompt and rapid. It was upon this basis that the plans for the Local Defence Volunteers had been laid.

Chief Constable Campbell has made the following announcement regarding joining the volunteer corps: –

“Men wishing to join the Orkney Local Defence Volunteers might please report to the Police Stations in Kirkwall, Stromness and elsewhere in the county.

“Men resident in islands where there is no policeman, should write to me at Kirkwall, stating these particulars: – Full name, address, age, occupation; what knowledge of firearms and what type; what military service, if any, and in what unit; whether willing to serve elsewhere than in the immediate vicinity of home.

“Members of the A.R.P. Service may volunteer, and adjustments will be made later.”

1940 June 12 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FARM ETC. – Fields and flocks are looking well, agriculturists and flock-masters having good prospects at the moment. The cereal crops have been making good progress, despite the dry conditions, and pastures are lush. Potatoes are showing up in the farm lands and in gardens. Good weather has favoured the laying down of the turnip crop and the work has been speedily executed. Rain would now be welcomed for all purposes. Not only is the country very parched, but burns and mills are low, and many households are suffering from a meagre water supply.

LOVELY JUNE. – June is generally regarded to be the loveliest month of the year. Now Nature is wearing her most charming robes and the country has attractions that towns and cities cannot emulate. The green sward covered with wild flowers – daisies, buttercups, and many other varieties of plant life – gives a colour display that baffles description. Seas are intensely blue and the colourings of the sunsets beats the artists’ best attempts. The music of the birds fills the air with surpassingly sweet melodies. Seductive scents greet us with the blending of fragrant odours – sight, hearing, and scent all being catered for.

1940 July 31 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – HELP FOR THE BLIND. – Mr G. W. Marwick has received an acknowledgment of the sum of £8 7s 1d collected in the districts of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre, on behalf of the Royal Blind Asylum and School, Edinburgh. The Directors desire to express their appreciation for the kindly interest in promoting the collection, and convey their thanks to the collectors who so willingly helped, also the subscribers and all who so willingly gave their support and kindly interest in the general welfare of the blind.

RETIRED FARMER’S PASSING. – The death took place at his home in Bignold Park Road, Kirkwall, last Tuesday, of Mr Thomas Inkster, retired farmer. Mr Inkster was a native of Rousay, and one of a well-known Rousay family. He occupied the farm of Nears, and was held in high respect by the community, being a progressive agriculturist and taking a keen interest in the welfare of his native island. Shortly before retiring to come and live in Kirkwall with his wife, he had a spell of farming in Aberdeenshire. Mr Inkster, who had been in good health until a few days before his death, was in his 62nd year. Of a quiet, kindly and obliging nature, he will be missed by all who knew him, both in Rousay and the Kirkwall district. County Councillor Fred Inkster is a brother of the deceased, who is survived by his widow [Isabella McKinlay], to whom deep sympathy is extended. The funeral took place to St Olaf’s Cemetery on Friday, and was well attended.

[The story of the Inkster family is covered within the Westness Farm page.]

1940 August 7 Orkney Herald


The receipt of a telegram conveying the congratulations of the King and Queen was one of the most pleasant and thrilling moments for “Granny” Mainland of 17 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, on Saturday, her 100th birthday. “Granny,” as she is known to practically everybody in the town, received many other telegrams and messages of congratulation from friends and relatives in Orkney and in the South, but the momentous day was passed quietly. A few friends who called were entertained, and “Granny” had a visit from Provost Peter C. Flett and Mr W. J. Heddle, Town Clerk, who conveyed to her the good wishes of the town of Kirkwall.

A telegram which also gave much pleasure was one from Mr Alfred Baikie of Tankerness, Lord Lieutenant of Orkney and Shetland.

“Granny” Mainland is a native of Rousay. She was born on the farm of Banks there. In her early life she spent a number of years in domestic service in Edinburgh, but has been living in Kirkwall for as long as most of the present inhabitants can remember. She is the sole survivor of a long-lived family. One of her sisters lived to the age of 92. She is in good health, and retains her faculties to a remarkable degree. Her sight and hearing are good, and she is quite active, though she does not now venture out on the streets owing to the danger from traffic. Until a month or two ago her memory was very keen, but recently it has began to fail. She is a great reader, and takes a lively interest in events of the day. She is fully aware that a war is being waged, but so many wars have been waged in her lifetime that she does not view it so seriously as most people. Those who know “Granny” best speak enthusiastically of her powers as a conversationalist. Before her memory failed she could enthral listeners with stories of Orkney life and Scottish life in her young days. She had a high reputation as an expert knitter, an activity in which she engaged until quite recently, and some of her creations in this line – quilts, for example were beautiful specimens of the knitters’ art.

The telegram which she received from the King and Queen reads:

Buckingham Palace.

The King and Queen are much interested to hear that you are celebrating your hundredth birthday, and send their hearty congratulations and good wishes.
– Private Secretary.

The Lord Lieutenant’s telegram reads:

Please accept my hearty congratulations on attaining your 100th birthday.
Baikie, Lord Lieut.

Other telegrams were from relatives or friends in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the country.

All readers will join with us in endorsing the hearty congratulations which “Granny” Mainland has already received.

[Mary Mainland was the daughter of Nicol Mainland, Cotafea, later Banks, Frotoft, and Margaret Louttit, Faraclett. Unmarried, she had two sons – Robert, born in 1868, who was a tailor in Kirkwall – and John, born in 1869. He was a grocer, and it was at his house in Victoria Street, Kirkwall, that “Granny” celebrated her 100th birthday.]

1940 August 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of the Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Wasbister School on Wednesday, July 17. Miss Inkster presided, and gave as her motto, “One may do a great deal of good in the world, if one does not care who gets the credit for it.” The Secretary read the minutes of the last meeting, and also correspondence from Miss Gault, Matron of the Balfour Hospital, thanking the Rousay people for two boxes of eggs received. The President gave a talk on blood transfusion and on sphagnum moss gathering, and appealed for blood donors to come forward to the W.V.S. depot in Kirkwall. The competition for the evening was bere bannocks. These were judged by Mrs Mainland, Nearhouse, and Miss Craigie, Scockness, who awarded the prizes to – 1 Mrs Ronald Shearer, Curquoy; 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, Bigland; 3 Mrs Hourie, Quoygrinnie. The hostesses for the evening were Misses Sinclair, Craigie and Kirkness, who served an enjoyable tea. Votes of thanks were accorded to the judges, the hostesses, and to Mrs Paterson, for supplying pianoforte music. A pleasant evening was brought to a close with the singing of the National Anthem.

[When sphagnum moss is dry it is not only absorbent but also mildly antiseptic. During the First and Second World Wars it was collected in many parts of the Highlands and Islands and sent south to be turned into wound dressings. It was also used for lamp wicks, bedding and babies nappies.]

1940 August 28 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY PICNIC AND SALE. – The annual Frotoft picnic was held at Frotoft School on Friday, 16th Aug. In addition to the usual sports and dance of former years, the committee arranged a “Bring and Buy” Sale in order to raise funds for the Nursing Association. Although it rained all day a large crowd gathered, and £21 15s was realised.

The committee take this opportunity of thanking the following ladies and gentlemen for donations of money: – Mr and Mrs Grant, Trumland House; Mrs Lees Low, Westness House; Rev. R. R. Davidson, West Manse; Miss Inkster, Mr F. Inkster, Greenfield; Mr and Mrs Mackay, Cruseday, and Miss Mowat, Sourin Schoolhouse. Special prizes for the sports from Mrs D. Wilson, “Sjo Brekka”; Mrs Craigie, Hunclett; and Mrs Grieve. Westness, are also gratefully acknowledged. To those ladies who gave gifts of sugar for the tea special thanks are due.

The sports began at 2 p.m. All the children’s races were held in the school, but the adults preferred running in the wet grass to using the limited space inside.

After tea, served at 5 p.m., Nurse Ferrier presented prizes to the winners, and all the children received chocolates, kindly presented by Mrs Grant, Trumland House. On the call of Miss Gibson a hearty vote of thanks was accorded Nurse Ferrier for presenting the prizes.

Rev. R. R. Davidson then called for votes of thanks to the Picnic Committee and to all who had helped to make the picnic a success.

The sale opened at 6 p.m. All parcels were quickly sold, and the company then patronised the many side-shows. Those who took charge of the side-shows were – Mr and Mrs J. Grieve, Mr and Mrs Wm. Gibson, Mrs D. Wilson, Mrs G. Petrie, Mrs Thomson, Mrs Cormack, Nurse Ferrier, Miss Gibson, and Master J. Pirie.

Dancing commenced at 7.30 p.m. During an interval prizes were handed out to the winners of competitions. At 10 p.m. the singing of “Auld Lang Syne” brought a very enjoyable and successful evening to a close.

1940 September 4 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY NOTES. – The summer has been favourable, and vegetation has made satisfactory progress. Grass came early, in spring, and cattle were grazing outside and getting a good bite during the seeding season. Since then they have done very well, owing to fair conditions and a plentiful supply of grass. Oat crops came away well, and only in a few districts were the ravages of grub apparent. Turnips were difficult to braird in several cases, and there was a good deal of second sowing. Since then they have done well, and are filling the drills. Hay was a good crop, but was difficult to harvest. It was secured eventually in fairly good condition. The potato crop promises excellent, and quality is good.

Peat work has been carried out on an extended scale, and has occupied much time. Early peats were quickly ready, and were easily got, but later ones gave more trouble. They have now been mostly stacked and the supply seems ample. Peats make very good fuel, and burn well, leaving light, clean ashes. It means much hard work to make a few tons of the finished article, and convey this to the homestead. But we must keep the home fires burning these days.

Grass sickness appeared for the second season in Orkney this summer. Three horses on one farm succumbed to this fatal malady. They were grazing on a field of old pasture, and had never been put on to rotation grass. This rather explodes the theory of clover being a probable cause. The field of old pasture was one which may be described as real old natural grass. It seems strange why Orkney had never had this trouble till last summer, and a second visitation this summer. Fortunately numbers both times were few.

Excellent crops of oats and bere are coming on to harvest. A beginning will be made one of these days. There is an increased acreage to handle this time, and hands are few to cope with it. There should be a larger increase in yield of grain and straw, and given decent weather, and ordinary luck, there should be ample to feed man and beast, even though they may have to depend on what the farms grow.

Silage is being made in a few cases, but Orkney has to adapt itself yet to the making of such a foodstuff for animals. No doubt an effort will be made to do this on more general lines. The making of silage is no new thing in these islands but it has never begin universally adopted. Changed times and changed conditions bring about a different outlook, and Orkney farmers are ready to toe the line. They mean to do their best. – By “Orcadian” in “Farming News and North British Agriculturist.”



ln order to accomplish speedily the desire of the public of Orkney to contribute one of those wonderful defenders of the coast of Britain, a Spitfire fighter, it is essential that we “go to it” with determination and without hesitation. Let no-one be held back from contributing, whether large sums or small, for everyone will want to feel that “this is our Spitfire.” It is the feeling of the committee organising the Fund that they want the ‘plane to be truly representative, and therefore shillings will be gladly accepted. It is anticipated that through love of country every man, woman and child be impelled by a flush of patriotism to add their mite…..


Orcadians are rallying enthusiastically to contribute to the Orkney Spitfire Fund. The first list of contributions appears below, and it will be seen that the total is close on £600. Subsequent donations, however, received too late for inclusion in the first list below, bring the actual total to date to over £1000. It is to be hoped that the county will be inspired by the fine example of the public-spirited people whose subscriptions are listed below…..

[The long list revealed donations ranging from £120 [Kirkwall cinema], £100 from a family in Willow Road, £50 from a local firm’s employees, £15 from a Kirkwall garage, £5 from a grocer ‘in appreciation of the patriotic women who bring their paper ration bags again, and again, thus saving waste’, 10/- from ‘A Widow’s Mite’, and many, many others of differing amounts].

1940 September 11 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – On the evening of Wednesday, August 14, the Rousay branch of the S.W.R.I. met in Sourin School. A large attendance of members was presided over by Miss Inkster, who, after the business part of the meeting was finished, gave a talk on the Federation meeting, held in the Grammar School, Kirkwall, on August 12. A quantity of sphagnum moss was cleaned by a number of members, and along with a further consignment will shortly be sent to the W.V.S. Depot in Kirkwall.  The competition for the evening was “Tweed Slippers,” and the judges, Mesdames Mainland and Grieve and Miss Sutherland, awarded the prizes to: 1 Miss Anna Marwick, 2 Mrs Wm. Flaws, 3 Mrs Ronald Shearer. The hostesses, Mrs H. I. Gibson, Mrs R. Shearer, and Miss Mowat, served an enjoyable tea. Hearty votes of thanks were accorded the judges and hostesses, and the meeting closed after the National Anthem had been sung.

[Just a reminder that dried sphagnum moss, also known as Bog Moss, due to its remarkable absorption and healing qualities, was used for field dressings in both World Wars. Its earliest use is on record in a Gaelic Chronicle of 1014 which revealed that the wounded in the battle of Clontarf ‘stuffed their wounds with moss.’ Highlanders, after the Battle of  Flodden in September 1513, staunched their bleeding wounds by filling them with bog moss and soft grass. Stricken deer have known to drag their wounded limbs through beds of Sphagnum Moss.]

LATE MR J. H. JOHNSTON. – Mr James H. Johnston died suddenly on Sunday, 31st August. Deceased came to Rousay from Rendall about sixteen years ago, and became very popular and highly respected by all. Mr Johnston proved to be a farmer of outstanding ability, and the many awards that went to Trumland Farm from local shows justified the success he attained as a stock-breeder. In connection with his career as a farmer, he was ably assisted by Mrs Johnston, who belongs to the Ritch family of Kierfold, Sandwick. Deceased was closely connected with Rousay Agricultural Society for many years, and was president in 1929. Mr Johnston was a loyal and devoted member of the Church of Scotland, and for almost fourteen years led the praise in Trumland district church. He acted in a similar capacity in Rendall Church before coming to Rousay. He was a member of the Congregational Board. The Church has therefore lost an enthusiastic worker, whose service was ungrudgingly given. Deceased is survived by Mrs Johnston and three of a family – two sons and one daughter. The eldest son, Robert, resides at Trumland. James William holds an important appointment at the Rowett Institute Aberdeen. Violet (Mrs S. J. Inkster) resides at Wasdale, in Sourin district. To his widow and family the heartfelt sympathy of the island is extended.

[James Halcro Johnston was born at Crook, Rendall, on 8 June 1880. His wife Margaret Ritch was born at Binaquoy, Firth on 22 June 1880, and died at Bankhead, Sandwick, in 1960]  

1940 September 18 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY SPITFIRE FUND’S SWIFT PROGRESS. – Excellent progress is being made in the Orkney Spitfire Fund, which, as readers will see from the list below, has now reached a total of £3,644 13s 3d, which leaves a little over £1,300 to be still subscribed. At this rate the Orkney Spitfire should be provided in well under a month…..

[The list included – £5 14s 2d collected by counter box in a Victoria Street fruiterers; £2 from a Hoy ‘War Hater’; 52 threepenny bits, being one for every week of the war, from Mrs M.; 10s, A Mite from Eday, from one who wishes to strengthen the arm of those who sweep the dragon from the skies, and hasten the day when the dove of peace will take her flight; £10 from Two Admirers of the RAF; 5s from An Old Soldier from Clestrain; ‘Baby Pittman’, Slater Street, Kirkwall, collection of 350 3d pieces – £4 2s 6d……and many others.]

1940 October 2 Orkney Herald


Orkney’s Spitfire Fund now stands at over £6,000. This is the last week of the Fund, the management committee, at a meeting last week, having decided to close it on Saturday, 5th October. Subscriptions will be accepted up to that date by the treasurer, Mr George Eunson, Union Bank, Kirkwall, and the local bank offices and newspaper offices.

Suggestions for a name for the Orkney Spitfire revealed a preponderance in favour of the name “Orkney.”

It will be seen that Orkney has provided over a thousand pounds more than the £5,000 required to pay for a Spitfire. The additional money will go a considerable way towards the cost of a second fighter…..

1940 October 9 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY FIGHTER FUND NOW TO PROVIDE A HURRICANE. – Orkney Spitfire Fund Committee, at a meeting last Tuesday, reconsidered a previously taken decision to close the Fund, and decided that it shall continue under the name of the Orkney Fighter Fund. Having provided the necessary £5,000 for the purchase of a Spitfire, Orkney, it is hoped, will now go all out to contribute a second £5,000, which will send a Hurricane into the sky…..

1940 October 16 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – RED CROSS. – The Rousay S.W.R.I. have handed over to Red Cross and Hospital 8 pillow cases, 8 pairs of slippers, and one bag of sphagnum moss.

WOMEN’S VOLUNTARY SERVICES. – The Work Party have handed over to the War Charities Depot, up to date, 22 pairs of socks, 6 pairs of gum-boot stockings, and 2 dressing gowns.

1940 October 23 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – S.W.R.I. – The monthly meeting of Rousay’s branch of the S.W.R.I. was held in Frotoft School on October 4. There was good attendance of members and friends, presided over by Miss Inkster, who, after giving the motto of the evening, extended a cordial welcome to the visitors present. After the minutes had been read and the business part of the meeting conducted, a thrift parcel, containing a child’s cot and accessories, and also children’s garments, was on view. The ingenuity displayed in the making of all the articles was wonderful, and everyone agreed that it was a pleasure to see such exhibits. Miss Thora Kirkness, Quoyostray, gave a demonstration of glass painting, and showed a number of decorated articles in glass ware, and also some specimens of jewellery in enamel work. The competition for the evening was a hand-sewn pillow-slip. The judges, Mrs Robertson of Viera Lodge and Mrs Marwick of Breck, awarded the prizes to: – 1 Mrs Shearer, Curquoy; 2 Mrs Grieve, Westness. The hostesses, Mesdames Mainland and Grieve and Miss Mainland, served a splendid tea. On the call of Miss Inkster, hearty votes of thanks were accorded all the ladies who had contributed to the evening’s enjoyment, and the evening’s proceedings closed with the singing of the National Anthem.

1940 December 18 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – EARL HAIG FUND. – The Earl Haig Fund collection for Rousay amounted to the excellent total of £6 12s 3d, made up as follows: – Sourin district, £2 16s 8d; Wasbister, £1 6s 6d; Frotoft and Brinian, £2 9s 1d. Mrs Gibson, organiser of the collection, wishes to thank the teachers in the districts and the children for their help in collecting.

COMFORTS. – The following war comforts have been sent to headquarters: – From W.V.S. Work Party – 18 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gum-boot stockings, 3 pairs of mitts, 2 pairs of slippers. From Mrs Robertson, Langskaill, per Miss Inkster, there have gone five pairs of socks.

In Print

Newsprint – 1939

1939 January 11 Orkney Herald


The annual ploughing match of Rousay Agricultural Society was held on December 29 on a field kindly granted for the occasion by Mrs [Anna] Marwick, Innister. Two champions and thirteen ordinary ploughmen took part, their work being of a high standard. None too favourable weather conditions adversely affected the attendance of competitors and spectators.

The judges were Messrs James Halcrow, Crowrar; Alfred Leask, Aikerness, and James Scott, Smithy Cottage, whose decisions gave entire satisfaction.

Match arrangements were ably carried out by the following committee: – Messrs Robert S. Mainland, president; Robert Johnston. vice-president; John Linklater, secretary; Ronald Shearer, treasurer; Hugh Craigie, George Reid, John Mainland, William Inkster, James Lyon, Samuel Inkster, David Moar, John Craigie and James Craigie.

Mr Robert S. Mainland, Nearhouse, president, visited the field on behalf of the Highland and Agricultural Society.

During the day, judges, committee and ploughmen were liberally entertained by Mrs Marwick and her daughters, and in the evening the prizes were handed out at the farm house by Mrs Marwick, after which the secretary proposed a very hearty vote of thanks to Mrs Marwick, for handing out the prizes and for the use of her field and her hospitality to judges, committee and ploughmen.

After the prizes were read out, judges, officials and friends sat down to a sumptuous dinner, and the usual toasts were proposed. Mr Stanley Firth entertained the company with song and story, which were much enjoyed.

The Society takes this opportunity of thanking Mrs Marwick, judges, and donors of special prizes, and all those who made the match such a success.

Prize-List – Champions. – 1 James Craigie, Furse; 2 Hugh Robertson, Langskaill. Feering – James Craigie; finish – James Craigie; straightest ploughing – James Craigie.

Ordinary. – 1 and Highland and Agricultural Society medal, Sinclair Craigie, Falquoy; 2 Emslie Craigie, Trumland; 3 William Moar, Saviskaill; 4 Fred Kirkness, Quoyostray; 5 Hugh Craigie, Scockness; 6 Hugh Russell, Brendale; 7 John Marwick, Westness; 8 Arnot Sinclair, Langskaill; 9 Sam. Craigie, Westness; 10 George Grieve, Langskaill. Feering – Hugh Craigie; finish – Sinclair Craigie; straightest ploughing – Sinclair Craigie; neatest ends – James Marwick, Innister.

Harness. – 1 Emslie Craigie, Trumland; 2 James Craigie, Furse; 3 Arnot Sinclair, Langskaill; 4 Hugh Craigie, Scockness; 5 William Moar, Saviskaill; 6 Roderick Marwick, Nearhouse; 7 George Grieve, Langskaill.

Grooming. – 1 Arnot Sinclair, Langskaill; 2 James Craigie, Furse; 3 Emslie Craigie, Trumland; 4 Hugh Russell, Brendale; 5 George Grieve, Langskaill; 6 William Moar, Saviskaill; 7 Roderick Marwick, Nearhouse.

Best matched pair – Emslie Craigie. Best pair on field – Emslie Craigie. Best turnout, horses and harness – Emslie Craigie. Youngest ploughman – Hugh Mainland.

Cup, presented by Messrs P. L. Johnston, for best ploughed rig, to be won three years – Sinclair Craigie, Falquoy. Cup, presented by Miss Inkster (Cogar) for most points, to be won three years – James Craigie, Furse. Cup, presented by Dr Thomson, for straightest ploughed rig, to be won three years – James Craigie, Furse. Cup, presented by Messrs R. Garden, Ltd., for grooming, to be won three years – Arnot Sinclair, Langskaill. Medal, presented by Rev. R. R. Davidson, for best ploughed rig, to be won two years – Sinclair Craigie, Falquoy. Medal, presented by Wm. R. Walls, Co-operative manager, for 1st in champion section, to be won two years – James Craigie, Furse. Medal, presented by Wm. Brough, jeweller, for best feering on field, to be won two years – James Craigie, Furse. Medal, presented by A Friend, for best finish on field, to be won two years – Sinclair Craigie, Falquoy. Medal, presented by Robert Harvey, Birsay, for feering and finish combined, to be won two years – Hugh Craigie, Scockness. Medal, presented by Wm. Harvey for best harness on field, to be won two years – Emslie Craigie, Trumland. Medal, presented by R. G. Harrold, for best harness in everyday use, to be won two years – George Grieve, Langskaill.

1939 January 18 Orkney Herald

EVIE – JANUARY. – January is speeding on its way and the days are lengthening perceptibly. The darkness no longer falls suddenly on the back of noon, but comes gradually with a kind of weird twilight. As the day lengthens, the cold strengthens, and there have been some very low temperatures lately – though the weather of this month so far has not been so severe as is usually experienced. January being regarded as the most wintry month – associated as it often is, with gales and heavy snowfalls. In the country it is a long, dreary month. All Nature is asleep and the outlook on dank, dead fields is depressing. Indoors there is a re-action after the excitement of the festive season, and things seem flat for a time. But the 25th (’twas then a blast of Januwar wind blew hansel in on Robin) usually stirs up interest and revives life with the anniversary celebrations of our National Bard.

RAIN STORM. – Last Saturday’s loveliness – with its fresh sprinkling of snow and glistening frost – was quickly dissipated by a sudden tempest of wind and rain, to which we awoke on Sunday morning. The scene was completely changed, and in place of the bright snow and frost, a deluge of water encompassed the land, miniature lakes appearing all over the district. Low heavy clouds darkened the atmosphere necessitating the use of lamps far into the day. Burns swelled and became noisy torrents and many fine cascades were formed. The wind blew from the south-east at gale force for a short time, and then veered to the west, abating after mid-day when the rain also subsided. Farm folk whose duties took them outside were soaked to the skin in the shortest of time, while the storm was at its worst. Few ventured out to worship, the attendance at church being very meagre.

1939 January 25 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY- ORKNEY AUXILLARY. – The hon. treasurer, Mr W. J. Heddle, begs to acknowledge the sum of £3 15s 6d, being the amount collected in the island of Rousay on behalf of the above for the current year, and to thank Mr James Gibson, Hullion, and the following collectors, Misses Gibson and Sutherland, and Mr Shearer, and the scholars for their kind services.

1939 March 1 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NURSING ASSOCIATION. – The annual general meeting of the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre District Nursing Association was held in Sourin School on Friday, 24th February. The attendance was small. Rev. R. R. Davidson, president of the Association, acted as chairman. The secretary gave the financial report for the year ending 31st Dec., 1938, and also read a report of the Nurse’s work for the year. All office bearers and members of the executive committee for 1938 were re-appointed. Mrs Grant, Hillhead/Trumland, and Mrs Lees Low, Westness House, were proposed as honorary presidents. Several matters came up for discussion, and there were also some proposed amendments to the constitution and rules. Membership leaflets will not be printed until these amendments have been approved by Association members.

1939 March 29 Orkney Herald

Diamond and Silver Weddings were celebrated in the island of Rousay by Mr and Mrs Magnus Craigie, of Ploverhall, Wasbister, married in Holm 60 years ago, and their son and daughter-in-law, Mr and Mrs Alex. Craigie, of Hunclett, Frotoft, married at Hullion on 27th February 1914.

[Magnus was the son of Alexander Craigie, Whoam, later Falquoy, and Ann Murray, Tofts, Quandale. He and his wife Ellen Cooper lived at Claybank, Wasbister, where 12 of their 13 children were born. They then moved to Pliverha’, where their youngest daughter was born. Their son Alexander was married to Rose Ida Gibson, Hullion, and they lived at Turbitail before moving to Hunclett.]

1939 April 26 Orkney Herald

EARTH HOUSE AT GRIPPS, ROUSAY. – A communication by Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., was read [to members of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland at a recent meeting in Edinburgh], in which he described an earth-house at Gripps, Rousay, found and carefully preserved by Mr [George] Reid of Tratland [Frotoft]. There were no surface indications of the presence of the structure, which consisted of a low passage and chamber, cut into the clay subsoil and simply roofed with slabs, without built walls. The roof of the chamber was partly supported by a built pillar. A few sherds of pottery and utilised stones were recovered.

EVIE – FARM. – A great deal of work has been done in the fields during the last week, and sowing is now far advanced. Conditions would not be considered ideal, the soil being too moist except on very dry ground. Germination must be slow for lack of heat, and the blade will be long in appearing should the present cold atmosphere continue. Grass is coming up very slowly, and will not serve for herbage in the near future, but fodder is not yet scarce and will likely hold out as long as it is required. Many lambs are now skipping about the fields, and seem to be good specimens. As usual, there has been a fair percentage of losses.

SEASON. – A wintry spring has been disappointing to country dwellers, who eagerly watch for the renaissance, and there has been little invitation to leave the fireside and seek the open in a biting atmosphere with cold, dull skies. April, however, has inspired hope with Easter and summer time, and cold and dark must yield to the repeated attacks of sunshine, intermittent with showers. Now all the birds are singing in the early morning. The ecstasy of the blackbird is thrilling, and the music of the wrens delightful. In the garden the floral season has opened with daffodils and wallflowers, and on the wayside banks the primroses are appearing. Trees are awakening, and tufts of vivid green make bright spots on the landscape, all giving the greeting of Spring.

1939 May 24 Orkney Herald

EVIE – PEATS. – Peat cutting is now in full swing, and during the past week of good weather many “banks” were “shorn,” and slabs of turf thrown out to the wind and the drought. The moors are now very dry, facilitating the cutting of the turves, and the peats flung out from the tusker have been very firm and easy to handle. They have been given a very good start, and it is hoped this season may prove more favourable to the curing process than last.

WEATHER AND SEASON. – May has nearly run its course – and still no definite assurance of summer. Sunshine and blue sky have only been occasional, and there has been no real warmth. Temperatures have been mostly below the seasonal average, and frosts common at night. Yet, Nature is spreading her mantle of green o’er the earth, and the country is now looking pretty, in form and colour, with the wakened cultivated fields and the various bright blossoms by the wayside. Marsh marigolds and whin are in great abundance, their flaming gold predominating. Primroses, modest and less gay, are littered everywhere, filling the air with their pleasant, fragrant aroma.

1939 May 31 Orkney Herald

TO LET. – Furnished Cottage; living room, bedroom, scullery, and outhouse.
Apply, Mr Cormack, Daisy Cottage, Trumland Pier, Rousay.

1939 June 28 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – REGATTA. – The annual meeting of the Rousay Sailing Club was held at Trumland Pier on Wednesday evening, 21st inst. A good attendance of members was present. After the reading of the minutes, the treasurer submitted his report, which showed a considerable balance to the credit of the club. The following office-bearers were elected for the coming season – Commodore, Mr Walter G. Grant, Trumland; secretary and treasurer, Mr James S. Gibson, Hullion; timekeeper, Mr James Craigie, Pier Cottage; starter, Mr John Gorn, Trumland. The usual committee was appointed to carry out the arrangements on the regatta day. The event was fixed tor 14th July, and it is expected that there will be the usual trip to Rousay. The races are to be as formerly, and bills posted in the several places interested in the course of a week. For the convenience of visitors, a tea room will be open during the day. From reports to hand it is expected there will be a good turnout of competitors.



There are few things more typically Orcadian than a night at the cuithes. Cuithe fishing is carried on amid scenes of exquisite beauty and romance, and I do not doubt that there could not be a more home stirring thought to an Orcadian exile than the memory of a night at the cuithes, gilded, as all such nights are, with a glorious sunset. I can remember nights of such a nature and I never think of them without feeling a strange tug at my heart calling me again to the sea.

The summer evening was beginning to wrap its mystic folds about the farms and crofts as a fisherman friend and I picked our way down the green path that led to the boat noust. We were going to the cuithes and I carried three bamboo wands in my hand, while my companion (I will call him John) bore on his back an old fashioned leather cubbie in which to bring back the catch. When we reached the beach all was still, and no sound broke the silence except the gentle lapping of the water against the rocky beach.

“Pity hid wisna’ sic a bonny nicht, and we wid hae steud a better chance o’ getting two firs,” said John.

“We can only try our luck,” I replied, and we proceeded to pull the boat down over the rocky ledges, after we had arranged the various necessary articles in the boat, which we needed with us. The sun was just going down as we pushed off, and there was surely never more brilliant sunset than that. The vast expanse of water that waited for this golden orb lay out like a burnished sheet of pure, glittering gold. The scene, however, was more than a mass of colour; it was made resplendent by that living Spirit of Nature which shone through it, giving it real, heart-stirring power. With the quietness and sombre peace one felt almost that same feeling as when in a beautiful cathedral which always exercises the power of true art upon one. Slowly, inch by inch, Phoebus sank to rest, while the whole west was lighted up in indescribable beauty. The land around added enchantment to our surroundings, which were more like a scene in a dream than a real tangible panorama of land and sea. Over the fields, and even the salt water, came the lovely scent of new mown hay, while besides the banks of a slow flowing burn, lay some cattle chewing the cud. We could see the crofters busying themselves about a few last duties before retiring for the night, while from their lums there eddied forth the homely peat reek, which mingled with the mists descending from the hilltops. Save the occasional cry of a lonely curlew, silence was never broken except for the muffled beat of the oars in the rowlocks, which sounded like some phantom warriors of old walking home from their last battle. The sun had sunk and the scene was becoming dim in the semi-darkness when the fish began to take, as John expressed it. Cuithe fishing does not provide so much sport as other kinds but it is very diverting, and three rods will keep a person working if the fishing conditions are favourable.

After two hours fishing we had ten score in the boat and were glad to turn homewards. How can I describe the beauty of that bay on that midnight in summer! The silvery threads of the moon cast their enchanting rays across the sparkling waters, while away to the west all the waste of waters lay like a dormant beast of great latent powers. Across the sky hung wisping, silvery clouds, and all was made more beautiful by the softness created by the semi-darkness.

1939 June 30 Aberdeen Press & Journal

ROUSAY NEEDLEWORK. – The members of Rousay W.R.I., Orkney, met in Wasbister School with Miss Inkster, president, in the chair. She discussed the motto – “None of us get dizzy with doing too many good turns for others,” and introduced the demonstrator, Miss Pexton, who delighted with a demonstration of the making of loose chair covers and afterwards judged the overall competition. There were numerous entries, and the winners were:- 1. Mrs Hourie, Maybank; 2. Mrs Craigie, Furse; 3. Mrs Gibson, Lopness. The latter part of the programme was devoted to entertainment, solos being sung by Miss Pexton and Miss Sutherland, with accompaniments by Mrs Paterson. Tea was served by the hostesses.

1939 July 5 Orkney Herald

GUILDSWOMEN IN ROUSAY – LARGE GATHERING AT SUMMER MEETING. – Over three hundred Church of Scotland Guildswomen from all parts of Orkney travelled to Rousay on Tuesday afternoon of last week for the summer meeting of the Orkney Presbyterial Council, which was held in Trumland Church. The delegates travelled to the island on the steamers Earl Thorfinn and Iona.

On arrival at Rousay, the delegates were entertained to tea in the open by members of the Rousay Women’s Guild, after which the meeting took place in the church…..The meeting concluded with the singing of the doxology and the pronouncement of the benediction by Rev R. R. Davidson. Before the steamer sailed for Kirkwall the party had a short period in which to visit friends and go sight-seeing in the island.

1939 July 19 Orkney Herald

YACHTSMEN’S HECTIC DAY AT ROUSAY. – Shades of their daring Nordic forbears, riding the angry waves in their frail crafts, Orkney yachtsmen had a hectic day at Rousay on Friday. The occasion was the annual regatta of the Rousay Sailing Club, and, although entries were short of former times, the quality of sailing and seamanship was of a very high standard.

The wind, almost reaching gale force, was from the north-west, blowing the whole length of Wyre Sound. All races were from Trumland Pier, and for the sailing races a buoy had been anchored to the north-east near the Avelshay shore, and another across the sound near the Wyre shore, giving a three-mile triangular course.

Seven sailing craft took part – four Kirkwall and three Rousay – viz., Mizpah (W. Grieve, Kirkwall); Vala (D. M. Cooper, Kirkwall); Esmeralda (T. Sinclair, Rousay); Snowdrop (C. Logie, Rousay); Sea Imp (W. Sinclair, Kirkwall); Gipsy (M. Bolt, Kirkwall); and Ivy (W. Marwick, Rousay).

Only three sailing races were sailed on this occasion. The large and small all-comers’ classes were sailed in conjunction, and there no entries for the 17ft. Class race.

Officials in charge at the regatta were – Mr Donald Spence, of Nigeria; Mr John Gorn, Trumland House, and Mr J. S. Gibson, secretary of the club, and they were assisted by Mr George Eunson, Orkney Sailing Club secretary, Kirkwall. Mr Spence the genial and efficient timekeeper, is a member of His Majesty’s Colonial Administrative Service in Nigeria, West Africa, and is at present on holiday in Rousay.

Below we give a brief summing up of the salient points in the various events.

22ft. And Under Class. – Five boats of the 22ft. class were got away to a fine start sharp at 12 noon. The race was twice round the course, a distance of approximately six miles. Sea Imp, Mizpah, and Vala were first across the line, but only a few seconds separated first and last boats. First leg of the course, to Avelshay buoy, was a dead beat to windward, and on crossing the starting line Vala had to give way to Mizpah to avoid collision.

Esmeralda overtook the others, and was first round the buoy at Avelshay, with Mizpah less than one minute behind. Esmeralda had completed the short reach to Wyre buoy before Sea Imp reached Avelshay, and Vala and Snowdrop came next. The first-named four boats had made the beat up the sound in a series of short tacks, while Snowdrop had made two long tacks, and apparently had oversailed the mark.

After the run down to the pier buoy, Mizpah had reduced Esmeralda’s lead by ten seconds to 50. Sea Imp was 3 mins. 30 secs. behind the latter, and Vala crossed 2 mins. 22 secs. later. Vala appeared to be feeling her weight of canvas badly. Snowdrop was well in the rear.

On the second beat to windward, the leader gained almost two minutes on the second boat (Mizpah) and rounded the buoy 2½ mins. in front. Vala’s crew lost precious minutes with a broken mainsheet, and Snowdrop moved up to fourth place. On this round Snowdrop followed the others’ example of making short tacks, and profited thereby.

Esmeralda steadily increased her lead from the others, and was across the finishing line before the third, fourth and fifth boats had rounded the Avelshay buoy for Wyre and thence the finishing line. Mizpah followed the Burray-built yacht across the line 1 min. 45 secs. later, with a lead off Sea Imp of 7 mins. 15 secs. A dog-fight for fourth place saw the former cross the line 18 secs. ahead, to lose place to the smaller yacht on corrected time by 42 secs.

14ft. And Under Class. – Half-an-hour after the 22-footers, two boats of the 14ft. class – one Kirkwall and one Rousay – were got away to a fair start. The course in this case was only once round. The Kirkwall boat, Gipsy, being of longer waterline, quickly moved away from the Ivy, of Rousay. This event became too one-sided to be interesting.  Gipsy’s youthful crew sailed a beautiful race, drawing steadily away from her rival, and on crossing the finishing line was 14 mins. 36 secs. ahead, giving a lead of one minute less on corrected time.

All-Comers’ Race. – A spectacular beginning to the all-comers’ race in the afternoon was marred by the fact that Esmeralda’s jib ripped from bottom to top just after she crossed the starting line. Six boats lined up at 3 o’clock, and on the starting gun all were across the line in close proximity, the first four being dead level. The management committee on the pier decided that the race  should be only once round the course, a distance of three miles.

Esmeralda’s crew downed their torn canvas, and sailed for over ten minutes under mainsail alone before they got another jib bent on. She made surprisingly good time under such conditions, but had dropped to fourth position on reaching the Avelshay buoy. Mizpah took the lead from the start, with Vala and Sea Imp on her tail.

Mizpah rounded the first buoy exactly one minute ahead of Vala, and Sea Imp and Esmeralda 50 and 60 seconds later respectively.

Vala had shortened sail considerably for this race, and showed a tremendous improvement. The Rousay boat Snowdrop had also shortened sail, but did not shine, dropping steadily behind, with the much smaller Gipsy only a short distance in her rear.

It was an inspiring sight to see the first four boats cracking on before the wind with only short distances between. Excitement was tense as Mizpah crossed the finishing line first with Vala pressing hard in her rear. Mizpah was first on corrected time by the narrow margin of two seconds.

Some sort of misunderstanding at the finishing line, whereby Sea Imp failed to cross the line, saw Esmeralda take third place, followed by the smaller classed Gipsy. Sea Imp sailed away from the pier, and only crossed the line when making for her moorings. Strange to say, the Rousay skiff made exactly the same blunder, and made straight for her moorings, failing altogether to complete the course.

Gipsy, being the only entrant for the smaller class for all-comers, was sailed along with the larger boats. She gave a very creditable performance, and was awarded a special prize.

Rowing Races. – Men’s Doubles. – The first of the rowing races – two men to each boat – attracted four entries, one of whom, however, broke an oar at the start and retired. Winners were   – 1 Messrs Craigie and Johnson; 2 Messrs Seatter and Mainland; 3 Messrs Taylor and Swanney.

Men’s Singles. – A broken oar necessitated the retiral of one of the three boats in the singles race for men. During a neck-and-neck struggle one of the contestants threatened to ram the well-known motor boat Otter, but a chorus of yells from the pierhead attracted his attention and saved the situation. A very close finish saw Mr D. Taylor move forward to win by a short (stem) head from Mr Seatter.

Boys’ Race. Two pairs of boys entered for the rowing doubles for boys, and did the round in fine style. Results: – 1 J. Seatter and R. Mainland; 2 R. Stevenson and L. Irvine.

Ladies’ Race. – No entries were forward for the ladies’ rowing race, which had to be cancelled.

Motor Boat Race. – The motor boat race attracted three entrants – one Kirkwall, one Rousay, and one from Wyre. Boats were set to drift before the wind, and on the starting gun headed into the wind at speed. The Wyre boat (Lorna) took the lead, followed by Saga, of Kirkwall, and, third, Austin, of Rousay.

Presentation of Prizes. – Cups, medals, and prizes were presented by Mrs Walter Grant, Trumland House, at 6 p.m., in the Orkney Steam Navigation’s store at the head of the pier. Winners’ names were called by Mr D. Spence, and the presentation party also included Mr Gibson, Mr Gorn, and Mr Fred. Cormack, Swartland House, Dounby. A vote of thanks to Mrs Grant for presenting the prizes was called for by Mr Gibson, and heartily accorded.

1939 July 26 Orkney Herald



In a boiling flurry of escaping air and spouting, plunging, rust-coloured foam, the huge bow of the ex-German battle-cruiser Derfflinger, freed from the sea-bed mud of Scapa Flow, heaved to the surface on Monday afternoon. This (Tuesday) afternoon the stern, at present still lying on the sea-bed, will be raised.

The raising of the Derfflinger is the outcome of about a year’s work by salvage men of Metal Industries Ltd., under the direction of Mr Thomas McKenzie, chief salvage officer.

The 27,000-ton Derfflinger lay, keel uppermost, with a list of 20 degs., in 150 feet of water in the part of Scapa Flow known as the Bring Deeps, between Cava and Hoy, and her salvage constituted the most difficult of the many arduous undertakings by the Scapa salvors. Similar to the Hindenburg, the Derfflinger was one of the newest vessels of  the High Seas Fleet. She is 700 feet long. Divers and men working inside the hull of the submerged ship encountered air pressures of over 50 lbs. per sq. inch.

The sixth scuttled German battleship to be raised at Scapa by Metal Industries, she is the last upon which salvage efforts will be attempted. As recently announced, Admiralty requirements at Scapa and at Rosyth, where the ships are broken up, will result in Metal Industries vacating their shore base at Lyness and part of their premises at Rosyth…..

1939 August 9 Orkney Herald


Glorious summer weather favoured Orkney Sailing Club on the occasion of their annual regatta in Kirkwall Bay on Saturday…..For all the sailing events a full-sail breeze was blowing from about east, and though finishing thrills were few, some magnificent racing was seen of the various legs of the course…..

The premier honours of the day were carried off by the Rousay yacht Esmeralda, owned and sailed by Mr Tom Sinclair. This craft lifted the silver cup and medal for 22ft. waterline boats, and the silver cup and medal for the all-comers’ race…..

Fourteen boats took part in the day’s racing, six of these being “invaders,” namely, the Kyno, Avalon, and Ira (Stromness), the Whitemaa (Finstown), the Annie (Longhope), and the Esmeralda (Rousay).

First of the races began at 12 o’clock, the race for the 22ft. class boats. Four boats were entered for this – the Esmeralda, Sea Imp, Mizpah and Vala. The course was a five-mile one, Kirkwall Pier to Scargun buoy, to a boat moored off Thieves’ Holm, and back to the pier.

Mizpah was first across the line, with Esmeralda, Sea Imp and Vala following in that order. On the way to Scargun Vala took the lead, but Esmeralda pulled up and was first around the buoy. Sea Imp beat Vala for second place round. On the beat to Thieves’ Holm, Esmeralda showed her quality by drawing ahead. Vala and Sea Imp had a great fight for second place, which ended with Vala going into the position of chief challenger to the Rousayman. Esmeralda was first round the Thieves’ Holm mark, with a good lead. Vala was second. Sea Imp was third, but was being rapidly overhauled by the Mizpah.

On the run home to Kirkwall Pier Vala made a fine challenge to the Esmeralda, and decreased the Rousay boat’s lead considerably. As she approached the finish the Rousay boat presented a fine sight. Carrying a load of canvas she was lying over at an angle of more than 45 degrees to the water. Vala crossed the finishing line not far behind the Esmeralda, and Mizpah sprang a surprise on the Sea Imp by coming up into third place…..

1939 August 16 Orkney Herald


Rousay Agricultural Society’s annual cattle show held last Tuesday in a field given for the occasion by Mr Robert Seatter, of Banks, was one of the most successful held in the island for many years.

Entries in all sections showed a considerable increase and the quality of the stock was well maintained. Rousay is practically the only show in the county to reveal an improvement in numbers this year, a fact which reflects great credit on the enthusiasm of the local exhibitors.

Once again the society was fortunate in having beautiful weather for their show, and throughout the day many spectators patronised the showyard. In close proximity to the cattle show was the Horticultural Society’s exhibition, which also helped to draw the crowds to Sourin.

A good number of visitors travelled to the show from Kirkwall in the Earl Sigurd, and were boated ashore, just below the showyard…..

The premier award of the show went to Mr John Craigie, Furse, for the championship in the horse sections, and the reserve ticket to Mr George Reid, Tratland. In the cattle section both the championship and reserve tickets were awarded to Mr Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso…..

At the close of the show there was a combined prize-giving, when the many handsome prizes of the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies were gracefully handed over by Mrs Walter G. Grant, Trumland House, who was cordially thanked for her services.

[There were two very long lists of prize winners – too many to mention I’m afraid, but I now include the after dinner speeches, and Horti-show judges comments]

The Dinner. – The official dinner held at the close of the day’s proceedings in Sourin School was under the auspices of both the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies. After an appetising repast had been served, Mr Robert Mainland, president of the Agricultural Society, proposed the health of the cattle show judges in a speech in which he complimented Messrs Wood and Learmonth on the very able way in which they had performed their task.

Replying, Mr James Wood [Garson, Sandwick] said it was his first time in Rousay in an official capacity, and he had enjoyed himself very much indeed. As for the quality of the stock placed before them, the tops, both in the horse and cattle classes were of a very high standard. The first three in the cross cows were fit to show at any local show. The yearling filly they had placed champion in the horses appeared to them a very nice animal, with Iots of promise about her, and they would be interested to know how she developed.

He would have expected to find a bigger exhibition of sheep in an island like Rousay, but the sheep before them were of good quality. He thanked the Society again for their hospitality.

Mr George Learmonth [Pow, Sandwick] associated himself with the remarks made by Mr Wood. He had enjoyed every minute of his day in Rousay, and had been much impressed by the stock set before them. He appreciated the quality of the cross cows, and the tops among the horses were really very good. Both the horses and the cattle were brought out in very good shape, but he thought the handling of the cattle might be improved. They had once had the same difficulty at Dounby, but they had been told that a good plan was to lead the cattle three times round the house the day before the show. They in Dounby had found that this was a good “cure” for too-lively cattle.

Concluding, Mr Learmonth spoke of the excellent way they had been treated by the Society during the day, and thanked the ladies who had looked after their needs so well.

Mr J. W. Grieve, on behalf of the Horticultural Society, thanked the horticultural and industrial judges for their work during the day, and asked the company to drink their health.

Mr Moncrieff and Miss McVicar replied and thanked the Horticultural Society for their hospitality during the day. Both spoke of the improvement in the sections they had judged, and gave comments on the quality of the exhibits.

The dinner concluded with votes of thanks to the chairman, and the ladies who had carried out the catering.


Rousay’s flowers, fruit, produce, and handiwork have seldom provided a better display than they did last Tuesday when the island’s Horticultural Society had their annual show in the Comrades’ Hall, Sourin. In all sections, except vegetables and industrial items, which showed a slight drop, there was an encouraging increase. Baking and dairy sections were particularly successful this year, and flowers made a brilliant show despite the bad season.

The occasion was favoured with lovely weather, and a large crowd of visitors from all parts of the island, as well as from Kirkwall and the mainland, attended in the course of the day…..

The show arrangements were carried out with notable efficiency by the following attendants: – Miss Mainland, Mrs Kirkness, Miss Kathleen Craigie, Mr J. W. Grieve, and Mr James Craigie, assisted by other members and official of the Society, with Mr John R. Linklater as secretary.

Judges Comments. – Miss McVicar (dairy produce) – “This section of the show is greatly improved since last year. It is a good display all over. Quality has improved, and there are much more entries. The hen eggs are splendid, the first prize-winner especially being lovely eggs.

“Among the preserves the gooseberry jam was the biggest entry and, perhaps, the most difficult to judge. Marmalade was a good class. The best pot of preserves, however, was a pot of gooseberry jelly.

“There has been a big improvement in the butter class, due to the fact that the Society has instituted champion and “amateur” sections. There have been as a result more entries than last year, and the quality is very good. Cheese was also very good, and difficult to judge.”

Mr Moncrieff (baking) – “Baking is a big section compared to what it was when I was here two years ago. Fruit cakes and currant loaves were predominant among the entries, and both these classes were really splendid. Every exhibit was a good one and it was very difficult, especially in the currant loaves, to distinguish what was best.

“Bere scones and queen cakes were about the biggest entry of the lot. Fancy baking showed a big increase, and the quality of both fancy and plain baking was exceptionally good. I can quite truthfully say that in the baking section of the show there was a tremendous improvement from the last time I was here.”

Mr Sclater (fruit, flowers and vegetables) – “The flowers, fruit and vegetables were on the whole a very creditable show. Vegetables were not quite so many or quite so good as they were last year, but the flowers were very good indeed, considering the season. I was very pleased with the winning bowl of cut flowers. It was a very fine exhibit. The children’s display was pleasing, and among the annuals escholtzias were outstanding.”

Mrs Sclater (handiwork) – “The industrial section was a very fine display, and the exhibits showed much skill, and there was evidence that a great deal of time and care had been taken with them. The best of the exhibits was a gentleman’s white pullover, but it was a very good display on the whole.”

[A long and comprehensive list of prize-winners followed the judge’s comments…..]

1939 September 6 Orkney Herald




Britain declared war upon Germany at II a.m. on Sunday. This step was taken following Germany’s invasion of Poland on Friday morning and the Reich’s failure to reply within the specified time to Britain’s ultimatum that unless Germany withdrew her forces from Polish territory Britain would without hesitation fulfil her obligations to Poland.

First act of the war between Britain and Germany was the torpedoing of the 13,000-ton Glasgow liner Athenia 200 miles west of the Hebrides.

On Sunday afternoon the King approved of the establishment of a British War Cabinet similar to that set up in December 1916. The principal ministerial change is the introduction of Mr Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty, the post which he held at the outbreak of the Great War. Mr Anthony Eden becomes Secretary of State for the Dominions. Though not actually on the War Cabinet, he will be afforded special access to it.



Churches throughout Orkney on Sunday concerned themselves almost exclusively with the European calamity, and Britain’s declaration of war on Nazi Germany. In their addresses and their prayers, ministers interceded on behalf of Britain’s cause, and asked the Divine blessing that the principles for which this country had entered the conflict would prevail.

Despite the attraction of wireless sets with their hour by hour news of the grim trend of events, people throughout the county turned to the churches for comfort and guidance…..



Rev. G. Arthur Fryer, M.A., B.Sc., C.A.G.S., minister of St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall, is to give instructional lectures on A.R.P. work in Stromness and Kirkwall on Sunday first. The lectures will deal with the proper use of civilian gas-masks, and other important matters.

Notice is urgently drawn to these lectures as they may not be repeated. The Kirkwall lecture will take place in Paterson Church at 12.30 p.m., and the Stromness lecture at 3 p.m., in St Peter’s Church. Every adult civilian should make a special effort to attend one or other of these lectures. They are not for children, who should be instructed by their parents or guardians. It is essential, however, that all responsible persons, and in particular all householders, should know what to do in case of an air raid. The lectures will last about an hour.



One of Canada’s most distinguished Orcadians is the Rev. Dr John G. Inkster, minister of Knox Church, Toronto. Dr Inkster is a native of Rousay, with which he still has many close connections. Recently, it was announced in Toronto newspapers, Dr Inkster has left Canada to undertake a six months’ pastorate in New Zealand. With his wife, he sailed from New York on August 22nd. Though he is to return to Toronto, Dr Inkster has now given up active ministry, after 36 years of unsparing labour. Of this period, he has been 18 years as pastor of Knox Church.

After his visit to New Zealand, Dr and Mrs Inkster may pay a visit to Orkney, before returning to Canada. It is not many years ago, as will be remembered, that Dr Inkster paid a previous very successful visit to his native county and island…..

At 72 Dr Inkster is one of Toronto’s most active clergy and one of the outstanding figures in the city’s religious affairs. In his early days in Toronto he was prominent in debating, literary and sporting circles. He is a close friend of Mr Mackenzie King, the Canadian Prime Minister.

In his eighteen years at Knox Church, Dr Inkster has had a fine record. He has performed 611 marriages and 628 baptisms. Close on 2000 had joined his church by certificate, and another 1125 by profession of faith. When he came to Knox Church, the congregation numbered 500. Now it is 1700. He has regularly preached six sermons a week, and in his ministry at Knox has preached over 5000 sermons in all. On the pastoral side, he has averaged 30 visits a day to members of his flock.

Though he has definitely retired as minister in charge of Knox Church, he will have many other duties on his return from New Zealand.

Dr Inkster’s ambition is to complete 50 years of preaching, and judging from his energy and enthusiasm the odds are on that ambition being achieved.

1939 September 13 Orkney Herald

ON THE FARMS. – While political circles are seething under the thunder of war, the peace of the countryside is still undisturbed. Farmers and their men are remarkably calm, and are quietly and efficiently carrying out the great task of harvesting. During war the farmer swings into the limelight. His position only then becomes appreciated. Most townspeople have “roots” in the country. As a result, they can help on farms which they know, and thus prove beneficial to their country. Crops are good this year, and the harvest will be a much better one than last year’s. Work is carried on much more easily, owing to the good condition of the crops, and modern machinery can be used to great advantage.

1939 October 18 Orkney Herald


The British Navy sustained its second heavy blow of the war when, on Saturday, it was reported by the Admiralty that the battleship Royal Oak had been sunk by what was believed to be enemy submarine action. Lists of names of survivors issued total 414, so that almost 800 men have been lost. The battleship had a complement of 1200 officers and men…..

[Strict censorship and rules regarding the release of sensitive information meant that the press were not able to release the fact that the Royal Oak was in Scapa Flow at the time. It was officially revealed for the first time a few days later by Winston Churchill in the House of Commons. The battleship was torpedoed by the German submarine U-47. The raid made an immediate celebrity and war hero out of the U-boat commander, Günther Prien, who became the first German submarine officer to be awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross. Before the sinking of Royal Oak, the Royal Navy had considered the naval base at Scapa Flow impregnable to submarine attack, but U-47’s raid demonstrated that the German navy was capable of bringing the war to British home waters. The shock resulted in rapid changes to dockland security and the construction of the Churchill Barriers around Scapa Flow. Of Royal Oak’s complement of 1,234 men and boys, 835 were killed that night or died later of their wounds.]


Kirkwall had its first air-raid warnings of the war on Saturday, when no fewer than three were given. Though several warnings had already been received in the district, these were the first that have actually been given in the town.

The sirens sounded first at 7.30 in the morning, but the alarm was a short one, the all-clear being given some five minutes later. The second alarm occurred at 10.15 a.m., and was of longer duration. It was nearly half an hour before the all-clear was sounded. The final warning was given at 6 p.m., and lasted some 15 minutes.

No enemy aircraft was seen over the town at any time, however, and no gun-fire was heard.

Kirkwall took the alarms calmly. The early-morning signal caused the biggest thrill though few people were about at the time. The siren’s “fluctuating” wail sounded clearly through the town and outskirts, and gave many inhabitants a rude awakening. People who were in the streets at the time made their way indoors or proceeded to an air-raid shelter. This warning, as has been said, was a short one, the all-clear – a continuous note of the sirens – being heard in a few minutes.

One result of the first alarm was that most workers took their gas-masks with them when they left their homes. Some employers sent home members of their staffs for their respirators in cases where they had not brought them along.

Large numbers of folk were about the streets when the forenoon and evening warnings were given. Again everybody showed admirable self-control, and got under cover in orderly fashion. Policemen, air-raid wardens, and special constables were on duty, advising, instructing, and directing. Children were taken into houses and escorted to air-raid shelters. Outside workers took cover until the all-clear was sounded. Inside workers went on working.

At no time was there any running about. Kirkwall may he said to have behaved admirably in its first “test.” The 6 o’clock warning was, in fact, received not only calmly, but even casually. Many people did not even condescend to let it interrupt their tea.

It was noticed in some cases, particularly during the first warning, that a number of people did not appreciate the difference between the warning signal and the all-clear. The warning is a fluctuating – or rising and falling – note, whereas the all-clear is a continuous note on the same pitch. In any case, the second signal given may always be assumed to be the all-clear.


This forenoon (Tuesday) has been an exciting one for Kirkwall, with three air raid warnings in quick succession. The first warning was given at 10.20, and was the longest yet received in the town. It was an hour and a quarter before the all-clear was sounded.

During this alarm gunfire was heard, and Kirkwall people state that they saw enemy aircraft in the vicinity. At the time of going to press, however, no official announcement has been issued.

During the alarm streets were cleared in orderly fashion. A number of shops closed until the all-clear. At Kirkwall Grammar School, local children were sent home. Country pupils were accommodated in the school’s air-raid shelter. The all-clear sounded between 25 and 20 minutes to 12.

At 12 noon another warning was given, but it was short, the all-clear signal being given in ten minutes. At 12.45 there was another warning, which is still in progress at the time of writing. Gunfire was again heard.

EVIE – NO PITCH-BLACK NIGHTS. – Since the black-out came into force, the countryside has been very fortunate in that nights have been unusually bright. “Macfarlane’s lantern” – the moon – has been marvellously radiant, seldom obscuring itself under cloud, but straining, purposely, as it were, to cast its lustre on the earth and compensate for the darkened conditions. In the absence of the moon, there have been beautiful nights of stars, major planets swelling the mighty heavenly host when sea and land were lightened. And, not least, brilliant displays of aurora have illumed the landscape, and shown up the pathways. Getting about has therefore presented no difficulty so far.

1939 November 1 Orkney Herald

BEWARE ON THE SEASHORE. – The Admiralty announce that in present circumstances it is most dangerous to touch any apparatus found washed ashore on account of the possibility that it may be an enemy mine or torpedo or other containers liable to explode. The finder should report the matter to the nearest police station so that steps can be taken to assure its safe removal.

1939 November 22 Orkney Herald



Three German planes, it is reported, were seen over the Orkneys this (Tuesday) forenoon. Air-raid sirens were sounded in Kirkwall at 10 o’clock. Children were dismissed from school and the air-raid wardens and special constables went on duty.

A large number of people saw a black German plane flying in a northerly direction between Kirkwall and Wideford Hill. It was travelling very fast, observers stated, and its height was not more than 3000 feet.

Another two planes were reported to be seen at Stronsay and other parts of the North Isles. No gunfire was heard from Kirkwall, and there is no official statement so far as to whether British planes pursued the raiders. No bombs were dropped. The air raid warning lasted three-quarters of an hour, and the all-clear sirens sounded in Kirkwall at 10.45.

EVIE – SEASON AND WORK. – The clocks have been again put back, and the reverting to Greenwich mean has curtailed the afternoons considerably, making a much longer night. Days will now shorten rapidly as they approach their limit, and we are going to be in for a dark, cheerless time. The outside now is not inviting. Chill November blows o’er the land, and the fields are wet and lifeless. Farm work is mostly centred round the steading these days, the staff being kept busy feeding all the livestock, threshing, cleaning up, and doing many odd jobs. Work on the land can stand still for a time, as ploughing is far advanced. Never has one seen so many autumn-ploughed fields, the result of continued fine weather after the finish of an exceptionally early harvest.

1939 December 13 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY WAR CHARITIES – ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE TO APPEALS. – Particulars of donations to Orkney War Charities are given below, and the Conveners of the Women’s Voluntary Services and Orkney War Charities Association wish to express their warmest thanks to all members of the S.W.R.I. branches and church guilds who willingly assisted in making the door-to-door collections for war charities purposes and to make comforts for the Forces. A few returns have not yet come to hand. These will be included in next month’s report.

This is a statement of the work accomplished by the various work parties in Orkney since the movement started. As readers will realise, this report covers only the commencement of the work.

Large quantities of material and wool have recently been distributed. Much work has been held up owing to the difficulty of procuring wool for knitting. Our members are so eager to knit and sew that many more garments will be made now that supplies are forthcoming. The enthusiasm for making comforts will be unabated during the winter months.

Thanks are also due to all who have made gifts in kind, as these are greatly appreciated…..

[A list of financial donations followed – Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre’s contribution amounting to £19 12s 0d.]

THE LIFEBOAT’S WORK AT WAR. – The principle article in the current issue of “The Lifeboat,” the journal of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, is on the lifeboat service and the war. It recalls the great record of the service in the last war, when over 5,300 lives were rescued from shipwreck round our shores, and over 180 boats and vessels saved from destruction. The first two months of the present war show that the lifeboats will again play a very important past in national defence. From the 3rd September to the end of October, lifeboats were launched 156 times, and rescued 213 lives. That is 26 lives a week, over twice as many as the average of eleven lives a week rescued since the lifeboat service was established 115 years ago. The lifeboat service is carrying on in face of new dangers at sea, and in spite of many difficulties, for both the Navy and the Army have taken important members of its staff.

1939 December 20 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – EARL HAIG FUND. – Miss [Kathleen] Gibson, Frotoft School, has received a letter from the committee of the Scottish Branch of the Earl Haig Fund. They acknowledge with thanks the sum of £4 14s 8d, collected in Rousay by the school children who sold poppies. In Sourin District £1 15s 6d was collected, 19s in Wasbister District and £2 0s 2d in Frotoft and Brinian districts.

PRESENTATION TO NURSE SHAW. – A pleasing little ceremony took place at Bellona, on Saturday afternoon, when a deputation, consisting of five members of the Nursing Association Committee, called on Nurse Shaw to make her a presentation. Those present were Rev. R. R. Davidson, West Manse (president), Mrs Corsie, Glebe, Mrs Moar, Saviskaill, Miss Inkster, Cogar, and Miss K. Gibson, Hullion (secretary). In making the presentation, Miss Gibson said that they were all sorry to lose Nurse Shaw. She had done her work faithfully and well during the time she had been in Rousay. When it was learned that Nurse was leaving the island, Association members expressed a desire to show their gratitude for services rendered. With some of the money subscribed, a nurse’s gold watch was purchased, and the secretary now asked Nurse Shaw to accept it along with a wallet of Treasury notes. The other members of the deputation associated themselves with Miss Gibson’s remarks, and wished Nurse Shaw the best of luck and happiness in her new post. In replying, Nurse Shaw thanked the Association warmly for their generous gifts. She said she had always longed for just such a watch. Now she would be reminded of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre daily, as she went about her work. The watch was supplied by Mr J. Kemp, jeweller, Kirkwall, and bears the following inscription: – “Presented to Nurse M. Shaw by R.E. & W.N.A., 18th Dec. 1939.”

1939 December 27 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY’S MERRY CHRISTMAS DESPITE OF BLACK-OUT. – Orkney spent a merry Christmas in spite of Hitler and the black-out. All over the county Yuletide functions were held as usual, and for this week-end at least the war took second place in everybody’s thoughts. Christmas presents, Christmas cards, Christmas parties, Christmas puddings, Christmas carols and Santa Claus – these were the things that mattered, and fortunately they were enjoyed in freedom from air-raid sirens.

If Orcadians had a good Christmas, the season was no less enjoyable for the county’s additional population of Servicemen and Servicewomen. Everything was done by their own organisations and by the Orkney people to make their Christmas a happy one, and from appearances it was evident that members of H.M. Forces within the bounds of the county had, on the whole, a week-end scarcely less cheery than that of their pals who were lucky enough to be on leave. Many Orkney Servicemen were able to get home for the festive season.

There were a large number of Christmas Day functions in Kirkwall, most of which were principally for the benefit of the Services, though civilians were able to participate to a certain extent.

All churches held special Christmas services, which were very well attended. Kirkwall Salvation Army Corps members braved the black-out to embark on carol-singing expeditions, which were greatly appreciated.

Kirkwall’s Christmas Day was notable for the absence of the street ba’ games, banned by the Town Council on account of war-time conditions. As a consequence the streets had a strangely deserted appearance, the comment, which practically everybody made – “What a miss the ba’ is.” The many strangers in town regretted missing this Kirkwall “novelty.”

The Brinian

The Johnstons of Trumland Farm


Margaret Green

The Johnstons had farmed Crook, Rendall, for three generations – but soon after the First World War the farm was sold from under them. They had to find another tenancy and moved to Trumland – James Halcro Johnston, his wife Maggie, his two unmarried sisters Maggie and Clara (who lived at the Old Mill) and three teenage children, Bobby, James William, and Violet.

James Halcro Johnston and his wife Maggie
James William Johnston with his aunts, Clara (left) and Maggie

James took great pride in exhibiting livestock at the annual Rousay Agricultural Society Show. In 1926 he won a number of prizes in all classes of cattle, but it was his Clydesdale mare which won him the highest accolade – the Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland’s medal for Best Mare in Yard. Below is a cuting from the Orkney Herald describing the event, and a photo of the actual medal – courtesy of Signy Spence, James’ great-great granddaughter.

Margaret Green, daughter of James William and his wife Johan, has been kind enough to submit the following for inclusion on Rousay Remembered:-

This is James William’s story. Passages in italics are verbatim from his 90th birthday speech:-

My father had a strong musical bent.  He played the fiddle at the local dances. He led the praise in church where there was no organ.  He could strike the key of his tuning fork and read the tonic sol-fa at a glance.  He participated in the concerts in aid of the Red Cross during the war, and my Uncle Jamie once told me he could be heard whistling all day long in the fields.  He was a man of very deep feeling, and always in tears when I was leaving home in later life.

Hay time at Trumland, 1939.  James on the left, sons Bobby centre and James William closest to the camera, and young Margaret standing.
Landing sheep at Hullion pier

My mother put in a great deal of work. She milked twice a day and made butter and cheese and very often was out helping in the fields.

The children had been at Rendall School.

I got on reasonably well at school.  It was a 2 teacher school, with a kind lady for the infants.  The headmaster was an alcoholic who for this reason was probably forced to look for a small school in Orkney.  He was from Dundee and for a time had sailed abroad.  But 2 days every month he was quite drunk and very rarely in school.  But he was a clever little man and made up for it when sober. 

(I think the Rendall teacher must have been an interesting man; he was liable to illustrate a geography lesson with such words as “I remember, as we steamed into Valparaiso…..”.)

I had a turn of good luck in my last year in Rendall primary school.  At that time there was an exam for primary schools in Orkney and Shetland.  I sat this exam and was lucky enough to be 2nd in the county.  When the minister who had supervised in the exam came to Crook with the prize he told my father that it was on condition that the winner went on for higher education.  The nearest school was Kirkwall Grammar School 16 miles away.  So I had to stay in digs.

There was of course no hostel at KGS in those days and the digs were pretty grim. For 5 shillings a week they got bed and light (a candle), no heat of course, and “something from the pot” – a share of the family meal. Breakfast was tea and bread, lunch was two caraway biscuits. The boys were often hungry. James William would cycle home to Rendall at the weekends and his mother would feed him up and send some food back with him.

All went well for two years but in the first term of his 3rd year there came the upheaval of the move to Rousay. There was no way he could commute to Kirkwall, he left school and started to work alongside his brother and sister on the farm.  But the next summer the family had a visitor from Canada, a relative of James’s mother, Ann Wood, who was from Wyre.  He was a man of some education who had made good in Canada (Do we know who this is? William Wood possibly? MG) He took an interest in the boy, particularly when Aunt Maggie showed him some of JWJ’s essays, and when he got back home he wrote to James saying “This boy should be in school”. So back he went.

When I arrived at school after this long absence the headmaster Dr Marwick was stunned.  He told me to go to my old class meantime until he made up his mind what to do with me.  But he forgot and I struggled along in class all 4th year.  Then in the 5th year the Highers were due and I was allowed to sit them.  I got Higher English and History, Higher Maths, Higher Chemistry and Physics and Lower Latin.  So I got my Highers in 4 years.  When Dr Marwick  came in with the results he didn’t say well done, he said “Johnston, you lucky dog.

(Dr Marwick incidentally introduced a lifelong love of poetry; in old age JWJ always enjoyed a good quoting match).

There was no question of going home every weekend. Sometimes he would go home with school friends, sometimes to relations on the Mainland. But he used to tell a story of going home to Rousay, cycling, presumably to Evie, lighting a fire of dry seaweed on the shore and watching the boatman across the water, who had to stop ploughing and unharness the horses before coming down the field and setting out to fetch him. A slow business.

In the holidays there was plenty to do in Rousay.  Working on the farm was expected, but he also had a go at painting in water colours, tutored by John Logie.

One of James William’s superb paintings, showing the steamer arriving at Trumland pier

In the evenings the young folk would sometimes commandeer a fiddler and start an impromptu dance.  Summer visitors joined in, including sisters Jessie and Nan from Aberdeen who came up every year, their mother was a Sabiston of Wyre ancestry and sister of Bab Harrold.   And eventually, after keeping up with the family in Aberdeen, James William married Nan in the island’s only double wedding on July 26th 1933.

Samuel James Inkster was the son of John Inkster and Jane Irvine, Woo. Violet Johnston was the daughter of James Halcro Johnston, Crook, Rendall, and Margaret Ritch, Binaquoy, Firth, later Trumland Farm. They were involved in Rousay’s only double wedding, for on the same day, July 26th 1933, Violet’s brother James William Johnston married Johan [Nan] Johnston Leslie at Trumland church. Johan’s parents were monumental mason George Gerrard Leslie and Johann Johnston Sabiston, Aberdeen, who was a sister of George Harrold’s wife Barbara Sabiston, and having been a regular visitor to Rousay on holiday since childhood. At the time of the double wedding 27-year-old Sammy was farming the land at Wasdale and 23-year-old Violet was employed as a housemaid. James William was a 26-year-old research worker, living at Strathcona House, Aberdeen, and Johan, also 26 years of age, a ‘clerkess,’ living at Bedford Place in the same city. The ceremonies were conducted by the Reverend Robert R. Davidson, and the witnesses were Sammy’s brother Tommy Inkster, and Isabella Craigie of the Sourin school house, and Robert Ritch Johnston and Robina Ann Johnston, Testaquoy, Wyre.

Front row, from left: 1 George Leslie, Aberdeen, father of Nan. 2 James Johnston, Trumland Farm. 3 Margaret Johnston, Trumland Farm. 4 Mrs Johann Leslie, Aberdeen. 5 Bridesmaid, Isabel Grieve, Fa’doon. 6 Groom, Sammy Inkster, Wasdale. 7 Bride, Violet Johnston, Trumland Farm. 8 Flower girl, Marian Ritch, Aberdeen, a cousin of Violet. 9 Rev. Robert R Davidson. 10 Bride, Johan [Nan] Leslie, Aberdeen. 11 Groom, James William Johnston, Trumland Farm. 12 Flower girl, Joyce Ford, Aberdeen, daughter of Nan’s sister. 13 Bridesmaid, Ina Johnston, Testaquoy, Wyre. 14 John Inkster, Woo. 15 Jean Inkster, Woo. 16 Seated on grass, front left: Best man, Tommy Inkster, Woo . 17 Seated on grass, front right: Best man, Bobby Johnston, Trumland.

Second row: 1 Maggie Johnston. 2 Mr Fraser,  Feavel,  Birsay.  3  Mrs  Fraser,  Feavel. 4 Jessie Donaldson, Vacquoy. 5 George Harrold, Russness, Wyre. 6 Barbara Harrold, Russness, Wyre. 7 Jeck Yorston, Drydale, Stromness. 8 Bella Yorston, Drydale. 9 Violet Ritch, Kierfold, Sandwick. 10 Eliza Ritch, Myrtledene, Sandwick. 11 ?. 12 Maggie Jean Ritch, wife of Jamie Ritch and mother of Violet’s flower girl.  .

Third row: 1 Clara Johnston [half hidden]. 2 ?. 3 Edda Mainland, Cott. 4 ?. 5 Bella Johnston, Trumland. 6 ?. 7 Lily Fraser, Feaval, Birsay. 8 Louisa  Ritch,  Braehead,  Holm. 9 Anna Mathieson, Sourin Manse . 10 Jessie  Ford,  Aberdeen,  sister  of  Nan and mother of Nan’s flower girl. 11  Tina  Craigie  nee  Mathieson,  Wasbister  School. 12 Peggy Marwick, Ronaldsay. 13 Elsie Shearer, Curquoy, later Housegarth, Sandwick. 14 Jeannie Harcus, Knapper.

Fourth/back row: 1 ?. 2 Jim Craigie, Deithe. 3 ?. 4 Ronnie Shearer, Curquoy. 5 Thelma Shearer, Curquoy. 6 Bill Flaws, Hammerfield. 7 John Cormack, Witchwood. 8 David Craigie, Trumland. 9 Jamie Ritch, the youngest of the Ritch brothers, father of  flower girl. 10 Willie Inkster, Woo. 11 Sandy Donaldson, Vacquoy. 12 Angus Harcus, Knapper. 13

George and Bab Harrold with niece Nan
Violet and Sammy Inkster with daughter Maureen at Trumland

James William went on to Aberdeen University in 1926 to do a BSc (Agri) and on graduation got a job at the Rowett Nutrition Research Institute, then just outside Aberdeen, where he ended up in charge of the poultry department of the attached farm.

Unfortunately the war came in 1939 and it was decided that experimental work would have to be wound up.  So I found myself without a job and with a wife and children in a tied house.  Many people found themselves in a similar situation.  In a desperate moment I offered on a small farm, Greenlands, in Fintray, and was allowed entry in May 1941.  So with a month’s salary in my pocket I bought 20 tons of ware potatoes, cut them up and planted 14 acres.  Luckily there was a small subsidy put on to grow a potato crop that year. 

After struggling through the war he developed a good business selling day old chicks all over the north east (and by plane to Orkney) and when that failed due to the entry of the big firms from the south he moved on to beef cattle and in particular to the Aberdeen Angus Society.

James William’s obituary, printed in The Herald, Scotland’s edition of September 21st 2001, gives further details of his life and times:-

James William Johnston, Honorary president
of Aberdeen-Angus breeders.

Retired farmer and poultry expert James Johnston, 94, farmed at Newton of Fintray, near Aberdeen, for more than 50 years.

Orkney-born Mr Johnston – known to his relatives in the Orkney tradition as James-William and to his friends as Jimmy – hit the headlines in 1951 when his cross-bred heifer, Kilmeny, won the butchers’ cattle championship at the Scottish National Fatstock Show in Edinburgh and went on to win the reserve supreme championship at the Royal Smithfield Show at Earls Court, London.

Second Cross Heifer “Kilmeny”, winner of the Meiklejohn Challenge Trophy for the best Butchers’ Beast at Scottish National Fat Stock Show. First Prize, Breed Champion, Female Champion, and Reserve Supreme Champion at Smithfield Fat Stock Show 1951. Bred by Gordon Cameron, Hillhead Mornish, Ballindalloch. Exhibited by James W. Johnston, Newton of Fintray, by Dyce, Aberdeenshire.
Weight 13 cwts. 2 qrs. 4 lbs. at 2 years 7 months 26 days. – Photo courtesy of Signy Spence

He was born in 1907 in a small, two-roomed cottage on the farm of Crook, Rendall, Orkney, where his family had been tenants since 1840, and moved to Trumland on the island of Rousay in 1922 when his father took on the Home Farm.

After being awarded equal first prize in the Orkney and Shetland Scholarship, he went to school in Kirkwall and then to Aberdeen University where he graduated BSc in agriculture.

Following his graduation, he joined the Rowett Research Institute at Bucksburn as a research worker and carried out an important research project on fowl paralysis which was a major scourge of the poultry industry at that time.

He set up an isolation unit at the Rowett and established that fowl paralysis was a transmissible disease which could be prevented through hygiene and isolation. His findings were published in a paper in the British Veterinary Record.

With wartime cutbacks in research causing considerable uncertainty, he took the lease of Greenlands Farm at Fintray – moving from a comfortable modern house at the Rowett to a house with neither running water nor electricity.

He established an incubator in a shed behind the Banks of Ury Hotel, Inverurie, and built up a business supplying day-old chicks to farmers throughout the north-east – a business which continued for many years.

He bought the adjoining farm of Newton in 1945 and, after being captivated by the view on the south side of Newton Wood, built a house there in 1948 which was his home until he was taken into hospital a few weeks ago.

Apart from his poultry business, his main interest was the bringing on and showing of fatstock, and he also built up a herd of pure-bred Aberdeen-Angus cattle.

At the time of his death, he was honorary president of the North East Aberdeen-Angus Breeders’ Club, in whose activities he had taken a keen and active interest since the club’s foundation in 1972.

He was a regular at the mart at Thainstone, Inverurie, and, along with the late Jim Maitland and the late Willie Lawson, comprised a trio who met for lunch at the mart every Friday and were affectionately known as ”The Last of the Summer Wine”.

ANM Group marketing manager and A-A club secretary Eddie Gillanders, said Mr Johnston would be sadly missed by all his friends at the mart and in the Aberdeen-Angus world.

”Jimmy was a much-loved figure who was always keen to encourage the younger generation and give them the benefit of his long experience,” said Mr Gillanders.

Despite colour blindness, he was naturally artistic and in his younger days painted watercolours which still hang in the homes of friends and family.

Two more examples of James William’s expertise with the brush – his sister Violet baking in Trumland farm kitchen, and the rugged cliffs of Scabra Head and the Hole o’ the Horse

A fondness for poetry stayed with him from school days although – as an Orcadian rather than a Scot – Keats, Shelley, or Wordsworth were more to his taste than Robert Burns.

Mr Johnston was predeceased some years ago by his wife, Nan, whom he married in Rousay in 1933. He is survived by his sons, Robin, who recently retired from Ross Poultry, Hal, an actor currently appearing in the stage musical Fame in London’s West End, and daughter, Margaret, who lives in Coventry. He had seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Much later, mid 1950s.  Tammo Sinclair crossing Jo Grimond, and letting my younger brother Hal have a go at the tiller.

Margaret tells us about James William’s older brother Bobby:-

Bobby was born in 1905. He was said to be very clever but not interested in education; he couldn’t wait to be out working on the farm. He was a stockman at heart, first with the Clydesdales, then with cattle and in his later years he bred Shetland ponies. He was a big man, loud and joking and a born raconteur – he could make a story out of anything. He married Bella Cursiter in 1934; unfortunately they had no children. Bella died in 1959 and he later married Sadie the widow of Billo Gibson. He died in 1971 at the age of 66.

Bobby showing off medals and cups…..
…..his sense of humour…..
…..and a young Clydesdale
Bringing in the kye for milking
Showing his Shetland ponies to visitors above Trumland House

In Print

Newsprint – 1938

1938 January 1 Aberdeen Press & Journal

DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION IN ORKNEY. – Dr Hugh Marwick, Orkney’s director of education, who has been honoured with the O.B.E., is an outstanding Scottish educationist. A native of Rousay, he graduated M.A. in 1909 and D.Litt. in 1926 at Edinburgh University. He was headmaster of Kirkwall Secondary School from 1914 until 1929, when he received his present appointment. A devoted student of archaeology, he is the author of a number of important antiquarian articles.

1938 January 26 Orkney Herald


Gusts of 100 miles per hour, the highest ever recorded in Orkney, were registered at Kirkwall Meteorological Station during the gale which swept the county on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

From every district come reports of widespread damage, of innumerable stacks and henhouses overturned, of roofs stripped and of telegraph wires down, but one of the most amazing features of the gale is the small amount of really serious damage left in its track – so far as Orkney is concerned, at any rate.

The wind velocity at midnight was 43 m.p.h. This rose rapidly till at 2 a.m. a gust of 75 m.p.h. was recorded. A gust of 97 m.p.h. was recorded 15 minutes later, and the peak strength was reached at 2.45 a.m. with 100 m.p.h. From that point the wind gradually fell away till it died down altogether on Sunday afternoon…..

Few farms remained scathless There was scarcely one which did not suffer overturned stacks or henhouses. On one farm as many as fourteen stacks had to be rebuilt and from Shapinsay comes the story of a henhouse blown out to sea.

In Kirkwall a number of empty barrels were blown off the pier and drifted ashore at the Mount. One small boat broke adrift in the basin, but was not seriously damaged. The roof of a large shelter at Kirkwall Gas Works was removed bodily and hurled, intact, for some distance.

Some anxiety was felt for a 12-year-old boy, who had not returned to his home at Orquil at a late hour. Searchers found him clinging to a fence, almost buffeted and breathless, unable to make headway against the wind.

A motorist, stranded on the Stromness road at 2 a.m. on Sunday owing to engine trouble, found the hurricane a distinct advantage, for his disabled car was bowled along before the wind, as far as Finstown, at 20 m.p.h. It’s an ill wind…..

[Nothing from Rousay, or indeed Evie – but there was a wee snippet or two from….]

WYRE. – A storm of short duration but unusual severity was felt on early Sunday morning, states a message from Wyre. Stackyards suffered most, several stacks being blown over. Wooden henhouses were also smashed to pieces. Some houses had slates stripped. The gale was south-westerly at first, later becoming westerly.

WYRE. – Farm Work is far advanced for this time of year. Most of the lea land is ploughed, and about half of the stubble land.

1938 February 2 Orkney Herald

NATURE’S FIREWORKS. – The finest display of “Merry Dancers” (Aurora Borealis) seen in Orkney for many years took place on last Tuesday evening. An unusual feature was the amount of glowing red colour showing principally in the west and north west. Through the rosy glow shafts of pale green light weaved and danced.

FIRTH – WEATHER. – The weather for the past week has continued very changeable, at times very wild. Strong winds have been experienced, accompanied by terrific showers of sleet and hail. On several occasions thunder has been heard, and flashes of lightning after dark have been seen on many evenings. The brilliant display of “Merry Dancers” was seen to advantage last Tuesday night, and much admired by many here. Not for long have we seen such a beautiful picture. More than one resident in our village witnessed for the first time in their lives the mysterious Aurora Borealis, and were enthralled with the beauty of the phenomenon.

SOUTH-RONALDSAY – NORTHERN LIGHTS. – An exceptionally fine display of the Aurora Borealis was witnessed  here on Tuesday evening for over two hours. About half past six, a great bank of red appeared in the west with white beams shooting up to the zenith. In the east the sky was very bright, with banks of green here and there, and soon all the sky from the west and east to the south was a mass of changing red, green and the usual white light of the aurora. At times the light was as good as that of a full moon. This was the finest display of the Northern Lights seen here for over thirty years.

1938 February 9 Orkney Herald


STOCK. – 2 Half-grown Garron Mares (both 4 years old and supposed in foal), Half-Garron Horse (3 years old), Horses all about 15 hands high; 2 Cows in milk, Two-year-old Stot in forward condition, 2 one-year-olds, 2 Calves, 4 Ewes in Lamb, 2 Tups, Sow, 9 Young Pigs, 2 Feeding Pigs.

IMPLEMENTS. – 2 Box Carts, Fanners, set Iron Harrows, S.T. Harrows, “Albion” Reaper, Scuffler, Plough, 2 Henhouses, Boat (9 feet keel), Blacksmith’s Vice, Taps and Dies, Potatoes.

FURNITURE, &c. – “Singer” Sewing Machine, “Tilly” Lamp, Tables, Chairs, Bookcase, Box Bed, Washstand, “New Lister” Cream Separator, E.O. Churn, Pails, Books, and a variety of other articles.

Sale to commence at 10 o’clock. – Five months’ credit on approved bills for sums of £5 and upwards, or discount thereon for cash. – s.s. Earl Sigurd leaves Kirkwall Pier at 7 a.m. on morning of Sale, returning immediately after sale.



Square-stern Boat 10½ feet keel; A.J.S. Motor Cycle, O.H.V. and Sidecar; 6 h.p. Engine; Band Saw (wood frame); “Triumph” Motor Cycle without Engine; some Morgan Car Wheels. – T. SMITH PEACE, Auctioneer.

1938 February 23 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SERVCE OF PRAISE. – On Sunday, 13th February, in the Ritchie Church, the third of a series of services of praise was held. Rev R. R. Davidson, M.A., officiated, and Mrs Paterson presided at the organ. To the choir, trained and conducted by Miss Florence M. Pexton, is due much credit for the manner in which the members persevered by attending practices under very adverse weather conditions, but they were amply rewarded by the creditable manner in which they rendered their pieces. The following list of praise was enjoyed by an appreciative congregation: – Psalm 145, tune “Wareham,” congregation; Psalm 24, tune “St George’s, Edinburgh,” choir; hymn, “Still the Night,” choir; Psalm 100, tune “Zion’s Temple,” choir; solo, “Nearer my God to Thee,” Miss Pexton; hymn, “Thou Hidden Love,” choir; Psalm 133, tune “Eastgate,” choir; hymn, “Jesus, lover of my soul,” congregation; male trio, “My Times are in Thy Hands,” Messrs R. Inkster, W. Grieve and J. Craigie; hymn, “Be still my soul,” choir; Psalm 23, tune “Orlington,” choir; ladies’ quartette, Paraphrase 43, tune “Stracathro,” Mrs Gibson, Mrs Grieve, Miss Sutherland and Miss K. Craigie; Paraphrase 65, tune “Desert,” choir; hymn, “Abide with me,” choir. An inspiring address appropriate to the occasion was delivered by the Rev R. R. Davidson, based upon the text from Mark xiv. 26, “And when they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives.” At the close Mr Davidson thanked Miss Pexton for having generously given her services in forming a choir. He also expressed the wish that the choir would continue to give assistance at the praise in the House of God. Thanks were also expressed to Mrs Paterson for the efficient manner in which she presided at the organ, and also to Mr R. Inkster, to whom is due the credit of having first conceived the idea of the service of praise and whose enthusiastic support helped to make the service a success.

1938 March 2 Orkney Herald


Any Person found trespassing with dog or gun, or damaging dykes in pursuit of rabbits, on the lands of Hobbister, Orphir, or Lesliedale, Highland Park, Mayfield, Hillhead or Crantit, St Ola, or Trumland Rousay, will be prosecuted.

THOS. PEACE LOW Solicitor, Kirkwall. Factor

1938 March 23 Orkney Herald

RENDALL – GENERAL NOTES. – On all sides, sights and sounds of spring are now apparent. The farmer’s busy season has begun, as ploughing, carting out farm manure, clearing fields of turnips and potatoes, must all be done. Both turnips and fodder seem to be plentiful this season. Grass fields are now showing a healthy green tinge. In gardens, the show of crocuses is over, and daffodils and primroses are in bloom, while the green foliage of many more early flowers is making a brave show. Chickens are numerous, and wild birds are preparing to set up house, as on calm evenings, lapwings, plovers, snipe, and many more add their quota to the volume of bird song.

DEATH OF EMINENT SCOTS ARCHAEOLOGIST. – A well-known Scottish archaeologist, Mr John Graham Callander, LL.D., F.S.A. (Scot.), Director of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Queen Street, Edinburgh, died on Friday at his residence, 11 Osborne Terrace, Edinburgh. He had been in poor heath for some time, but continued to discharge his official duties until a few weeks ago. Born at Falkirk in 1873, Mr Callander spent the greater part of his boyhood on his father’s farm in Aberdeenshire, where he early developed great interest in the numerous archaeological objects to be found over the fields in many parts of the county. Mr Callander had an extraordinary wide knowledge of the archaeology of Scotland, and knew many parts of the country intimately. As a member of the Royal Commission on Ancient monuments in Scotland he travelled over the whole of the Western Isles and also over Midlothian and East Lothian. His papers to the “Proceedings” of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland were of great value, and he will be remembered for contributions on the Bronze Age in Scotland and Neolithic pottery in Scotland. During recent years he visited Orkney in the summer season and conducted important excavation work in conjunction with Mr Walter G. Grant of Trumland, Rousay. Reports on these excavations have been published with great promptitude in the “Proceedings” of the Society of Antiquaries.

 1938 March 30 Orkney Herald



Stromness lifeboat was launched shortly after 7 p.m. on Wednesday, in response to a call from the Coastguard Station, Kirkwall, which reported a vessel ashore at Wyre. The vessel was stated to be badly damaged, and the fear was expressed that she might get into difficulties when the flood tide set in. Mr George L. Thomson immediately ordered the lifeboat to be launched, and she was away promptly.

Visibility was bad at the time, and it was arranged that lights would be shown on the Points of Burgar and Aikerness to assist the lifeboat in proceeding through Eynhallow Sound. The assistance of two Evie men, Mr John Yorston and Mr William Hourston, who are resident in Stromness, was secured, and they, along with three members of the lifeboat committee, and the shore signalmen, proceeded to Evie in two cars. The prearranged lights were exhibited, and although visibility was very poor at times, which occasioned some delay, the lifeboat successfully located the wreck.

The vessel proved to be the Peterhead drifter Confide, at present engaged in line fishing in Orkney waters. She was ashore on Wyre Skerries, but the sea was smooth, and she was in no danger.

After the lifeboat left Stromness, Mr Thomson received a message from Kirkwall Coastguard Station to the effect that the information regarding the stranded vessel having sustained damage was incorrect. This information could not be passed on to the lifeboat as her wireless receiving set had broken down. The transmitting set was in working order, and at 11 p.m. a message was received to say that she had been alongside the stranded vessel, but that no assistance was required.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Cursiter, motor mechanic, located the trouble in the receiver, which proved to be a faulty valve. This was replaced, and messages were exchanged between the lifeboat and the shore station at Stromness.

At 1.15 a.m., visibility was still very bad, and it was decided that the lifeboat should wait for improved weather conditions before making the return passage. She therefore stood by the stranded vessel until she refloated about 4 a.m., and accompanied her through Eynhallow Sound. The drifter then proceeded to the fishing grounds and the lifeboat to Stromness, where she was housed about 7 a.m.

The shore party wish to take this opportunity of thanking the good folks of Burgar and Aikerness for their assistance and hospitality.

1938 April 20 Orkney Herald

TELEGRAPH COMMUNICATION PARALYSED BY MAGNETIC STORM. – Telephone and telegraph communication between Orkney and the South and between Orkney and Shetland was severely affected by magnetic disturbance on Saturday. Till early afternoon lines throughout the North of Scotland were practically unworkable. Strong earth currents made trunk telephone calls from Kirkwall impossible, and telegraphists at Kirkwall Post Office were able to get through only to a few places intermittently, and then with a struggle. In Kirkwall Telephone Exchange earth currents caused the bells to ring for short periods, as though subscribers were calling up. The magnetic storm which thus affected Orkney circuits was one of the most severe and widespread ever experienced. Its effects were felt all over Great Britain and America, being accompanied across the Atlantic by the most brilliant display of aurora of the century. There is a definite connection between the appearance of sunspots, aurora borealis and magnetic disturbance.

1938 May 4 Orkney Herald

THREE MOCK SUNS, one above and one on either side of the sun, the three being linked by a halo, were plainly visible, with varying degrees of brilliance, throughout most of Orkney on Sunday afternoon and evening. A fourth sun dog, below the sun, was barely visible in the early afternoon, and later sank below the horizon. This phenomenon is believed to be caused by light refraction due to the presence of ice particles in the upper atmosphere. Sunset on Sunday was followed by a prolonged and beautiful afterglow.

EVIE – WEEKEND IN EYNHALLOW. – Mr D. J. Robertson with a family party spent the weekend in Eynhallow, this being Mr Robertson’s first visit to his bird sanctuary this season. Bright sunny conditions favoured his short stay in the island.

1938 May 25 Orkney Herald

EMPIRE DAY. – Friday was observed in Kirkwall as Empire Day. All places of business were closed, and as the weather was bright and bracing, large numbers of people availed themselves of the many facilities for spending a day in the country. Excursions were run by motor buses to the East and West Mainland parishes, and these were largely taken advantage of. Steamer trips were run to all the North Isles except Rousay, and the newly acquired steamer Ailsa sailed from Scapa to South Ronaldshay and Burray. Under the auspices of the Kirkwall and District Small Bore Rifle Club an excursion was run to Flotta, Lyness, and Longhope by the s.s. Hoy Head, and the vessel had a full complement of passengers. When approaching Lyness Pier, the steamer circled round the ex-German battleship Grosser Kurfurst, recently salved by Messrs Metal Industries Ltd., and the excursionists thus obtained an excellent view of this immense vessel lying bottom up, but afloat, about 100 yards from the pier, and many snaps were procured. The Grosser Kurfurst, by the way, may be the last of the German ships to be salved.  

EVIE – SURPRISE TO FISHERS. – Last Friday afternoon some lobster-fishers motoring up Eynhallow Sound en route for the fishing grounds were surprised to see a small basking shark between them and the Evie shore. It would have been about fifteen feet long. This is the first time they have observed this voracious specimen in these near waters.

[We are now into the month of June, and since January Rousay’s ‘correspondent’ has been all but silent. So, I continue to rely on that eloquent wordsmith from Evie to tell us what is going on in his neighbouring parish. He’s always good for a read…..!]

1938 June 8 Orkney Herald

EVIE – HOLIDAYING. – Mr Duncan J. Robertson, O.B.E., is at present in Eynhallow spending his annual summer holiday of four to six weeks in the bird season. He is accompanied by his daughter, Mrs Jenkins. Among the visitors to the island last week was Miss Frances Pitt, ornithologist.

FISHING. – Lobster fishing is now at its height, and during the last fortnight, the lobster boats have been out at sea early and late in close pursuit of their object – setting and hauling their creels, not always in ideal conditions but often facing severe buffetings in stormy seas. Their efforts have been fairly well rewarded with occasional very good catches. The cuithe season is here again and a few boats have been out trying their luck, but so far have not been very successful.

WORK AND WEATHER. – The sowing of turnips has fully occupied the farmers during the past week. To begin with, the soil was rather too moist but improved later, and good progress has been made. The weather has been very mixed – one day wet, the next shine, and settled summer conditions are long of coming. The country, however, is looking well generally, and grass and oat fields are flourishing, the oat crop showing evenly green, minus any signs of attack from grub. Peats have not fared well with repeated drenchings of rain, and the curing process has become protracted, and their quality impaired.

1938 June 29 Orkney Herald

EVIE – WEATHER. – The storm of last Tuesday, Midsummer Day, was the worst summer gale of recent years. Squally all day, the wind reached its greatest velocity in the evening, then accompanied by driving rain. Eynhallow Sound was as rough as any day in winter, and some small craft out on the waves in the height of the gale had a tough time making their way to land against the heavy breakers. Considerable damage was done to vegetation, to gardens in particular, herbaceous borders being shattered and broken, and a wreckage of leaves, stems, &c., strewn all over. Weather conditions continue unsettled, and June of this year will be long remembered as a cold, wet, unsummery month.

1938 July 6 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY, EGILSHAY AND WYRE DISTRICT NURSING ASSOCIATION. – At a meeting of the Executive Committee of the above Association, held in Sourin School on 1st July, it was decided to hold a free gift sale of work on 2nd September. Gifts may be handed to the lady members of the committee in each district, or to the secretary, Miss Kathleen Gibson, Hullion. Further details will be given at a later date.

1938 July 30 The Scotsman


[By Professor V. Gordon Childe, D.Litt., D.Sc.]

An incomparably vivid picture of the domestic life of a self-sufficing “Stone Age” community has been afforded by the sand-embalmed village of Skara Brae, on the Mainland of Orkney. Only, the villagers were so self-sufficing that the age of the settlement in relation to other monuments of Scottish prehistory was debatable. A new village of the same kind, discovered this year by Mr W. G. Grant at Rinyo, on Rousay has settled this controversy. Its latest occupation and that of Skara Brae are dated to the period of transition from the Stone to the Bronze Age in Britain. Both may provisionally be put 3500 years ago. Moreover, Rinyo has not, like Skara Brae, been partially washed away by the Atlantic, but is probably intact. Its complete excavation will therefore give a full picture of a Stone Age village as a whole where deductions can be made as to the size, the social organisation, and the economy of such an ancient community as nowhere else in Western Europe. Complete excavation will take many years. In the meantime one season’s campaign in bad weather has already enormously enriched our conceptions of Stone Age life in Britain .

Shelter of the Cliff: The site is not like Skara Brae, on the shore, but seems to have been chosen for the shelter afforded by a steep brae, which rises, in places as a cliff, some 20 feet, immediately east of the ruins. The rock, outcropping in the cliff would provide the settlers with convenient building material. They undoubtedly did quarry the easily split stone, but how much of the quarrying near Rinyo is really prehistoric still remains to be settled. Below the brae the first occupants found a gentler slope of deep soil washed down from above on which they built their dwellings. To secure anything like a level floor for these the land had to be terraced. For this purpose flagstones were piled up in layers, or banks of refuse, supported by slabs on edge, were heaped up. Even so, the house floors slope down noticeably from east to west; and rain water collecting on the hill above is liable to trickle down over the site and seep through the joints of the rock, as the excavators have found to their cost this summer. To counteract this inconvenience an elaborate drainage system, comparable to that at Skara Brae, was constructed.

Stone Age Furniture: On the terrain thus prepared houses were built of quarried slabs, laid in courses as in a dry-stone dyke. The walls have been much denuded by agricultural operations, but the general outlines are clear. The best-preserved dwelling, hut A, is a rectangle with rounded corners some 14 feet long by 11 feet wide, enlarged by a recess 4 feet wide in the west wall. It was entered through a paved doorway, 2 feet wide, west of the centre of the north end wall. In the middle of the room thus entered, the visitor sees a square hearth, framed with kerb-stones set on edge, close west of which a main drain passes under the floor. A sump near the south-east corner of the hearth communicated with the principal conduit by a subsidiary channel under the hearth.

Just south of the latter three stones set in the floor frame is the socket for a post, from which vessels could be hung over the fire. On either side of the fireplace are enclosures separated from the rest of the room by stone slabs on edge. Similar enclosures, partitioned off by wooden slabs, serve as beds in Norwegian peasant houses, and those at Rinyo are clearly just stone versions of such beds. In the southeast corner of the room a cubical box, formed of carefully squared slabs, has been let into the chamber floor. It was found still covered with its square stone lid, but contained nothing but earth that had trickled in under the lid. Finally, in the rear wall are foundations for a dresser, presumably consisting, like those at Skara Brae, of two tiers of shelves.

The Clay Oven: Of course, all these articles of furniture are just translations into stone – the only material available on a treeless island – of wooden constructions. In other parts of Great Britain where trees grew, contemporary dwellings may have been just as commodiously furnished with articles that have perished. To the east of the dresser, a second doorway led through the rear wall into another chamber, B. This occupies the highest point uncovered this year, and is built partly on a platform of slabs, piled up to level the floor. Only a small hearth, a cubical stone box, and a dilapidated bed survive. To the west, at the foot of the terraces on which A and B stand, are ruins of a third dwelling, C; but ploughing has damaged them so badly that only a hearth, a post-socket, a cubical stone box, and short segments of walling can be clearly identified.

The fireplace, over three feet square, was full of a tough mixture of peat-ash, burnt bone, and miscellaneous refuse, save for a hole, eight inches wide, in which a cooking pot could be sunk. The round stone lid for such a pot was found on the brink of the hole. Immediately in front of the hearth stood a clay oven partially sunk in the hut floor upon a slab of slatey stone. It measured 1 foot 8 inches square inside. Its walls were so hard-baked that they could be removed bodily. Thereupon, a shallow depression, hollowed out in the supporting slab and exactly corresponding to the plan of the oven, was revealed. It looks as if it had been cut out, but perhaps the hollow is due to the disintegration by heat of two or three skins of the laminated stone where it was not protected by the clay. In any case, such a clay oven is a new item in the list of Britons’ Stone Age furniture. An exactly similar slab was found under the floor of room A, and another in a fourth chamber, D, so that ovens may have stood in all houses.

Bone arid Pottery Fragments: The solidity of the dwellings, their abundant furniture, and their careful drainage enhance our admiration for the prehistoric Orcadians’ capacity. Of course, they were disgustingly untidy, though not more so than their Norse successors two and a half millennia later. Unburnt bone hardly survived at Rinyo, but everywhere trodden into the floors were bits of burnt bone, teeth, and ghosts of unburnt bones of sheep and cattle, as well as a few pieces of stag’s antler and whalebone blocks. Numerous pieces of pumice stone, often grooved, had evidently been used for sharpening bone pins. Flint scrapers littering the floors, had served for dressing the skins that the villagers wore as garments. Fragments of pottery, often richly decorated with applied strips, were scattered everywhere,

Below the floors of the structures just described, are remains of an earlier occupation. Right under the wall of chamber A we found a hearth and segments of wall on virgin soil. They were built in the same style and on the same plan of those of the later structures, and the relics recovered suffice to prove that they were built by the direct-ancestors of the later villagers. The projected exploration of these deeper levels, presumably older than the transition to the Bronze Age to which the latest occupation can be assigned, may give clues as to the relation between the settlers at Rinyo and the builders of those monumental burial vaults, generally termed “neolithic,” of which Rousay has yielded so many imposing examples.

1938 August 17 Orkney Herald



Brilliant weather favoured annual cattle and flower and industrial shows of Rousay Agricultural and Horticultural Society, held at Sourin on Tuesday. The event attracted crowds of visitors from all over the island, and from the mainland by the steamer Earl Sigurd.

Championships in the stock sections were won by Mr G. Reid, Tratland, in the horse section, and Mrs Gibson, Avelshay, in the cattle classes. Mrs Gibson has now won the championship trophy outright.

Officials in charge of the agricultural display were: – Messrs Robert Mainland, Nearhouse, president; Robert Seatter, Banks, vice-president; Ronald Shearer, Curquoy, treasurer; John Linklater, Blossom, secretary; John Craigie, Furse; James Craigie, Falquoy; David Moar, Saviskaill; Hugh Robertson, Langskaill; John Mainland, Westness; George Reid, Tratland; Robert Johnston, Trumland; Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso; Hugh Craigie, Scockness; Samuel Inkster, Wasdale.

Judges were: – Messrs J. G. S. Flett, Nistaben, Harray; James Sinclair, Graemeshall, Holm; and J. R.  Clark, Millfield, St Andrews (horses, cattle, etc.); Miss McVicar, Kirkwall (produce).

Mr Seatter of Banks kindly gave the use of the park.

Industrial and flower show officials were – Catering – Mrs Gibson, Bigland; Mrs Inkster, Wasdale; Mrs Shearer, Curquoy; Mrs Donaldson, Gripps; Miss Annie Craigie, Houseby; Miss M. Grieve, Cruannie; Miss C. Grieve, Cruannie; Mrs Grieve, Cruannie; Miss C. Russell, Brendale.

Stewards – Mrs Kirkness, Quoyostray; Miss Craigie, Furse; Mrs Mainland, Nearhouse; Mr Gibson, Hullion; Mr Craigie, Pier Cottage; Mr Inkster, Woo.

Assistant Secretary, Mr J. W. Grieve, Whitehall; treasurer, Mr Shearer, Curquoy; secretary, Mr John Linklater, Blossom.

Judges were: – Handicrafts, Mrs Ronald Slater, Kirkwall; flowers and vegetables, Mr John Sclater, Kirkwall; baking, Mr R. S. Spence, Kirkwall.

Judges Comments. – Interviewed by the “Orkney Herald” on the horse, cattle and sheep sections, the judges said that the horse section was a good all round show, and although lacking in numbers, the quality on the whole was excellent. The champion, a three-year-old filly, was a stylish animal, being a good mover and up to a fair size, and would quickly develop into a nice brood mare. The reserve was a prize-winning brood mare, which showed a rather lean condition, and was thus at a great disadvantage. That animal was of a good size, and a fine mover, but would be required to be in better bloom. The champion gelding, a four-year-old, was the outstanding gelding in the show, and was sure to develop into a big useful lorry horse. The reserve, a yearling, showed good promise, with nice flat bone and well developed muscles. That animal only required time.

The cross section cows were the best class in the yard, being a very good class. The three-year-old cows were a good class, the leader outstanding. The cows were judged in two classes, three-year-olds and younger, the latter class being very fine. The leader in the three-year-old cows class was an outstanding animal, which finally became champion. A splendid yearling steer won the butcher’s cup. The calves class were a good, even lot.

The half-bred lambs were a good, show, and the ewes, although a small entry, were of fairly good quality.


SHEEP. – Pen of Two H.B. Ewes – 1 James Lyon, Ervadale; 2 R. Seatter, Banks; 3 John Inkster, Woo. Pen of Two H.B. Gimmers – 1 James Lyon. Pen of Two H.B. Lambs – 1 John Inkster, 2 and 3 James Lyon, 4, 5 and 6 R. Seatter.

CATTLE. – Calves (1st October) – 1 Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso. Calves (1st March) – 1 J. Linklater, Blossom; 2, 3 and 4 H. Mainland. Polled Cows – 1 J. Linklater, 2 Mrs Gibson, Avelshay; 3 H. Mainland, 4 and 5 J. Craigie, Falquoy; 6 H. Sinclair, Knarston. Shorthorn Cows – 1 James Craigie, 2 and 3 H. Mainland. Three-year-old Polled Cows – 1 Mrs Gibson, 2 J. Harcus, Gorehouse; 3 H. Sinclair. Three-year-old Shorthorn Cows – 1 J. Linklater, 2 and 3 H. Mainland. Two-year-old Polled Queys – 1 H. Mainland, 2 Mrs Gibson, 3 and 4 H. Sinclair, 5 James Craigie. Two-year-old Shorthorn Queys – 1 Geo. Reid, Tratland. One-year-old Polled Queys – (1st October) – 1 and 2 H. Mainland. One-year-old Polled Steers (1st October) – 1 Mrs Gibson, 2 H. Mainland, 3 J. Harcus. One-year-old Polled Queys – (1st March) – 1 and 2 H. Mainland. One-year-old Polled Steers (1st March) – 1 and 2 Hugh Mainland. Work Stots – J. Harcus. Department’s Special Prizes for Queys – 1 Geo. Reid, 2 Mrs Gibson, 3 H. Sinclair. Highland Society’s prize for Best Calf – H. Mainland. Highland Society’s prize for best One-year-old Cattle – Mrs Gibson.

HORSES. – Draught Geldings – 1 John Craigie, Furse; 2 James Craigie, Falquoy. Yeld Mares – 1 H. Sinclair, 2 John Leonard, Quoys. Mares with Foal at Foot – 1, 2 and 3 James Johnston, Trumland; 4 Geo. Reid. Foals – 1 and 2 James Johnston, 3 Geo. Reid. Three-year-old Fillies – 1 Geo. Reid, 2 Jas. Craigie. Two-year-old Geldings – 1 Jas. Johnston, 2 John Craigie. Two-year-old Fillies – 1 Jas. Craigie, 2 W. Corsie, Glebe; 3 Jas. Lyon, Ervadale; 4 Sam Inkster, Wasdale. One-year-old Geldings – 1 H. Mainland. One-year-old Fillies – H. Mainland. Ponies – J. Linklater, 2 Sam Inkster, 3 H. Sinclair, 4 Tom Donaldson, Gripps. Department of Agriculture’s Special Prizes for Three-year-old Fillies – 1 Geo. Reid, 2 James Craigie.

SPECIAL PRIZES. – Cup, presented by Mr John T. Flett, Kirkwall, for best animal in horse sections – Geo. Reid; reserve, Jas. Johnston. Cup, presented by Rev. D. D. Davidson, The Manse, for the best animal in cattle section – Mrs Gibson (becomes her own property): reserve. J. Linklater. Cup, presented by Mr Robert Marwick, for best animal in horse sections under £20 rental – Cup and reserve – Geo. Reid (becomes his own property). Cup, presented by Mr Geo. Robertson, for the best milk cow, under £20 rental – Cup and reserve, J. Linklater (becomes his own property). Cup, presented by Mr Wm. Bertram, saddler, Kirkwall, for best Clydesdale mare in yard – Geo. Reid; reserve, James Johnston. Cup, presented by R. Garden, Ltd., Kirkwall, for best mare with foal at foot – Cup and reserve, James Johnston (now becomes his own property). Cup, presented by Mr John Kemp, jeweller, Kirkwall, for the best one-year-old colt or filly – Cup and reserve – H. Mainland. Cup, presented by the Northern Farmers Co-operative Society, Ltd., for the best pair of yearlings – Cup and reserve, H. Mainland. Cup, presented by Mr Ralph Miller, for best two-year-old quey carrying her first calf – Geo. Reid; reserve, Mrs Gibson. Cup, presented by David J. Inkster, for the best Shorthorn cow in yard – James Craigie (now becomes his own property); reserve, J. Linklater. Cup, presented by Messrs T. Smith Peace, Kirkwall, for Shorthorn under 2½ years old – Geo. Reid. Cup, presented, by Messrs P. C. Flett & Company, Kirkwall, for the best cow in yard – Mrs Gibson; reserve, J. Linklater. Cup, presented by Dr Paterson, Brinian House, for the best cog-fed calf – H. Mainland; reserve, J. Linklater. Silver Rosebowl, presented by the O.A.D.S., for the best four cattle drawn from any section – Mrs Gibson; reserve, H. Mainland. E.P.N.S. Vase, presented by Messrs William Shearer, seed merchants, Kirkwall, for the best gelding in yard – John Craigie; reserve, H. Mainland. Cup, presented by Messrs Reith & Anderson, Aberdeen, for best five lambs – James Lyon; reserve, John Inkster. Barometer presented by Mainland Bros., Westness, for the best foal in yard – 1 and reserve, James Johnston. Medal, presented by Mr William Brough, jeweller, Kirkwall, for the best pair of ewes – James Lyon; reserve, R. Seatter. Medal, presented by Mr Stanley Firth for best animal in sheep sections – Medal and reserve, James Lyon. Medal, presented by Mrs Graham, for the best animal in cattle sections, under £20 rental – J. Linklater (now becomes his own property); reserve, G. Reid. Medal, presented by Mr Wm. D. Reid, for the best gelding in yard – John Craigie; reserve, H. Mainland. Medal, presented by Mr Ralph Miller, for horse-shoeing – James Johnston; reserves, Geo. Reid and John Cormack. Medal, presented by Mr A. W. K. Baikie, for the best butcher animal – Mrs Gibson; reserve, H. Mainland. Biscuit barrel, presented by Messrs J. & W. Tait, Kirkwall, for best pony – John Linklater; reserve, Sam Inkster. Prize of 10/-, presented by Mr Rob Roy Macgregor, for most entries – Hugh Mainland. Prize of 7/6, presented by Mr Stanley Firth, for most successful exhibitor – Hugh Mainland.


JUVENILE SECTION. – Embroidery – 1 Dorothy Mainland, Sourin School; 2 Edith Gibson, Sourin School; 3 Evelyn Clouston, Wasbister. Sowing (plain) – 1 Jean Marwick, Sourin; 2 Irene Hourie, Wasbister, 3 Evelyn Clouston. Knitting – 1 Edith Gibson, Sourin; 2 Dorothy Mainland; 3 Evelyn Clouston. Fretwork – 1 John Harcus, Gorehouse; 2 Angus Harcus, Gorehouse. Handwriting – 1 William Donaldson, Wasbister; 2 Thelma Shearer, Sourin; 3 David Leslie, Wasbister.

INDUSTRIAL SECTION. – Home-spun Wool – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, Bigland. Home-spun Socks – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Mrs Donaldson, Vacquoy. Embroidery – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Miss Cissie Sinclair, Banks; 3 Miss Annie M. Craigie, Scockness. Hand Sewn Article – 1 Miss Kathleen Grieve, Cruannie. Machine Sewn Article – 1 Mrs Hourie, Maybank. Knitting (fancy) – 1 Molly Mainland. Knitted Jumper (Fair Isle jumper) – 1 Mrs Grieve, Cruannie. Knitted Jumper – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Miss Kathleen Grieve; 3 Molly Mainland, Hurtiso. Knicker Stockings – 1 Molly Mainland. Ladies’ Knitted Stockings – 1 Miss Mary Reid, Gripps. Men’s Knitted Socks – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Mrs Kirkness, Quoyostray; 3 Mrs Craigie, Furse. Special Prizes – Best piece of knitting – Molly Mainland, Hurtiso; best piece of handiwork – Mrs H. I. Gibson (embroidered cloth).

BAKING. – Bere Bannocks (8) – 1 Miss Craigie, Scockness; 2 Miss Gibson, Lopness; 3 Mrs Marwick, Braehead. Oat-cakes (thick) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 and 3 Molly Mainland. Oatcakes (thin) – 1, 2 and 3 Molly Mainland. Girdle Scones – 1 and special and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Mrs Marwick, Braehead. Oven Scones – 1 Miss Cissie Sinclair; 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 3 Mrs R. Shearer, Curquoy. Drop Scones – 1 Miss Craigie, Scockness; 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Sweet Currant Scones – 1 Miss Cissie Sinclair; 2 and 3 Molly Mainland. Pancakes – 1 Molly Mainland. Shortbread (thick) – 1 Molly Mainland, 2 Mrs R. Shearer; 3 Mrs Inkster, Wasdale. Shortbread (thin) – 1 Molly Mainland; 2 Mrs Inkster. Rock Cakes – 1 and 2 Molly Mainland; 3 Mrs Marwick, Braehead. Queen Cakes (16 entries) – 1 and 2 Cissie Sinclair; 3 Mrs W. Grieve. Cheese Cakes – 1 and 2 Molly Mainland; 3 Mrs Shearer. Swiss Roll – 1 and 3 Mrs Shearer; 2 Cissie Sinclair. Sponge Cake – 1 Mrs Marwick; 2 Kathleen Grieve, Cruannie; 3 Cissie Sinclair. Madeira Cake – 1 Mrs Shearer; 2 Mrs Inkster, Wasdale; 3 Cissie Sinclair. Victoria Sandwich – 1 Mrs Inkster; 2 Cissie Sinclair; 3 Mrs Shearer. Gingerbread – 1 and special Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 and 3 Molly Mainland. Sultana Cake – 1 Cissie Sinclair; 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 3 Jeannie Donaldson, The Glebe. Fruit Cake – I Mrs Shearer; 2 Mrs Inkster; 3 Miss Inkster, Cogar.

DAIRY PRODUCE. – Fresh Butter – 1 Mrs G. Reid; 2 and 3 Miss Thora Kirkness. Salt Butter – 1 Mrs G. Reid, 2 and 3 Mrs Craigie, Scockness. Table Butter – 1 and 2 Miss Thora Kirkness. Sweet Milk Cheese – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Mrs Craigie, Scockness. Hen Eggs – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Molly Mainland. Duck Eggs – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Strawberry Jam – 1 and 2 Molly Mainland; 3 Mrs Craigie, Furse. Apricot Jam – 1 and 3 Molly Mainland; 2 Miss Thora Kirkness. Rhubarb and Cloves Jam – 1 and 2 Molly Mainland; 3 Mrs Craigie, Furse. Rhubarb and Ginger Jam – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Thora Kirkness. Rhubarb and Fig Jam – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Thora Kirkness. Gooseberry Jam – 1 Mrs Craigie, Viera Lodge; 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 3 Mrs J. Stanley Gibson. Plum Jam – 1 Mrs Craigie, Furse; 2 and 3 Mrs H. 1. Craigie. Gooseberry Jelly – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Grapefruit Marmalade – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Thora Kirkness. Rhubarb and Apricot – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Thora Kirkness. Black Currant Jelly – 1 Mrs Craigie, Furse; 2 Miss Thora Kirkness. Black Currant Jam – 1 Mrs Craigie, Viera Lodge; 3 Molly Mainland. Plain Rhubarb Jam – 1 Mrs Craigie, Viera Lodge; 2 Mrs Sinclair, Cogar; 3 Mrs Marwick, Braehead. Damson Jam – 1 and 2 Mrs J. W. Grieve. Rhubarb and Gooseberry – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson; 2 Mrs Craigie, Furse. Lemon Curd – 1, 2 and 3 Molly Mainland.

FLOWERS AND VEGETABLES. – Cabbages – 1 and 3 Hugh Yorston, Post Office; 2 Dorothy Mainland. Cauliflower – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Turnip (white) – 1 and 2 Miss Thora Kirkness; 3 Irene Hourie. Turnips (yellow) – 1 Jas. Sinclair. Cabbage (lettuce) – 1 and 2 Hugh Yorston; 3 Mrs Craigie, Furse. Lettuce (cos) – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Parsley – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Radish – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Leeks – 1 and 2 Hugh Yorston; 3 Jas. Sinclair. Beet (long) – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Beet (round) – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Carrot (long) – 1 and 2 Jas. Sinclair; 3 Mrs H. I. Craigie. Carrot (stump root) – 1 Hugh Yorston…..

[and so continued the very long and very comprehensive list of prize winners]

THE JUDGES ENTERTAINED. – Mr [Robert] Mainland presided at a little gathering, at which the judges were entertained. The chairman expressed the Society’s thanks to those who had officiated in that capacity.

Replying to the toast of the Judges, Miss McVicar said she had to thank them for asking her to Rousay to judge in the dairy produce section. In some sections the exhibits were disappointing; the butter was rather a small section, with the cheese rather better. It was difficult to judge the latter produce, as they were all very good. The jams were a big entry, and with regard to that she suggested that each competitor should be allowed one pot of jam in each class, because she was sure some ill-feeling might arise through the same person getting the first, second and third prize with jam all from the same boiling. In the butter section, she believed there had been a lot of people disheartened through the same people winning the prizes year after year. She suggested that a championship class should be entered for the for the first prize winners, which would give other people a chance. Quite a number of shows she had attended had adopted that system, especially where the same people were getting the prizes all the time.

Mr Sinclair said he had been very pleased to be at Rousay to judge at their show, along with the other gentlemen. He had been satisfied with the quality of stock which had been placed before them. He would like to see the exhibitors putting more stock into the show. He was sure there was a lot of cattle in the island just as good as those which had secured the prizes that day.

Remarks on Stock Exhibits. – Mr Flett said be thanked them for honouring the toast of the judges, and personally he wished to thank the Rousay Agricultural Society for asking him back to Rousay to judge; it was always a pleasure for him to come to Rousay. Regarding the quality of the stock placed before them, it had been of a very high standard; there was no question about that. Although the numbers were rather lacking, he hoped that their showyard, which he thought capable of housing the Highland Show, would show a large increase next year.

Mr Clark said he had to thank them for asking him to Rousay: it was the first time he had judged at their show, and he had enjoyed himself very much. The standard of the exhibits was very good, and he expressed the hope that they would go forward and attract more entries, to make their show a bigger success. – Mr Linklater, the secretary, Mr Grieve, Mr Inkster, and Mr Gibson also spoke.

Mrs Walter G. Grant of Trumland gracefully presented the prizes, before a large and interested gathering, and was cordially thanked, on the call of Mr Linklater.

1938 August 31Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SOURIN SCHOOL PICNIC AND SPORTS. – Sourin School picnic and sports was held in a field at Banks, Rousay, on Friday. 19th August. Although the weather in the morning did not look too promising rain held off until all the events were finished.

The children’s races commenced at 1.30 and every race was keenly contested. Mr Harrold and Mr Grieve acted as starters. When the children’s events were finished milk was served and shortly afterwards the adult sports began.

Miss Kirkness won the ladies’ championship with 14 points out of a possible 15. Runners-up were Miss Shaw and Miss Cooper, each with 5 points. The men’s championship went to Mr H. Robertson with 11 points, runner-up being Mr T. Inkster with 7 points.

This year a medal was given for competition among boys 17 and under. The events were keenly contested, and Mr H. Yorston with 8½ points – a lead of one point over Mr S. Moar – ran out winner.

After tea was served in the hall, Miss Sutherland, Wasbister Schoolhouse, handed over the prizes to the successful competitors. Chocolate, a gift from Mrs Grant, Trumland House, was received by each child with great appreciation. Votes of thanks to Miss Sutherland for presenting the prizes, and to Mr Seatter, Banks, for the use of the field were heartily responded to. Mr Davidson proposed a vote of thanks to the committee. At the successful dance which followed Mr T. Inkster and Mr J. Linklater acted as M.C.’s. Music was by the Wasbister Band. The dance ended by singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

The committee take this opportunity of thanking the anonymous donor of the medal for the boys’ championship, all those who gave milk and all who helped in any way.

[It is clear Rousay does not have a resident ‘correspondent’ – unlike nearly every other island and mainland parish – and the above shows and annual events are covered by a visiting Orkney Herald reporter. I shall continue to plough through every issue of his weekly newspaper – in the hope a ‘newsworthy’ story from Rousay crops up. In the meantime, I will continue to use items from neighbouring parishes, which give a flavour of life in Orkney at the time.]

1938 September 28 Orkney Herald

FIRTH – HARVEST. – Harvesting operations, which commenced at the beginning of the month, are still in progress, and, although one or two farmers have finished reaping, generally speaking in most cases the end is yet a long way off. The past week of fine weather has gone a long way to lighten the load, but, in spite of fine weather conditions, harvest work this year requires all the pull that possibly can be put into it. Almost every desirable method of harvesting has been adopted in an endeavour to deal with laid and twisted crops, and in many cases the scythe has had to be resorted to after all other means have failed. The crop in stook appears to be bulky, and in many cases of good quality. Nevertheless, there are considerable patches of crop which will be far from profitable either for straw or grain. Bere is more promising. Some of this crop has already been secured in stackyards. A continuance of the present fine weather would confer an immense boon on the farming community, and go a long way to mitigate the handicap under which the farmers have been placed owing to the failure of the binder to deal with the crop, and the utterly inadequate staff to tackle the job in the old-fashioned way. Pastures are still showing sufficient herbage to provide for the needs of farm stocks; in fact, the last week has shown an improvement in this direction. An absence of clover after hay, however, is noticeable on many fields. Turnip fields are looking well, and roots appear to be healthy. Some varieties of potatoes are reported to be under the average.




The following notice was posted outside the Drill Hall, Kirkwall, on Monday evening: –

“226th Battery A.A. (T.A.)
All men of this unit are called up as a precautionary measure,
and will report at once to Headquarters, Junction Road.”

A full muster reported, and preparations were made for the battery to move should the occasion arise.

Men of the unit also reported for instructions at 9 a.m. this (Tuesday) morning, but were dismissed shortly afterwards. A certain number also reported at 2 p.m. They are to parade again at 7 p.m.

Until further notice, the local Territorials have instructions to muster at the Drill Hall (former Electric Theatre), Junction Road, Kirkwall, once daily at 7 p.m., and to hold themselves at all times in readiness to answer a call at the very shortest notice.

In the case of emergency, it is not anticipated that, in the first instance, they will be sent outside the county.

The calling up of the Orkney Territorials was carried out in accordance with a national precautionary measure announced on Monday afternoon to the effect that, throughout the country, men of anti-aircraft units and coast defence units of the Territorial Army had been called up. Certain defence units of the Auxiliary Airforce, the fighter squadron, and balloon barrage squadron (but not bombers, so far), and the Observation Corps, were also called up.

Officers and men of the Royal Air Force were recalled from leave.

News of the calling up of the Orkney Territorials, though not altogether unexpected, in view of the grave developments over the weekend in the international situation, was received in the county with a certain amount of dismay, and tended to increase the pessimistic view generally held regarding the outcome of the present crisis. It was Orkney’s most vivid reminder of August 1914.

1938 October 5 Orkney Herald


Orkney achieved a commendable black-out on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, when orders were given that the use of lights out of doors, between the hours of 9 and 10.30 p.m., was prohibited. Windows were to be darkened and not even the faintest gleam of light was to be visible outside.

On Wednesday thick haze made the black-out all the more effective, though actually householders were more successful in concealing their lights on the second occasion.

The black-outs were of an experimental nature, notification having been received by Chief Constable Colin W. Campbell, Kirkwall, on Tuesday afternoon that the experiments were to be carried out.

Poor visibility on both occasions prevented Naval war planes observing the black-out from the air, but as seen from the ground, on Wednesday night at any rate, country districts were more effectively blacked-out than Kirkwall. Here, either through misunderstanding of the instructions or failure to realise the strictness with which the measures were to be observed, several householders allowed a certain amount of light to escape from windows and doors on Wednesday evening. Police, however, and civilian members of A.R.P. Observer Corps and air raid wardens, who were on duty, notified offenders as to what was required of them. The result was that on Thursday evening almost a perfect black-out was achieved throughout the county…..

The police were set a formidable task in notifying every householder in the county of the black-out, with barely 30 hours’ notice. In Kirkwall and Stromness police officers distributed the warning by means of door-to-door calls. The town bellman and cinema screen were also pressed into service in the county town. The East and West Mainlands were covered by motorists and motor cyclists acting as special constables and air raid wardens. In the North and South Isles and parts of the mainland postmen and other volunteers did splendid work. Others who proved effective helpers in spreading the warning were sub-postmasters or mistresses, teachers, merchants and ministers.

“Warning” at 9 p.m. and “All Clear” at 10.30 were sounded by the sirens of Highland Park Distillery and Glaitness Laundry.

1938 October 7 Aberdeen Press & Journal

Rousay Jam and Embroidery. – “All for one, one for all, united we stand, divided we fall.” This motto was commented on by the president, Miss Inkster, at Rousay W.R.I., Orkney. The special item on the programme was a talk on embroidery given by Mrs Shearer, Sourin Schoolhouse. She had with her a selection of very fine pieces of embroidery, and these she used to illustrate her remarks. Rhubarb jam entries were judged by Nurse Shaw and Mrs Sinclair, Cogar. The winner of the first prize was Mrs Gibson. Bigland.

1938 November 16 Orkney Herald

FIRTH – WORK AND WEATHER. – The weather over the week-end improved slightly on the sample we have been getting for some time back. Harvest work is being carried out whenever there is any chance. Much crop is still to be seen on the fields in “disses” and “stooks.” Great difficulty is being experienced owing to the bad state the crop is now in, and, indeed, it is questionable if it can now be secured in condition to be of any use. Wet, sprouting and rotting, much of it is long past the stage at which it could be regarded as profitable. The potato crop also is now being considered to be below the average. Owing to the waterlogged state of the ground it has been impossible to progress with the lifting, and it looks as if much of the crop will have to remain in the drills over the winter.

1938 November 23 Orkney Herald




Stromness lifeboat, the L.S.A. [Life Saving Apparatus] companies of Rousay, Westray and Kirkwall, two fishery patrol vessels, two Orkney North Isles steamers, a trawler and an American steamer all responded to the call for assistance sent out by the Hull trawler Cheriton, which struck the Skea Skerries in the Westray Firth during a south-westerly gale on Saturday afternoon.

The Cheriton, exposed to the full force of the gale, was in a position of the gravest danger. Later, in a sinking condition and with no steam she freed herself from the skerries and was beached in a comparatively sheltered bay near Scockness on the north-east corner of Rousay. The crew were taken off in a motor boat by members of Rousay L.S.A. Company, under Volunteer-in-Charge John Cormack.

Early on Saturday afternoon coast watchers on Westray saw the Cheriton aground on Skea Skerries. On receiving information by telephone, Kirkwall coast-guards informed Stromness lifeboat, which set out about 3 p.m. on the 30-mile journey to Skea Skerries. The coastguards broadcast a message, via Wick radio, to all shipping in the vicinity, giving the Cheriton’s position. About 4 p.m. an American steamer, Scanmail, radioed that she was eighteen miles north-east of Noup Head, and proceeding to the help of the Cheriton. About 4.15 the Grimsby trawler, Indian Star, radioed that she would reach the Cheriton in three or four hours’ time. About 4.45 Wick radio received a message from the Cheriton that she was filling with water and heeling over. The crew were trying to launch their small boat, and their situation was very dangerous.

The Fishery vessel Betty Bodie, with the Kirkwall life saving apparatus and crew on board, left for the scene of the wreck, and at the same time the Fishery cruiser Freya and the s.s. Earl Thorfinn left Westray. After a fruitless search of Westray Firth, the Betty Bodie received information that the vessel was ashore and in no danger, and returned to Kirkwall. Kirkwall L.S.A. Company were under command of Station Officer Browning and Coastguard Evans.

Drifts Off Skerry. – About 6 p.m. the Cheriton, which had drifted off the Skea Skerries in the direction of Rousay, radioed that she was full of water, that she had no steam, and requested the assistance of a lifeboat. The crew sent up distress rockets. Shortly afterwards the stokehold fires were flooded out, and the crew had barely enough steam left to beach the vessel at Ham Bay, Rousay.

The crew of the trawler were taken off the vessel by the Rousay Life-Saving crew by motor boat, and were given hospitality in various houses in Rousay. The captain, mate and chief engineer of the Cheriton remained on board until the last possible moment, when they were taken off by a motor boat from the “Freya,” and were accommodated on board for the night. Several members of the crew were taken to Kirkwall on s.s. Earl Sigurd on Sunday afternoon, but left again the following morning to see whether there was a possibility of salving their belongings.

The vessel is not badly damaged, and is expected to be refloated within a short period.

Seen From Westray. – Just before dark, writes our Westray correspondent, the trawler could be seen. The sea was washing completely over her, and she was considered to be in grave danger. Some time after dark her lights could not be seen, and it was feared that she had gone down.

As soon as the wreck was reported the Rocket Life-saving Brigade, under the charge of Mr James Rendall, was called out, and the s.s. Earl Thorfinn and the fishery cruiser Freya left Pierowall to render assistance. The trawler, evidently washed off the skerry as the tide came in, was able to reach Rousay.

The Rocket Brigade returned to the station about 9 p.m. S.s. Earl Thorfinn took shelter in Kirkwall Bay and arrived at Gill Pier about 9 a.m. on Sunday. The Stromness lifeboat is believed to have been seen off the Rapness and Skelwick shores.

Another Stormy Trip for Stromness Lifeboat. – Stromness lifeboat had another stormy trip to the North Isles on Saturday, writes our Stromness correspondent, when she was called to the assistance of a trawler ashore on Skea Skerries, Westray Firth. A message giving information regarding the wreck was received by Mr George L. Thomson, hon. secretary of Stromness lifeboat, from Kirkwall Coastguard Station about 3.30 p.m. on Saturday. The crew were immediately summoned, and the lifeboat was launched at 3.55 p.m. in charge of Coxswain Greig.

There was a gale of south-westerly wind at the time with a very heavy sea. It was realised that a vessel ashore on Skea Skerries in these conditions would be in the very gravest danger, and every effort was made to reach the vicinity in the shortest possible time. It was decided, therefore, not to trouble with wireless messages until the lifeboat reached the scene of the wreck.

Mr John Rae and Mr John G. Sinclair proceeded to Birsay in order to signal any later information to the lifeboat as she passed there. No new information of any value was available when the lifeboat passed the Brough shortly after 6.30 p.m. In a way this was fortunate, as it would have been quite impossible for the lifeboatmen to have read a Morse signalling lamp owing to the heavy seas.

Very bad weather conditions were experienced after rounding the Brough of Birsay. Lightning and showers of hail at times made visibility practically nil.

The lifeboat carried on towards Skea Skerries, but could find no trace of any vessel in distress. After continuing the search for some time she got into wireless communication with H.M. fishery cruiser Freya, which had herself been in touch with the wrecked trawler by wireless. The Freya informed the lifeboat that the trawler had floated off Skea Skerries with the flood tide and was now beached in a safe position in the Bay of Ham, Rousay, and did not require the services of the lifeboat.

The lifeboat then started on her homeward journey, west about, in the face of the gale. She reached Stromness about 3 a.m. on Sunday, and was berthed at the South Pier, being taken back on to her own slipway at 10 a.m.

1938 November 29 The Scotsman

A LOCUST IN SCOTLAND. – [At a meeting of the Royal Physical Society, in the Council Room of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Synod Hall, Edinburgh]…..Mr Waterston also exhibited a remarkable visitor which came to Scotland last September – the Old World locust, which had been captured alive on the island of Rousay, Orkney, and sent to the Royal Scottish Museum for identification. The specimen, a female, belonged to the solitary phase, and it was quite unusual for specimens of this phase to migrate. The speaker outlined the “phase” theory of locust migration and recalled occasional migrations of locusts in Scotland  dating from 1748 onwards. It had previously been assumed that such migrations were composed of locusts belonging to the true migratory phase, and the detection of the solitary phase in Orkney had raised a problem worthy of close study.

1938 December 7 Orkney Herald


FRED. T. INKSTER desires to thank the Electors of Rousay, Egilshay, and Wyre for their renewed confidence in him by returning him unopposed as their representative to Orkney County Council. – Greenfield, Rousay.

1938 December 14 Orkney Herald

EVIE – SILLOCKS IN DECEMBER. – During the past week there hits been an absence of storms, and the unruffled waters of Eynhallow Sound have been enlivened by small craft out fishing for sillocks. These little fish are rare here at this season, their grounds being usually deserted much earlier. Though small fry they are very desirable for the table and welcome when other fish are scarce. Good catches have been brought in of good size and quality, and dried sillocks will appear occasionally on the bill of fare throughout the winter.

In Print

Newsprint – 1937

1937 January 9 The Scotsman


(By Dr. Robert J. Drummond)

……….Eynhallow Sound. –  To make a round of it the way lay by Evie, a village above Eynhallow Sound, which flows between the Mainland and Rousay. It is not a mile across, and yet the ministers of Evie and Rousay have been known to exchange for services on the Sabbath, and in the meantime such a gale has blown up that the next week-end has come before they could return to their manses, though the houses faced each other across the Sound. Such things do happen in those tide-swept islands. A preacher was thus once storm-stayed in that very isle of Rousay. He was due in South Ronaldshay on Sunday. But all the week a storm was raging and no boat would put to sea. Saturday came, and by much pleading he induced two men to venture out, and with great difficulty and no little danger they landed him at Kirkwall. He was still miles away from his destination. But he slept the night in Kirkwall, and rose betimes next morning. He had ten miles to walk and two ferries to cross ere he reached St Margaret’s Hope. He arrived there as the bells were ringing, and went straight to the church and into the pulpit. The church was vacant. The people thought that is the kind of man for us, and they called him, but he did not accept. It was the writer’s own father…..

1937 January 27 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PLOUGHING MATCH. – The annual ploughing match of the Rousay Agricultural Society was held on Friday, 15th inst., on a field at Trumland Farm, kindly granted for the occasion by Mr James Johnston. Twenty-two competitors took part, 1 champion and 21 ordinary ploughmen. The ground was in good condition and the work of the competitors reached a high standard.

The judges were prevented from reaching Rousay till the afternoon owing to a southerly gale. They were: – Messrs Robert Eunson, Grimester, St Ola; Alex. Groundwater, Towerhill, St Ola; James Scott, Smithy Cottage, Finstown. Their awards gave entire satisfaction. Mr Robert S. Mainland, Nearhouse, visited the field as the Highland and Agricultural Society’s representative.

Office-bearers in charge of the match were: – Messrs Robert Mainland, Nearhouse (president); Robert Seatter, Banks, (vice-president); John Linklater, Blossom (secretary); Ronald Shearer, Curquoy (treasurer); Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso; Hugh Craigie, Scockness; Allan Gibson, Bigland; James Craigie, Falquoy; David Moar, Saviskaill; John Craigie, Furse; Hugh Robertson, Langskaill; Robert Johnston, Trumland; George Reid, Tratland; John Mainland, Westness.

During the day Mrs Johnston, sr., and Mrs Johnston, jr., and staff, entertained judges, officials, ploughmen and visitors. At the close of the day all proceeded to the farm steading, where the prizes were gracefully handed over by Mrs Johnston, jr., after which a sumptuous dinner was in readiness for ploughmen, judges and officials. The night’s entertainment ended with a dance. The committee tenders thanks to Mr and Mrs Johnston and staff for their hospitality and use of their field, and also to the donors of special prizes.

Ploughing – Champion – 1 Samuel Inkster, Wasdale. Ordinary – 1 and Highland & Agricultural Society’s medal, Hugh Robertson, Langskaill; 2 William Moar, Saviskaill; 3 Hugh Grieve, Hurtiso; 4 James Craigie, Furse; 5 David Craigie, Trumland; 6 Sinclair Craigie, Falquoy; 7 Hugh Marwick, Nearhouse; 8 Hugh Craigie, Scockness; 9 John Donaldson, Langskaill; 10 George Petrie, Hullion; 11 Fred Kirkness, Quoyostray; 12 James Wylie, Westness; 13 Lionel Munro, Faraclett; 14 John Marwick, Breck.

Feering – George Petrie. Finish – James Craigie. Straightest ploughing – Hugh Robertson. Neatest ends – James Craigie.

Harness – 1 James Craigie; 2 Gordon Sinclair, Knarston; 3 Hugh Marwick; 4 Hugh Robertson; 5 William Moar; 6 Hugh Craigie; 7 John Cormack, Trumland.

Grooming – 1 Hugh Robertson; 2 James Craigie; 3 David Craigie; 4 Gordon Sinclair; 5 William Moar; 6 John Cormack; 7 Thomas Donaldson, Gripps.

Cup, presented by Messrs P. L. Johnston for best ploughed rig – to be won three years – Hugh Robertson. Cup, presented by Messrs R. Garden Ltd. For grooming – to be won three years – Hugh Robertson. Cup, presented by the late Firemaster Inkster for most points – to be won three years – Hugh Robertson. Now becomes his own property. Medal, presented by Rev. D. D. Davidson for best ploughed rig – to be won twice – Hugh Robertson. Medal, presented by James Scott, Kirkwall, for best feering on field – to be won twice – George Petrie. Medal, presented by a friend for best finish on field – to be won twice – Samuel Inkster. Medal, presented by Wm. Hourston, Kirkwall, for straightest ploughing – to be won outright – Samuel Inkster. Medal, presented by an anonymous donor for first in champion list – to be won twice – Samuel Inkster. Now becomes his own property. Medal, presented by Wm. Harvey, St Ola, for best harness on field – to be won twice – James Craigie. Now becomes his own property. Medal, presented by R. G. Harrold, Kirkwall, for harness in everyday use – to be won twice – John Cormack. Medal. Presented by Wm. R. Walls, Store Cottage, for ploughman, 18 years and under, highest in prize list – to be won two years – Thomas Donaldson. Medal, presented by a Kirkwall friend for youngest ploughman – Byng Munro. Oldest ploughman – John Cormack. Best Pair on Field – John Cormack. Best turnout, horses and harness – John Cormack. Best matched pair – David Craigie.

1937 February 3 Orkney Herald

EVIE – DETENTION OF ROUSAY MAILS. – Owing to the recent gales, the Rousay mail boat was unable to cross to Evie for the daily mails 4 days last week. Eventually the mails were returned to Kirkwall and the plane took them to their destination on the 5th day.

WEATHER AND WORK. – Rough weather seems to have no end this winter, and fierce gales continue to sweep the countryside. The long continuance of wild conditions has become tiresome and trying, and one wonders when there will be a subdual of the elements. After many threats of snow, a white world was ushered in last Saturday. Snow fell frequently all day, accompanied by a strong wind, and in some places there were snow drifts, the main road, however, remaining clear. At times there was every appearance of a blizzard, the snow being very dry and fine. Towards evening, however, a change took place, the snow becoming softer. During the night, a real thaw set in, and Sunday saw the snow quickly disappear. Amid the stress of weather, all kinds of work in the country have been hampered. In the open, the pressing duties only have been tackled, and these executed with much difficulty. When possible, the carting out of stable manure to the turnip fields has been in progress.

1937 March 3 Orkney Herald

REV. JOHN G. INKSTER OBSERVES BIRTHDAY. – Congratulations are pouring in to Rev. John Gibson Inkster, minister of Knox Church, Toronto, who has just celebrated his 70th birthday anniversary. Among the many telegrams received is one from Prime Minister W. L. M. King, who is a former schoolmate of Dr Inkster. One of Toronto’s most active clergymen, Dr Inkster has been minister at Knox Church for the past 15 years. Dr Inkster is known throughout Canada. He has been pastor in Montreal and in Victoria, where, for eight years, he served at the First Presbyterian Church. Dr Inkster is a native of Rousay, and visited Orkney a year ago.

1937 March 9 The Scotsman

STONE AGE CAIRNS. – Dr J. Graham Callander, F.S.A.Scot., and Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., described two long chambered cairns of the Stone Age, excavated last year in the island of Rousay, Orkney. One, which was of the stalled type, measured 72½ feet in length and 27 feet in breadth, at Blackhammer on the south side of the island, contained seven compartments separated from each other by divisional slabs projecting from the wall and set up in pairs opposite each other. This cairn differed from the three others of its type which had been excavated in Rousay, inasmuch as its entrance passage was placed in the south side of the building, instead of at the east end. After the final burial had taken place, the mouth had been sealed up by careful building. Remains of two adult males and a considerable quantity of animal bones were found in the burial chamber, as also a broken urn of clay, a stone axe, a finely made knife of flint which had been burnt, and a few scrapers and splinters of flint. The other monument [the Knowe of Laro], which was a cairn of the horned variety, measured 182 feet long, 72 feet broad, and 16 feet in height, lay near the hamlet of Hullion. The sepulchral chamber was in the east end, from which the monument tapered away gradually both in height and width to the west. Under the highest point was the burial chamber, access to which was obtained from a low narrow passage between the horns at the east end. The chamber had originally been divided into three parts by pairs of slabs projecting from the sides. The greater part of the chamber was later occupied by secondary structures, substantially built. These consisted of lateral walls built right up to the top of the chamber, which was 13 feet 8 inches high. In the north side of the secondary building there were two large recesses, and on the opposite side three. Human bones were found in each one. The only other relics found were a stone axe in the floor of the chamber and two fragments of pottery on the floor of the entrance passage.

1937 March 10 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CONCERT IN AID OF HOSPITAL. – On Thursday and Friday, 18th and 19th February, a concert, which had been postponed owing to an epidemic of influenza, was held at Frotoft School. The concert was in aid of the Balfour Hospital funds, and was largely attended both evenings. On Thursday evening, Rev. R. R. Davidson acted as chairman. At the close of the programme, he called for a vote of thanks for the performers. Mr Fred lnkster, Greenfield, then called for a vote of thanks for the chairman and the pianists, Mrs Paterson and Mrs Craigie. Dr Paterson occupied the chair on Friday evening. After the concert, he called for votes of thanks for the performers and the pianists. Mr J. Gibson, Hullion, called for a vote of thanks for the chairman. The school was then cleared, and a very jolly dance followed. The Committee take this opportunity of thanking all those who supplied music at the dance. Special thanks are due to Mrs Paterson, Brinian House, and Mrs Craigie, Hunclett, who played the accompaniments, to Mrs Marwick, Breck, and Miss Mainland, Westness, for making the tea on Friday night, and to all those who helped in any way to make the concert a success. Guessing competitions were held both evenings. The winners, were – Miss Mainland, Westness, who won the box of chocolates, and Mr J. Marwick, Innister, who won the clock. The total collection amounted to £12 12s 1d. After expenses have been paid, the committee hope to be able to hand over £10 to the hospital funds.

Annexed is the programme: – Chairman’s remarks; musical selections; sea shanties, male chorus; sailor’s hornpipe, Messrs J. Gibson and J. Yorston; solo, “If I Built a World for You,” Miss Maisie Mainland; dialogue, “The Registrar,” Messrs J. Craigie and G. Sutherland; song, “My Man John,” Miss Reid, Messrs J. Grieve and H. Marwick; solo, “Love’s Old Sweet Song,” Mr Wm. Gibson; monologue, “Off for a Holiday,” Mrs Wm. Marwick; solo, “The Little Silver Ring,” Mrs R. Johnston; sketch, “The Wrong Flat,” (by permission of the publishers, Abel, Heywood & Son, Ltd., Manchester); musical selections – violins, Messrs D. Craigie, J. Sinclair and J. Yorston, piano, Mrs A. Craigie; solo, “The Garden of Your Heart,” Miss Maisie Mainland; recitation, ”The Laird’s Proposal,” Mr James Craigie; solo, “Silly Girl,” Mr Wm. Gibson; sketch, “Lodgings to Let”; n—– choruses; “God Save the King.” On Friday evening, Mrs Robert Johnston rendered a second solo, “Bird-Songs at Eventide,” by special request.

1937 March 24 Orkney Herald

AN ORKNEY POLICEMAN FOR THE CORONATION. – His friends throughout the county will be pleased to learn that Mr William Balfour Mainland, son of the late Mr and Mrs John Mainland, Weyland, Egilshay, and brother of Constable Thomas Mainland, Stromness, has been picked as one of a detachment of thirty-two members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to visit London for the Coronation of King George VI. on May 12th. Mr Mainland is stationed at Cardston, Alberta, and his detachment, after spending six weeks in special training at Regina, will leave for England with their horses. It is not known whether Mr Mainland will get leave to enable him to travel to Orkney. He is anxious to renew old acquaintances, and hopes that any of his friends who happen to be in London at that time will try to get in touch with him. Even in London thirty-two mounted Canadian policemen should be fairly easily found.

1937 April 14 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CORONATION CELEBRATION. – Rousay means to make Coronation Day a memorable occasion. Suggestions already advanced include a fancy dress cycle parade and children’s treat. Steps are being taken to form a committee to co-ordinate the island’s celebrations.

VISIT OF CONCERT PARTY. – A large amount of pleasure and amusement has been provided this week by a visit from the Sisters McGregor concert party. Billed to appear in the Hall on Monday and Tuesday, 5th and 6th April, they were received by large audiences, and by special request stayed on and repeated their high-class performance on Wednesday evening. Miss Greta McGregor, a beautiful and talented singer, delighted with her superb rendering of old Scotch songs. Miss Gladys McGregor proved to be a comedienne of irresistible attraction and also an expert Highland dancer, while Mr Will Mach in song, dance and story captivated old and young alike with his fund of humour. Double turns by the sisters and sketches by the company added to the enjoyment of a programme of almost three hours’ duration, and without one dull moment. We congratulate the Sisters McGregor on their enterprise in bringing such a talented company so far north, and hope they will visit up again at an early date, when they are assured of a hearty welcome back.

1937 April 21 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – WANTED. – Anything that will burn for bonfire above Kingerly. Every little helps. Help a little by bringing any old rubbish you have, and make the Rousay bonfire the fire of the century.

CORONATION DAY IN ROUSAY. – Granted good weather and, more important still, the full support of the public, Coronation Day in Rousay should be crowned with the success it deserves. The District Council, headed by Mr Fred T. Inkster, J.P., met with the Coronation Committee on Friday, when the programme for the day was arranged. Subject to revision, the following programme has been drawn up: – 2 p.m., children’s party with film show; 3.30 p.m., fancy dress parade; 4.30 p.m., tea; 5.30 p.m., presentation of coronation mugs to children under 14 and of parade prizes; 6.15 film show, followed by dancing; 8 p.m., broadcast of King’s speech, followed by dancing and supper; 11 p.m., bonfire. Provided the necessary permission is obtained, the bonfire is to be built on a knowe above Kingerly. In the fancy dress parade prizes are to be awarded for the best decorated turn-out in (1) cars, (2) motor cycles and motor cycle combinations, (3) bicycles, (4) carts, (5) horses, (6) wheelbarrows, (7) prams, (8) pedestrians, and a first and second prize for the two most comical turnouts in the parade.

1937 April 28 Orkney Herald

MERRY DANCERS. – A brilliant display of aurora borealis was witnessed from almost all districts of Orkney on Saturday night. Traces of the northern lights were first seen about 10.30 and they did not fade from the sky till long after midnight. At times almost the whole sky was lit up with the flitting shafts of green and blood red light. The sky was cloudless and the drifting, shooting radiance stretched from zenith to horizon. The full effect of the spectacle was lost, however, owing to the efforts of the full moon to outshine the merry dancers.

[The eloquent Evie correspondent now describes what he saw…..]

PAGEANT OF THE SKY. – A brilliant display of aurora was witnessed here on Saturday night. The evening was perfect – calm and cloudless with a brilliant moon, and many stars of the first magnitude lighting up the firmament, the late afterglow of the sun lingering picturesquely in the north. Suddenly and unexpectedly, about 10.30, aurora lights shot over the clear vault of blue, darting magically in all directions, streamers from east and west, meeting in the zenith sometimes forming a cross and again an unbroken belt, and anon madly careering over the zodiac. Had the night been moonless the effect of the radiance of this attractive spectacle must have been remarkable. Such a vast display is a rare occurrence so late in the spring and with so high a barometer.

1937 May 12 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CORONATION PREPARATIONS. – The Coronation Committee have their arrangements well in hand, and are now anxiously watching the barometer and listening to weather forecasts. Throughout the week, spars of wood have been transported from the joiner shops to various corners of the island, and the postman has delivered more than one parcel of cotton and decorations.

1937 May 19 Orkney Herald

A MEMORABLE DAY IN ROUSAY. – The folk of Rousay are still talking – and will talk for many a day – about the good time they had on Coronation Day, which was crowned with success from beginning to end. Houses, especially in the vicinity of the hall, were flying flags, while the hall itself was gaily sporting strings of red, white and blue pennants.

As 2 p.m. approached, the children of Rousay and Wyre began to gather in the hall, which had been made wonderfully gay and festive with tricolour streamers, gilt crowns, and coats of arms, &c. From 2 till 3.30 games were played in the hall (with a break for cream cookies and biscuits), while, in the school, older people inspected an exhibition of Coronation handwork made by the school children.

By this time a huge crowd had congregated around the playground of the school across the road, and there was evidence that the judges of the fancy-dress parade were going to have a busy time making their decisions. Each section, as they paraded in the playground, impressed and surprised judges and spectators alike. The judging over, the complete parade made a circular tour round Hurtiso Mill.

A royal tea came next. The hall proved much too small for the crowd, but the overflow found comfortable seats along the dykes outside. When tea was over, everybody gathered round a table on the road for presentation of prizes by Mrs Walter G. Grant of Trumland. Mr John R. Wallace spoke briefly of the occasion. After everybody had joined heartily in “God Save the King,” he went on to express the pleasure they all had in welcoming Mrs Grant and Mrs Low of Westness, who had acted so satisfactorily as judges. They regretted that Mrs Laurie had been unable to officiate. Mrs Grant presented the prizes and then the Coronation mugs and chocolate to the children – the mugs being the gifts of the teachers. At this point, Irene Hourie, Ann Lyon and James Pirie (chosen by ballot among the scholars) came and presented the judges with bouquets, each in Coronation colours. After Mr Wallace called for votes of thanks for all the kind friends who had helped, Mr Davidson, on behalf of those present, expressed thanks to the Coronation Committee for all the work they had done.

In the evening, while dancing was kept going in the hall, three shows of films were given in the school on a Pathé projector very kindly loaned by Mr A. Harcus, Kirkwall Grammar School. Three films were shown each time – a Mickey Mouse cartoon, “War’s Declared,” “Hearts of Oak” (the epic Zeebruge incident) and “News Review for 1936.”

At 7.45, everybody again congregated in the hall, where, by means of two wireless sets, they listened with deep interest to the King’s speech, preceded by messages of loyal greeting from the Empire. Supper was served at 10 o’clock, and immediately afterwards, everybody made tracks for the site of the bonfire above Kingerly. At 11 p.m., after appropriate remarks by Mr Davidson and the singing of “God Save the King,” Mr James Munro, the builder, lit this first-class bonfire. In the hall afterwards, dancing continued with enthusiasm till approximately 2.15 a.m.

The Committee wish to take this opportunity of expressing their thanks to all those who, in any way, so willingly gave their assistance before, on, or after this great occasion.

The following were on the Coronation Committee: – Mesdames H. I. Gibson, Bigland, and R. Shearer, Curquoy; Misses J. C. Cooper, Glebe, K. Craigie, Furse, K. M. Gibson, Hullion, T. Kirkness, Quoyostray, A. Logie, Ivy Cottage, T. S. Mathieson, Wasbister Schoolhouse, V. Reid, Tratland; Rev. R. R. Davidson; Messrs J. Clouston, Tou, J. Cormack, Pier, D. Craigie, Hunclett, J. W. Grieve, Whitehall, M. Hourie, Maybank, T. W. Inkster, Woo, and J. R. Wallace, Sourin Schoolhouse.

The prize-winners were as follows: – Cars – Mr Davidson (Coronation Car); motor cycles – Mr F. Kirkness (Aeroplane); wheelbarrows – Mr Corsie (Baby’s Pram); bicycles – Miss Cooper (Clucking Hen); prams – Miss E. Clouston (One of the Kent Bairns); carts – Mr H. Sinclair (Royal Carriage); horses – Master T. Linklater (Coronation Jockey); pedestrians – Mr M. Hourie (Viking); children – 1 Irene Hourie (Queen), 2 Thelma Shearer (Mary and her little lamb); comical – 1 Miss K. Gibson, Avelshay (Granny on her Scooter), 2 Miss C. Sinclair (Down and Out). Words formed from “George Elizabeth” (Schoolchildren’s competition) – Irene Hourie, 759.

1937 May 26 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CORONATION SOUVENIRS. – It is indeed a good thing to be a child in Rousay and Wyre these days. Through the kindness of two donors who wish to remain anonymous, each child in these two islands has received a new threepenny piece to add to their souvenirs of the Coronation. The children all want to thank the two kind and thoughtful friends who made this gift.

COLLECTION IN AID OF BALFOUR HOSPITAL. – The school children of Rousay made a collection on Saturday, 8th inst., as a small Coronation gift for the Balfour Hospital. Mr Duncan J. Robertson [in his role as treasurer to the hospital trustees] has acknowledged the receipt of £4 3s 3d.

1937 July 14 Orkney Herald

WYRE – HOEING MATCH. – On Tuesday evening, 6th inst., a hoeing match was held on a field kindly granted by Mr Robert A. Inkster, Cavit. In spite of adverse weather conditions, a fair number of competitors turned out. Mr W. G. Marwick, Rousay, and Mr John Petrie, Wyre, judged the work, and their decision gave entire satisfaction. Mr James Johnston, Trumland Farm, Rousay, kindly visited the field, thus enabling the Highland and Agricultural Society’s medal to be granted. Mr and Mrs Inkster, assisted by a band of willing helpers, entertained the company to a sumptuous supper, which was followed by a jolly dance. Annexed is the prize list: – 1 and H. & A. Society’s medal, William Craigie, Rusness; 2 Helen Flaws, Castlehall; 3 Magnus Flaws, Castlehall; 4 James Flaws, Castlehall; 5 Charles Craigie, Rusness; 6 John Johnston, Testaquoy; 7 William Smith, Helziegetha; 8 Neil Flaws, Helziegetha; 9 Mrs M. Flaws, jr., Helziegetha; 10 George Sutherland, Bu; 11 Emslie Craigie, Trumland, Rousay; 12 Mary Petrie, Oniziebust.

1937 July 21 Orkney Herald



The closing stages of Rousay regatta, held on Friday in Wyre Sound, brought a big thrill for spectators, when one of the competing boats capsized and two men aboard were flung into the water, from which they were quickly rescued by a motor boat.

The boat which figured in this incident was the Molly, an eleven-foot dinghy, belonging to Mr Magnus Flaws, Helsigar, Wyre. The two members of her crew were Messrs Tom Sinclair [Banks, Frotoft] and Emsley Craigie [Rusness, Wyre], the former acting as skipper.

The Molly was competing in the race for local boats, the last sailing event of the regatta. Placed fourth, she had just crossed the finishing line when her jib caught on the end of the bowsprit. Craigie, going up to the bow to free it, over-balanced, and caught the mast to steady himself, but the small craft, which carried no ballast, immediately heeled over, flinging Craigie and Sinclair into the water. The boat lay on her beam ends in the water with her mast and sail lying on the surface and preventing her from turning bottom up. Craigie and Sinclair, after struggling in the water for a few moments, caught hold of the overturned boat and held on while motor boats from the pier raced to the rescue. The mishap occurred a matter of only 20 yards from the pier in a depth of about 2½ fathoms. The two men were picked up by the motor boat Eva (Mr Wylie) which was the first to reach them. Sinclair, who is a good swimmer, told the rescuers to pick up Craigie first. Neither of the two men was any the worse for his adventure, save for a soaking. The capsized boat was later towed ashore.

The regatta was favoured with glorious weather, blazing sunshine, blue skies and just the right amount of wind from W.N.W. The entry of boats was slightly lower than usual, but the standard of seamanship was as high as ever. Kirkwall boats won all open events, the barometer for 22ft. yachts going to Mr J. Laird’s Gazelle, while the l8ft. and 14ft. Class trophies went to Mr D. Kirkpatrick (Pansy) and Mr T. Hutchison (Laura) respectively. Owing to a protest having been lodged in the all-comers’ race, the winner is still undecided.

There was a large attendance at the regatta, many Kirkwall folk travelling out with the s.s. Earl Sigurd. Among the spectators of the racing during the day were Mr Eric Linklater, the novelist, and his wife, who were guests of the Rousay Sailing Club’s Commodore, Mr Walter G. Grant of Trumland House.

…..There was an eventful start in the all comers’ race, for which eleven boats competed. Gazelle was over the line too soon and had to double back and start again. Her manoeuvre caused some confusion among the following boats, and the Pansy and Sea Imp collided, a collision which had a sequel at the finish of the race.

Sea Imp, sailing well, ran Into the lead on the second arm of the course, but was overtaken by clever sailing on the part of the Gazelle, which had quickly made up the leeway she originally lost. A great finish was seen between Sea Imp and Gazelle. Gazelle looked as if she was going to cross the line without changing course, but her run took her outside the buoy, and she was forced to tack to come inside. While this manoeuvre was being carried out the Sea Imp came up and crossed the line. Mizpah crossed close on the heels of Gazelle. The result of the all comers’ race is still in the balance as at the finish of the race a protest was entered against Sea Imp by Mr D. Kirkpatrick, owner of the Pansy, on the score of its colliding with his boat. The committee of the Club will meet to consider its decision on the matter.

Misfortune befell the Vala of Kirkwall, which was lying very favourably and looked like retaining the cup, when she snapped the peak lashing of her mainsail, and was put out of the running. Laura was again the first of the small boats.

The race for local boats was notable for the disaster to the Molly. Daisy sailed well to take first in the small class. No motor boat race was held, and the regatta concluded with the rowing contests.

The office-bearers of the Rousay Sailing Club are: – Commodore, Mr Walter G. Grant; vice-commodore, Mr James S. Gibson, Hullion; secretary, George Sutherland, Veira View; treasurer, Mr James Craigie, Pier Cottage. The secretary and an able committee carried out all arrangements to perfection. The vice-commodore acted as timekeeper for the regatta, and the treasurer was starter.

During the day delightful teas were served at the pierhead under the auspices of the Club, the catering being excellently attended to by a willing band of lady helpers, headed by Mrs Leonard.

At the finish of the day’s proceedings the prizes were presented by Mrs Michie, wife of Dr Michie, former Medical Officer of the island. Mrs Michie was heartily thanked for her services and another hearty vote of thanks was accorded the ladies’ committee.

A wonderful dance was held in the evening in the Comrades’ Hall to delightful music by the Wasbister Dance Orchestra…..

1937 July 28 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY REGATTA PROTEST DECISION. – A meeting of the Committee of the Rousay Sailing Club was held on Wednesday, 21st July, to consider further the matter of the protest lodged against the yacht Sea Imp at the beginning of the all- comers’ race at the Rousay Regatta on Friday, 16th July. The conclusion arrived at was that, as the prizes had already been handed out, the prize-list for the race remains as originally stated, viz: – 1 Sea Imp (W. Sinclair), 2 Mizpah (W. Grieve), 3 Gazelle (J. Laird).

WYRE – CROPS. – The oat crop is now coming on very fast and will be a heavy crop in another six weeks, when it should be ready for culling. Hay, though “coled,” is not improving with the past week’s rain. Turnips are growing well, but finger-and-toe* is beginning to put in an appearance in the swedes. Grass, however, is growing better after the rain, and will be more plentiful at the end of the season than at the beginning.

[* ‘finger-and-toe’, also known as club root – was caused by the abundance of lime in the soil, inhibiting or preventing the growth of the crop]

1937 August 18 Orkney Herald


With stern smashed, an empty lifeboat, bearing part of a Scandinavian port’s name of “Sund,” has been found drifting in Eynhallow Sound. The boat is sixteen feet long, and, judging by the tackle in it, had been lowered from a ship.




A slight decrease in the number of entries was more than compensated for by the splendid quality of the stock exhibited at Rousay Agricultural Society’s annual show last Tuesday. The judges, both East Mainland men, commented with enthusiasm upon the excellence of the animals put before them in all classes.

Beautiful weather favoured the occasion, and Rousay, one of the most attractive of the islands, looked at its best. The show, held at the farm of Banks by kind permission of Mr Seatter, was set against the charming Sourin background of green fields and brown hills, and drew big crowds of spectators from all over the island. From Kirkwall, by the s.s. Earl Sigurd, came another large party of visitors. An additional attraction for the spectators was the Rousay Horticultural Society’s flower and industrial show, held in a hall nearby.

The championships were won by: in the horse section, Mr G. Reid, Tratland, and in the cattle section, Miss Gibson, Avelshay.

Judges’ Remarks. – Their comments were as follows: – “Horses were a great show all over. “The champion was a two-year-old filly, a good type of filly showing plenty of good, strong flat bone. She had a sound foot and was a good mover. “The reserve was a first-class gelding, a particularly good mover, but needing his weight for a gelding. “The first prize draught mare was a good type of mare, a bit plain in her ankles, and the best brood mare was also a good animal, but was too open in her movement. “Foals were a good class. “Three-year-old geldings were really the best class, though they were a small class.

“It was a particularly good show of cattle, all the animals being shown in excellent bloom. “Cows were an extra strong class, the champion cow, which was the champion of the show, being outstanding. She was a fine, level-headed animal, showing plenty of strength about her. The reserve champion of the show was a yearling heifer of good quality, but inclined to be rough, though she had great size. “The first prize two-year-old heifer was a good animal, and the calves were a splendid show. The first and second prize calves were really two excellent animals.

“Sheep were a bigger and better show this year, the best show of sheep we have seen in Rousay yet. The tups in the whole show were as good as anything that has been seen there. “The champion was a half-bred ewe with a fine head and a good coat.

“All over, in all sections of the show, the quality was first-class. We were greatly struck, incidentally, by the very sporting spirit displayed by the exhibitors.”

Show Arrangements. – Arrangements for the show were splendidly carried through by Mr John Linklater, Blossom, Society’s secretary, and the following: – Messrs R. Mainland, Nearhouse (president of the Society), R. Seatter, Banks (vice- president), R. Shearer, Curquoy (treasurer), R. Johnston, Trumland; J. Mainland, Westness; John Craigie, Furse; S. Inkster, Wasdale; Hugh Craigie, Scockness; Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso; George Reid, Tratland, and David Moar, Saviskaill (stewards).

The ladies who catered for the judges, officials, and committees of both Agricultural and Horticultural Societies were: – Mrs Ronald Shearer (convener), Mrs S. Inkster, Mrs R. Mainland, and Miss Margaret Lyon.

Public teas were catered for by Mrs H. I. Gibson (convener), Mrs Robert Grieve, Miss Minnie Reid, Miss Alice Mainland, Miss Molly Mainland, and Miss Annie Craigie.

Cattle show and industrial show prizes were gracefully handed over by Mrs Robert Mainland, Nearhouse, at the close of the day’s proceedings, in the presence of an enthusiastic crowd.

PRIZE LIST. – SHEEP. – Pair H.B. Ewes – 1 Jas. Lyon, Ervadale; 2 Wm. Inkster, Woo; 3 R. Seatter, Banks; 4 Albert Munro, Old School; 5 James Sabiston, Gripps. Pair H.B. Gimmers – 1 Jas. Sabiston. Pair H.B. Lambs – 1 Wm. Inkster; 2 and 4 R. Seatter; 3 James Sabiston. Rams – 1 Jas. Sabiston; 2 James Lyon.

CATTLE. – Calves (1st Oct.) – 1 John Linklater, Blossom; 2 and 4 Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso; 3 James Craigie, Falquoy. Calves (1st March) 1 Hugh Robertson, Langskaill; 2, 3 and 5 Hugh Mainland; 4 Jas. Russell, Brendale. Polled Cows – 1 Mrs Gibson, Avelshay; 2 John Linklater; 3 and 5 D. Moar, Saviskaill; 4 and 6 Jas. Craigie. Shorthorn cows – 1 Jas. Craigie. Three-year-old polled cows – 1 Mrs Gibson; 2 Hugh Mainland; 3 Jas. Craigie; 4 Hugh Robertson. Three-year-old Shorthorn cows – 1 Hugh Robertson. Two-year-old polled queys – 1 Mrs Gibson; 2 Harry Sinclair, Knarston; 3 Robert Johnston, Trumland; 4 Alan Gibson, Bigland; 5 John Harcus, Gorehouse; 6 Hugh Mainland. Two-year-old Shorthorn queys – 1 John Linklater; 2 Hugh Mainland. Yearling polled queys – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson; 3 Hugh Mainland; 4 Hugh Robertson. Yearling polled steers (1st October) – 1 D. Moar; 2 and 3 Hugh Robertson; 4 Hugh Mainland. Yearling polled queys – 1 Hugh Robertson; 2 and 3 Hugh Mainland. Yearling polled steers (1st March) – 1 D. Moar: 2 Hugh Mainland; 3 and 4 J. Russell; 5 Hugh Robertson; 6 John Costie, Standpretty. Work Stots, any age – 1 John Harcus; 2 John Costie; 3 James Munro, Breval.

HORSES. – Mares with foal at foot – 1 and 2 Hugh Mainland; D. Moar. Foals – 1 D. Moar; 2 G. Reid, Tratland; 3 Hugh Mainland. Three-year-old geldings – 1 J. Craigie, Furse; 2 James Russell. Three-year-old fillies – 1 H. Sinclair, Knarston. Two-year-old geldings – 1 H. Robertson; 2 James Russell; 3 Robert Seatter. Two-year-old fillies – 1 G. Reid. Yearling geldings – 1 R. Johnston; 2 Hugh Robertson; 3 James Craigie. Yearling fillies – 1 S. Inkster, Wasdale; 2 W. Corsie, Glebe; 3 R. Seatter; 4 D. Moar.

SPECIAL PRIZES. – Board of Agriculture’s prizes – Heifers – 1 H. Sinclair, 2 J. LinkIater, 3 R. Johnston. Mares – 1 H. Sinclair. Cup from Mr J. T. Flett, butcher, Kirkwall, for best animal in horse sections – G. Reid; reserve Jas. Craigie. Cup from Rev. R. Davidson, M.A., for best animal in cattle section – 1 and reserve, Mrs Gibson. Cup from Mr George Robertson for best cow (under £20 rental) – J. Linklater; reserve, John Harcus. Cup from Mr Robert Marwick for best animal in horse section (under £20 rental) – 1 and reserve, G. Reid. Cup from Mr W. Bertram, saddler, Kirkwall, for best Clydesdale mare – G. Reid; reserve, R. Johnston. Cup from R. Garden Ltd., Kirkwall, for best mare with foal at foot – Hugh Mainland; reserve, G. Reid. Cup from Mr John Kemp, jeweller, Kirkwall, for best yearling colt or filly – R. Johnston; reserve, S. Inkster. Cup from Northern Farmers’ Co-operative Society Ltd., for best pair of yearling cattle – Mrs Gibson; reserve, D. Moar. Cup from Mr Ralph Miller, Kirkwall, for best two-year-old quey carrying first calf – H. Sinclair; reserve, J. Linklater. Cup from ex-Police Inspector David J. Inkster, Kirkwall, for best Shorthorn cow – Jas. Craigie; reserve, D. Moar. Cup from Messrs T. Smith Peace, auctioneers, Kirkwall, for best Shorthorn under 2½ years – J. Linklater; reserve, Hugh Mainland. Cup from Messrs Reith & Anderson, Ltd., auctioneers, Aberdeen, for best 5 lambs – R. Seatter; reserve, J. Inkster. Cup from Dr Paterson, Brinian House, for best cog-fed calf – J. Linklater; reserve, Hugh Mainland. Silver Rose Bowl from Orkney Agricultural Discussion Society, Kirkwall, for best four cattle – Mrs Gibson; reserve, D. Moar. Barometer from Messrs Mainland Bros. for best foal – D. Moar; reserve, J. Reid. Silver teapot from Rousay Co-operative Society, Ltd., for best yearling bullock or heifer – Mrs Gibson; reserve, D. Moar. Electro-plate nickel silver vase from Messrs Wm. Shearer, merchants, Kirkwall, for best gelding – J. Craigie; reserve, R. Johnston. Gold medal from Mr Alex. Webster for best cow in yard – Mrs Gibson; reserve, John Linklater. Medal from P. C. Flett & Co., Kirkwall, for best calf – John Linklater; reserve, Hugh Robertson. Medal by anonymous donor for best butcher’s beast – 1 and reserve, Mrs Gibson. Medal from Mr Stanley Firth, merchant, Finstown, for single sheep – James Lyon; reserve, John Inkster. Medal from Mr Ralph Miller, Kirkwall, for best shoed horse – J. Leonard; reserve, J Craigie. Medal from Mr Wm. Brough, jeweller, Kirkwall and Stromness, for best pair ewes – James Lyon; reserve, John Inkster. Medal from Mrs Graham, Kirkwall, for best animal in cattle section (under £20 rental)  – 1 and reserve, John Linklater. Medal from Mr W. Duncan Reid, commission agent, Kirkwall, for best gelding – J. Craigie; reserve, R. Johnston. Prizes from Messrs J. & W. Tait, merchants, Kirkwall, for most entries – H. Mainland.

After the show, the judges were entertained to a sumptuous lunch in Sourin School. Mr R. Mainland (president) paid tribute to the judges for their good work. Mr Shearer and Mr Smith, in reply, thanked the Society for their hospitality.




A magnificent display of flowers was the feature of Rousay Horticultural Society’s annual flower and industrial show, held at the Comrades’ Hall, Sourin, last Tuesday. Rousay gardeners were to be congratulated, said the judges, on putting up such a fine show, considering the bad season.

The show attracted a large gathering of spectators during the day, and the display, both in the flower and industrial sections, received high praise from all.

The judges were: – Flowers, fruit and vegetables – Mr John Sclater, Kirkwall; industrial work – Miss Rose Leith, Kirkwall; dairy produce – Miss Helen Boyd, Kirkwall; baking – Mr W. T. Moncrieff, Kirkwall.

Judges’ Comments. – Miss Leith said: – “The industrial display is better than it was last year, but not quite so good as it was two years ago. I would like to see more variety in the work. Knitting is good and jumpers are good, but too few. Embroidery contains some very fine work, but Rousay does not seem to have the time or inclination for fancy work.

A new feature of the show upon which Miss Leith commented was two entries of home woven tweed by Mr William Grieve of Digro, a small farmer partially disabled in the War. Mr Grieve was taught weaving by one of the disabled soldiers’ schemes, and is able to work at his loom as well as carry on his croft.

There were good entries of handwriting, sewing and knitting in the children’s section.

Mr Sclater, who is presenting a cup for competition next year said: – “The outstanding feature of the flower show was one bowl of cut flowers, which was very nicely set up. The dahlias and astelbe were outstanding. To look at them you would hardly have known it has been a bad season. “The children’s bouquets of wild flowers were very nice. The second prize was a better collection than the first, but was not so well arranged. “In arranging flowers blooms should be limited to a certain number; displays should not be overcrowded. “In the vegetable section, carrots were very good, cabbage was good, and the leeks were splendid.”

Mr Moncrieff said of the baking – “This is the most successful show for baking I have seen in Rousay. Drop scones, Victoria sandwich and the Queen cakes were extra good. The first prize currant loaf was outstanding. There was a big entry of bere scones, which were very good and difficult to judge.”

Miss Floyd said: – “The dairy produce on the whole was very good. Butter was excellent, but eggs were not so good as I have seen them – too many of the exhibits showing a lack of freshness. “Cheese was very good and the placed entries in butter were special.”

Show arrangements were admirably carried out by Mr J. W. Grieve, Whitehall, secretary, and an able committee. Caterers were the same as for the cattle show.

THE PRIZE LIST – INDUSTRIAL SECTION. – School Children – Sewing (plain) – 1 Edith Gibson, 2 Isobel Pirie, 3 Phebe Marwick; knitting (plain) – 1 Isobel Pirie, 2 Dorothy Mainland, 3 Evelyn Clouston; embroidery – 1 Evelyn Clouston, 2 Irene Hourie, 3 Isobel Pirie. Homespun Knitting – Socks – 1 Miss Kirkness, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Plain Wool Knitting (socks) – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Reid. Knitted Jumpers – 1 Mrs A. M. Sinclair, 2 Miss A. H. Craigie, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Homespun Wool – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Embroidery – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs A. M. Sinclair. Wool Embroidery – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Thora Kirkness. Homespun Cloth – 1 and 2 William Grieve. Home-made Rug – 1 Miss J. Donaldson, 2 Miss M. Cooper. Raffia Work – (juvenile) – 1 Willie Donaldson. School Writing – 1 W. Grieve, 2 Wm. Donaldson, 3 Thelma Shearer. Fretwork – 1, 2 and 3 J. C. Harcus. Special Prizes – Handwork – Mrs H. I. Gibson; plain knitting – Miss Thora Kirkness; most points in industrial section – Mrs H. I. Gibson; handwriting – Robert Grieve; school sewing – Edith Gibson.

BAKING. – Fruit Cake – 1 Cathie Grieve, 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Mabel Grieve. Gingerbread – 1 Mrs T. Sinclair, 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Alice Mainland. Currant Bun – 1 Mabel Sinclair, 2 and 3 Alice Mainland. Madeira cake – 1 Mabel Sinclair, 2 Mrs T. Sinclair, 3 Alice Mainland. Queen Cakes – 1 Clara Donaldson, 2 Mrs Marwick, 3 Margaret Lyon. Shortbread (thick) – 1 and 2 Mrs D. Pirie, 3 Mrs R. Shearer. Swiss Roll – 1 Jean Donaldson, 2 Mrs R. Shearer, 3 Cathie Grieve. Jam Sandwich – 1 Alice Mainland, 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Mrs R. Shearer. Shortbread (thin) – 1 Jean Donaldson, 2 and 3 Clara Donaldson. Rock Cakes – 1 and 2 Alice Mainland, 3 Mrs D. Pirie. Cheese Cakes – 1 and 3 Cissie Sinclair, 2 Mrs Marwick. Dropped Scones – 1 Mrs J. S. Gibson, 2 Isobel Pirie, 3 Cathie Grieve. Victoria Sandwich – 1 Thora Kirkness, 2 and 3 Mrs Shearer. Oven Scones – 1 and 2 Alice Mainland, 3 Mrs D. Pirie. Pancakes – prizes withheld, only one entry. Sweet Currant Scones – 1 Mrs D. Pirie, 2 Mabel Sinclair, 3 Cissie Sinclair. Girdle Scones – 1 Mrs Marwick, 2 Mrs Shearer, 3 Cissie Sinclair. Bere Bannocks – 1 Mabel Sinclair 2 and 3 Cissie Sinclair. Oatcakes (thick) – 1 Dorothy Mainland, 2 Mrs Craigie, Breck; 3 Alice Mainland. Oatcakes (thin) – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Craigie.

FLOWERS AND VEGETABLES. – Cabbage – 1 and 2 James Gibson, 3 Hugh Yorston. Cauliflower – 1 and 3 Hugh Yorston, 2 Jas. Gibson. Lettuce (cabbage) – 1 and 3 Hugh Yorston, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Lettuce (cos) – 1 Hugh Yorston, 2 and 3 Ann Lyon. Shallots – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Leeks – I, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Radish – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Parsley – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Turnip (white) – 1 James Gibson, 2 Hugh Yorston, 3 Thora Kirkness. Turnip (yellow) – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Turnip (field) – 1 Mabel Sinclair. Beet (round) – 1 James Sinclair, 2 and 3 James Gibson. Beet (long) – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Carrot (stump) – 1, 2 and 3 J. Craigie. Carrot (intermediate) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Carrot (long) – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Potatoes (long, white) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Dorothy Mainland, 3 Thora Kirkness. Potatoes (round, white) – 1 and 2 Thora Kirkness. Potatoes (long, coloured) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Mrs J. Craigie. Potatoes (round, coloured) 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston. Rhubarb – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 and 3 Hugh Yorston.

FRUIT. – Black Currants – 1 and 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Mrs Craigie. Strawberries – 1 Mrs Craigie. Gooseberries – 1 Dorothy Mainland. Peas – 1 and 2 Hugh Yorston, 3 James Gibson. Beans – 1 Jas. Gibson.

FLOWERS. – Bowl of Cut Flowers – 1 Mrs Craigie, 2 Mrs Marwick, 3 Alice Mainland. Poppies (single) – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson; ditto. (double) – 1 Mrs J. W. Grieve, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Fuchsia – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Honeysuckle – 1 and 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Peggy Corsie. Marigold – 1 Mrs Craigie, 2 Mrs Marwick, 3 Jas. Gibson. Geraniums – 1, 2 and 3 Evelyn Clouston. Stocks – 1 Mrs Craigie, 2 Jas. Gibson. Chrysanthemums – 1 Dorothy Mainland, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Marguerites – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Mimulus – 1 and 2 Dorothy Mainland, 3 Peggy Corsie. Nemesia – 1 Mrs Marwick, 2 and 3 Peggy Corsie. Aconites – 1 Peggy Corsie. Sweet Williams – 1 and 2 Ann Lyon, 3 Annie M. Craigie. Candytuft – 1 Mrs Marwick, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Nemophila – 1 and 3 Thora Kirkness, 2 Mrs Marwick. Forget-me-not – 1 Mrs J. W. Grieve, 2 and 3 Dorothy Mainland. Virginian Stock – 1 Mrs Marwick, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Night-scented Stock – 1 and 2 Thora Kirkness. Roses – 1 James Gibson, 2 Ann Lyon, 3 Mrs Craigie. Rambler Roses – 1 Ann Lyon. Veronica – 1 Thora Kirkness, 2 and 3 Dorothy Mainland. Escholtzia – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Single Begonia – 1 Mrs Marwick. Dahlia – 1 James Gibson. Violas – 1 and 2 James Gibson, 3 Mrs Grieve. Pansies – 1 and 2 James Gibson, 3 Mrs Marwick. Nasturtium – 1 and 2 James Gibson. Sweet Peas – 1 Mrs Marwick. Asters – 1 James Gibson. Bouquet of Wild Flowers – 1 Dorothy Mainland, 2 Bertie Grieve, 3 Evelyn Clouston.

SPECIAL PRIZES. – Cauliflowers – Hugh Yorston; most points in vegetable section Hugh Yorston. Bowl of Cut Flowers – Mrs Craigie. Rose Bowl from Messrs Cumming & Spence, merchants, Kirkwall, for salt and fresh butter – Mrs A. M. Sinclair, Langskaill. Medal from Messrs James Flett & Sons, merchants, Kirkwall for most points in dairy produce – Mrs A. M. Sinclair. Case of Silver Teaspoons from Mrs W. G. Grant of Trumland for best butter – Miss Minnie Reid. Prize from Messrs J. F. Groundwater, merchants, Kirkwall, for bere bannocks – Mabel Sinclair. Prize from Mr James Linklater, merchant, Dounby, for Oatcakes – Dorothy Mainland. Prize from Mr Wm. T. Moncrieff (the judge), Kirkwall, for Swiss Roll – Jean Donaldson. Prize from James Flett & Sons, Kirkwall, for Currant Bun – Mabel Sinclair. Prize from The Leonards, stationers, Kirkwall, for most points in baking – Alice Mainland. Prize from Mr George Newlands, Kirkwall, for Sweet Milk Cheese – Mrs H. I. Gibson. Prize from Mr George Newlands for Pot of Preserves – Mrs Craigie (Furse). Prize from Mr James T. Norn, Kirkwall, for Eggs – Mrs J. Craigie, jr. (Breck). Prize from Mr John Kemp, jeweller, Kirkwall, for Vase of Cut Flowers – Mrs Craigie (Furse). Prize from P. C. Flett & Co., Kirkwall, for Cauliflower – Hugh Yorston. Prize from Mr George Reid, chemist, Kirkwall, for most points in vegetable section – Hugh Yorston. Prize from G. Rendall & Co., for Handiwork – Mrs H. I. Gibson. Prize from Mr Geo. T. Arthur, baker, Kirkwall, for Plain Knitting – Thora Kirkness. Prize from Messrs P. L. Johnston & Son, merchants, Stromness, for Most Points in Industrial Section – Mrs H. I. Gibson. Prize from Mr James Gibson for Handwriting – Robert Grieve. Prize from Miss Lydia A. Robertson, merchant, Kirkwall, for School Sewing – Edith Gibson. Prize from R. Garden, Ltd., for Most Entries – Mrs M. Kirkness, Quoyostray.

DAIRY PRODUCE AND PRESERVES. – Cheese – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Alice Mainland. Hen Egg (brown) – 1 and 2 Mrs Craigie, jr., Breck; 3 Mrs Seatter. Hen Eggs (white) – 1 Alice Mainland, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Mrs Seatter. Duck Eggs 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Sally Linklater. Fresh Butter – 1 and 2 Mrs A. M. Sinclair, 3 Minnie Reid. Salt Butter – 1 Minnie Reid, 2 and 3 Mrs A. M. Sinclair. Table Butter – 1 and 2 Mrs A. M. Sinclair, 3 Minnie Reid. Preserves – Apricot Jam – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Black Currant Jam – 1 Mrs T. Sinclair, 2 Thora Kirkness, 3 Mrs Craigie (Furse). Strawberry Jam – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 and 3 Alice Mainland. Rhubarb and Ginger Jam – 1 Alice Mainland, 2 R. A. Inkster, 3 Thora Kirkness. Rhubarb and Fig Jam – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Walls, 3 Alice Mainland. Apricot and Pineapple Jam – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Grapefruit Marmalade – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness. Black Currant Jelly – 1 and 2 Mrs Craigie, 3 Alice Mainland. Lemon Curd – 1 and 2 Alice Mainland. Gooseberry Jam – 1, 2 and 3 Miss A. E Craigie. Apple Chutney – 1, 2 and 3 Thora Kirkness.

1937 August 25 Orkney Herald



That it’s always a good day for the Sourin Picnic has become almost proverbial. Friday, 20th inst., was certainly in keeping with this legend. Down at the field of Banks, kindly granted by Mr Robert Seatter, spectators in the lee of the dykes enjoyed the brilliant sunshine, while there was a slight breeze to keep the competitors from becoming overheated. Gay flags marked the course for the runners; below, the blue sea flashed and flickered in the sun; across the water, the Egilshay Kirk stood sharp and clear; such delightful surroundings helped to make the day pass pleasantly and successfully.

After a drink of milk and a jammy cookie at 1 p.m., the children had their sports, Messrs J. W. Grieve and J. Harrold acting as starters. At 4 p.m., old and young had milk and cookies and biscuits. Half an hour later, when the adults’ sports commenced, it was clearly evident that the fight for the men’s championship was to be well worth watching. Though the entries for the ladies’ medal was disappointing, the men put up the best show since the championship was instituted. The long distance race in the men’s championship, during which the fate of the medal was still in the balance, was probably one of the best races ever seen in Rousay. A splendid sprinting finish by William Grieve, Digro, gave him the race and the medal.

After a very enjoyable tea, Mr J. R. Wallace called on Miss [Margaret] Sutherland, the new teacher in Wasbister School, to present the prizes. Votes of thanks followed the prize-giving, and a break in the day’s proceedings allowed people time to attend to farm stock before the dance began. At the dance the same spirit of happiness was evident. After an interval for supper at 11, dancing continued with spirit until “Auld Lang Syne” at approximately 2 a.m., brought the Sourin Picnic to an end.

Music was willing and well supplied by Messrs J. Craigie, S. Craigie, H. I. Gibson, J. W. Grieve, J. Johnston, R. Johnston, and F. Moar on the fiddles, with Mesdames J. Craigie and J. Grieve, and Mr J. R. Wallace at the piano.

The Committee wish to express their thanks to all who helped in any way to add to the success of the day. The Committee were as follows: – Mesdames H. I. Gibson, J. Grieve, S. Inkster; Misses M. J. C. Cooper, M. Lyon, A. Mainland; Messrs H. I. Gibson, J. Grieve, J. W. Grieve, S. Inkster, T. Inkster, W. Inkster, J. Sabiston, and J. R. Wallace…..

1937 October 13 Orkney Herald

EVIE – AUTUMN DELIGHTS. – Though summer glories have departed, the countryside is not bereft of beauty. Autumn, with its air of rest and repose, its mists and mellow fruitfulness, is a delightful time. Mornings of sparkling dews and evenings crisp with frost, a harvest moon, dazzling in its apparent nearness – all appeal to one’s sense of beauty. October is a month of bright tints,  and if rough weather does not hasten decay, Nature paints the landscape and makes many pictures. Plenty of birds still hop about – feathered friends who live with us all the year round. These fill the air with their cheerful twittering, some of them pouring forth a stream of melody, such as the little wren, which retains its song through all weathers.

1937 November 10 Orkney Herald

MR WALTER G. GRANT was elected to the Board of Highland Distilleries Company at the annual meeting, held in Glasgow last week. The report, which recommended a final dividend of £7 per cent, and a bonus of 22½ per cent., both less tax at 5s in the £, payable on 11th inst., for the year ended August 31 last, was adopted. The sum of £5000 was set aside for depreciation, and a balance of £49,601 carried forward. The retiring directors – Messrs James Robertson & A. C. Robertson were re-elected.

1937 November 24 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – BADMINTON TOURNAMENT. – Rousay Badminton Club had their first tournament (mixed doubles) on Thursday, 11th inst., when ten couples competed for the honour – a shortage of lady members very regretfully keeping about half of the male members from entering. Play, especially towards the final, was of a remarkably high standard, when one considers the age of the club. It is rather interesting to note that the final was fought between an all-Rousay four – Miss M. Mainland, Westness, and Mr James K. Yorston, Frotoft, beat Miss T. Kirkness, Quoyostray, and Mr J. Craigie, Furse. The club hope to play off a tournament or drive during December.

EARL HAIG FUND. – School children in Rousay have been doing an act of kindness by selling poppies throughout the island. As a result of their efforts £4 2s 4½d has been forwarded to headquarters. Evelyn Clouston and Irene Hourie collected 13s 7d in Wasbister; David Gibson and James Pirie £1 15s 10d in Frotoft and the Brinian; Kathie Linklater, Dorothy Mainland, John Harcus and Andy Munro £1 12s 11½d in Sourin.

DISTRICT NURSING ASSOCIATION. – The first meeting of the above association was held in Sourin School on Saturday, 13th inst., when a committee was appointed and the preliminary steps taken. The committee was endowed with full powers to proceed with the necessary arrangements. A committee meeting is to be held in Sourin School on Saturday, 20th inst., at 3 p.m. The executive committee nominated was as follows: – President, Rev. R. R. Davidson, M.A.; vice-presidents, Fred T. Inkster, J.P., Greenfield, and Mrs M. M. Kirkness, Quoyostray; secretary and treasurer, Mrs J. R. Wallace, Sourin Schoolhouse; members of the committee: – Egilsay – Edward Seatter, Cott, and Mrs Inkster, Midskaill; Wyre – Mrs Flaws, Helziegetha, and W. Craigie, Rusness; Frotoft – Miss Mainland, Westness, and Miss Logie, Pier Cottage; Wasbister – Mrs D. Moar, Saviskaill, and Miss M. A. Inkster, Cogar; Sourin – Mrs J. Grieve, jr., Fa’doon, and Mrs H. Craigie, Scockness.

PRIZE DAY IN SOURIN SCHOOL. – On Wednesday, 10th inst., Dr Paterson, Brinian House, made “Maps” a most interesting talk when he visited Sourin School to present the prizes for the year 1936-37. He gave his subject colour by introducing true stories illustrating their many uses, and concluded by expressing the admiration he had always had for the clever men who made maps. These men, he said, clever though they undoubtedly were, had started at the very beginning and had learned the simple tables just as the boys and girls at Sourin School were doing. No matter what a boy or girl wanted to be when he or she grew up, lessons were of great importance to all. Dr Paterson then presented the School Management Committee prizes for attendance, the teachers’ prizes for merit, the Oxo pen for the Oxo painting competition, and the certificate for the Lifeboat Institution essay. On the call of Mr J. R. Wallace, Dr Paterson was given a hearty vote of thanks for his talk and for presenting the prizes. After the prize giving, the pupils had tea with plenty of good things, through the kindness of the Rousay S.W.R.I., followed by sweets from Miss Mary Marwick, Kirkwall. The following is the prize list: – Attendance prizes – Perfect attendance – Dorothy Mainland and Ernest Mainland; good attendance – Edith H. Gibson. Merit prizes – A.D. III – 1 Ann Lyon, 2 Archer Clouston; A.D. I – 1 Edith Gibson, 2 John Harcus; Sen. II – Ernest Mainland; Jun. I – George Grieve; Jun. II – Thelma Shearer; Inf. I – Edward Seatter; Inf. I (reading) – Margaret Corsie; Inf. I (sums) – James Harcus; Inf. I (improvement) – Hugh Munro; Oxo painting competition (seniors) – Kathleen Linklater; (juniors) – Thelma Shearer; Lifeboat essay certificate – John C. Seatter.

1937 December 15 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NATIONAL BIBLE SOCIETY. – The honorary treasurer, Mr W. J. Heddle, Kirkwall, begs to acknowledge the sum of £4 12s, being the amount collected in the island of Rousay on behalf of the above Society for the current year, and to thank Mr James S. Gibson, Hullion, and the following collectors: – Misses Sutherland, Gibson, and Mr J. R. Wallace, for their services.

1937 December 15 The Scotsman

FOR SALE by Public Roup on Monday, 17th January 1938, at 12 o’clock noon, within the office of Messrs MACRAE & ROBERTSON, Solicitors, Commercial Bank Buildings, Kirkwall, the Holding of MIDGITHA or MIDGARTH, with the Strip of Land formerly part of the Farm of Knarston, in the Parish of Rousay and Egilshay and County of Orkney. There is a substantial Two-Storey Dwelling-House of Six Apartments on the Holding. Assessed Rental, £3 10s.; Rateable Value, 10s. Entry at the term of Candlemas 1938. UPSET PRICE, £300. For further particulars apply to JAMES C. MORRICE, Solicitor, Fraserburgh: or the said Macrae & Robertson, who will exhibit the Title Deeds and Articles of Roup.

In Print

Newsprint – 1936

1936 January 1 Orkney Herald



The Sourin Christmas Treat, held on the evening of 20th December, might equally be called “Sourin’s Family Party,” for it was attended by most of Sourin’s entire population. Practically every house in the district was represented by at least some of its occupants. What could be more jolly than seeing the old and young mixing together and very evidently enjoying themselves thoroughly! Little wonder that the treat has been voted a decided success.

Passing six, the children began to arrive at the Hall, which was beautifully decorated with gaily coloured streamers, balloons and evergreens. For fully an hour the hall rang with their songs and laughter and happy shouts as they played their games. Later on the older folks arrived, and at 8 o’clock, Mr J. R. Wallace, on behalf of the Sourin Treat Committee, extended a welcome to everybody and introduced the short programme, which the children were to give partly as their contribution to the evening’s entertainment and partly as an expression of their thanks for all the good things they were to receive. The children deserve great credit for the very efficient way they managed everything, for the stage managing as well as the rendering of all the items, was entirely in their hands.

While everyone was doing justice to an excellent tea, the Christmas tree, with its 50 presents and gay decorations, was brought in front of the platform and the coloured lights switched on. Many were the gasps of wonder and admiration at the glorious spectacle it made. Tea was no sooner over than there came a loud knock at the main door. Voices were hushed for a minute, only to reunite in a great burst of cheering, for Santa Claus had arrived. In came the grand old man to the singing of the children, and, in a very short time, every present from the tree had been handed out by Santa.

Happy children were everywhere; some were experimenting on the floor with their newly acquired toys; some were pulling crackers, while others were sucking oranges or munching apples. As Santa left the hall to continue his rounds, he received a rousing cheer which he thoroughly deserved. At this time, too, cheers were also given, on the call of Mr Davidson, to the children, to Miss Brown, and to Mr Wallace.

The Sourin Treat Band, Messrs J. W. Grieve, of Whitehall, and H. I. Gibson, of Bigland (violins) and Mr J. R. Wallace (piano) struck up a lively tune and, while some played cards, others danced, and many who were not dancers simply watched and talked and made merry among themselves. Supper came passing twelve, and, after another short spell of dancing, the family party was brought to a close by all present joining hands in “Auld Lang Syne.” Thus ended a grand night, for which great credit is due to the capable and hard working committee, who in turn are indebted to the many people who helped by giving milk, Christmas tree, and many other things.

The following comprised the Sourin Treat Committee: – Mrs H. I. Gibson, Misses R. Brown, A. Mainland, M. Mainland, Messrs H. I. Gibson, J. W. Grieve, T. Inkster, W. Inkster, J. R. Wallace.

The programme was as follows: – “The Furry Rabbits,” Chrissie Grieve; waltz,  the band (mouth organs – Archer Clouston, George Craigie, John Grieve, Billy Mainland, Leonard Irvine; trumps – Angus Harcus, Robert Marwick; melodeon – John Seatter); sketch, “Teddy is Ill,” Thelma Shearer, Netta Russell, and George Grieve; “Clementine,” Mabel Grieve, Sally Linklater, Ann Lyon, Isobel Pirie, John Grieve, Billy Mainland, Hugh Yorston, and John Seatter (on the melodeon); dialogue, “A Bright Idea,” Katie Linklater and John Harcus; “Irish Schoolmaster,” Tommy Linklater and Archer Clouston; “My bonny lies over the Ocean,” band and singers; “Aunt Mary’s Cake,” Dorothy Mainland; “Blindman’s Buff,” George Craigie, Angus Harcus, Hugh Yorston, John Grieve, Robert Marwick; “Polka,” band; “Tiresome Tommy,” Isobel Pirie, Mabel Grieve, Ann Lyon, Edith Gibson, Ernest Mainland; “God Save the King.”

1936 January 15 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – THE FESTIVE SEASON. – Rousay celebrated Christmas and the New Year in its usual cheery way. Many were the parties and impromptu dances held, and signs of merry-making were to be seen all over the island. The farmyards are still mourning the loss of many of their inmates, but many houses in Orkney, Scotland and England will be the richer through their loss.

PRIMROSES IN JANUARY. – Rousay has many claims to be Orkney’s fairest island, and here is further proof of its equable climate. On Saturday, 4th January, a lovely little cluster of primroses was found growing in the ditch at the roadside. Their stalks were not short and stunted, as might be expected, and the blossoms were perfect in every way. Surely this is exceptionally early for this spring flower to appear.

1936 January 22 Orkney Herald


It is with the deepest regret that we have to record the death of His Majesty King George V., which took place at Sandringham shortly before midnight on Monday. The King passed away peacefully after an illness lasting only four days. He was aged 70. Probably the best-loved ruler in British history, he leaves a grief-stricken nation and Empire. In Orkney the news was received with the deepest sorrow. Hundreds listened to the bulletins which were broadcast at 15-minute intervals on Monday evening…..

1936 January 29 Orkney Herald


In the presence of nearly 2,000 of the townspeople of Kirkwall, Edward the Eighth was proclaimed King from the ancient Market Cross on Friday. The ceremony which from beginning to end occupied less than 3 minutes, was impressive in its very simplicity. The crowd stood bareheaded throughout the historic ceremony, which began at noon, immediately the Cathedral clock finished striking the hour. Flags, which for the rest of the week were at half-mast, fluttered on this day at mast-head…..

1936 February 12 Orkney Herald



After a trial lasting five hours, a jury of fifteen, on Monday, at Kirkwall, found two brothers guilty of house-breaking and theft. Sheriff Brown sentenced each of the accused to 15 months’ imprisonment.

The jury’s verdict was unanimous.

The accused, John Robert Wylie (22) and Magnus Wylie (19), of Roadside [Grindlesbreck], Rousay, in custody since 19th December 1935, were indicted on a charge of having on the 13th and 14th December broken into a shop as Midskaill, Egilshay, occupied by Helen Mainland or Inkster, and stolen £15.

The sentences passed by Sheriff Brown on the two accused are to date from the day of their apprehension – 19th December.

The accused adhered to their plea of not guilty, being defended by Mr W. J. Heddle, in his capacity as agent for the pair.

Eleven witnesses were called for the Crown and two (the accused) for the defence. The proceedings lasted five hours, beginning at 11 a.m. and finishing at 5 p.m., with a recess from 1 to 2.

THE PROSECUTION. – The first witness for the Crown was Mrs Helen Mainland or Inkster (55), residing at Midskaill, Egilshay, the owner of the shop at which the theft was made. [Helen was the daughter of William Mainland, Midskaill, and Helen Shearer, Eday. In 1911 she married David Inkster, son of Hugh Inkster, Geo, Westness, and Georgina Harcus, Westray].

Examined by Mr John S. Cormack, Prosecutor-Fiscal, witness said she carried on a small retail grocery business in a wooden hut in the land of Midskaill, and quite near the farm buildings of Midskaill. She carried on the business alone. She remembered how, on the evening of the 13th December 1935 – a Friday – she left her shop between 8 and 9 o’clock, locking the door. At a quarter to 12 she went back to put out the light which she had left burning, and on her way she heard two shots coming from the direction of the Holm of Scockness. She then went to the shop, put out the light, locked the door again, and came away. It was a moonlit night, but dull and overcast. On Saturday morning she returned to the shop again between 9 and 10 o’clock, and when she got there she found that one of the windows had been forced and was standing half-open. The window in question was one which had been nailed up a year ago and was not supposed to open. In order to get the window to the condition she found it considerable force would have been required. When she went into the shop she found that the till had been opened, and the money in it was all gone except for three coppers. In the till there had been £6 in silver and several coppers. In a purse in a separate recess below the till were six or seven 10s. notes – she was not quite sure of the exact number – and three single pound notes. There would have been from £12 to £15 in the till in all, she would imagine. She didn’t remember the numbers or denominations of the notes. After the robbery she found that the lock of the till did not seem to be working, but whether it had been working before or whether it had been put out of action when the theft was executed she couldn’t say.

Witness said that among the notes stolen there had been a 10s. note changed by a customer, Robert Grieve, of Whitecleat, on Thursday night, the 12th. She knew the two accused, John Robert Wylie and Magnus Wylie. They had been working on the Egilshay roads in the summer, and had been in the shop frequently, and she supposed they knew the arrangements inside the shop quite well.

Informed a Neighbour. – When she discovered the theft, went on witness, she informed a neighbour, Edward Seatter, who came and examined the window, and said it had been burst open. She didn’t think she could identify the stolen notes. She had taken no note of them.

Cross-examined by Mr Heddle, witness said she kept no record of her cash drawings. She depended on her memory. She did not leave her cash overnight in the hut during the summer when there were strangers about, but she thought it was quite safe to leave it in the winter. She did not think anything like this would happen. Nothing had ever been stolen before.

Q. – Why single out this note Grieve handed in? A. – Because Robert Grieve was in the habit of keeping the numbers of notes passing through his hands. Q. – And you are sure that note was among your own? A. – Quite sure.

Shots Fired. – Alex. Flett Yule (24) farm worker, Saviskaill, Rousay, said that on the evening of the 13th December, Magnus Wylie came over to Saviskaill about 7 o’clock. He did not say what he came for. He had wanted witness to go over to Roadside, so the two of them had gone over. There they found Magnus Wylie’s brother, John Robert Wylie. They sat there till about ten o’clock, and then the three of them went out. First they went down to the shore, and then they got into one of the Wylies’ boats and rowed to the Holm of Scockness to hunt rabbits. The two Wylies each had a gun, and all three of them had flashlamps. They reached the Holm in about half an hour. It would have been about quarter to 11 when they reached the Holm of Scockness. About five shots were fired, but they got no rabbits. When they left the Holm they pulled to Egilshay. He did not know the Wylies had intended to go to Egilshay that night. They landed in Egilshay at the rocks on the north side of the sands of Netherskaill and left the boat tied there while they went ashore and up through the turnips at Netherskaill. They made straight for Mrs Inkster’s. Between their landing place and the shop there was a piece of rising ground. Witness said he had stopped at this mound and had said he was going no further. Q. – Did you know what the Wylies were going to do then? A. – No, I didn’t exactly know. Q. – They didn’t tell you? A. – No, but I knew there was some mischief on the go.

Previously in Trouble. – Continuing, witness said he had previously been in trouble for appropriating money dishonestly, and he did not want to be mixed up in that sort of thing again. He had had his lesson. The two accused had asked him to go, but he had refused, and they had gone on themselves, while he stayed at the mound. He had watched where they went, and had seen them crossing the road in front of the shop. He could not see them after that. They were gone about half an hour, and when they rejoined him they came from the direction of the shop. Nothing was said as to what had happened. They then went down through the turnips of Netherskaill again. They had run part of the way down. The Wylies had seemed in a hurry to get away. As they were going down towards the boat he heard money clinking in Magnus Wylie’s pocket. Just before they left in the boat he saw Magnus take two small handfuls of money out of his hip pocket and transfer it to his jacket pocket. There was both silver and copper in his hands. They then returned to Rousay. The Wylies had asked him to say nothing to anybody about what had taken place. On the 17th December he had been interviewed by Constable Yorston, and had given him the same statement as he had just given to the court.

Cross-examined by Mr Heddle, witness denied that he had had a gun and that he shot a duck on Scockness. Q. – When you got to the rising ground on Egilshay did you tell the Wylies that you wanted to go to the shop? A. – No. Q. – Do you deny that you went on to the shop? A. – I never went near the shop.

Witness also denied that on arriving back in Rousay on Saturday morning he gave Magnus Wylie two 10s. notes. He also denied making any arrangement with the Wylies to say nothing about the escapade. On Saturday night, 14th December he had given Magnus Wylie a 10s. note out of his wages to pay for a gun he had bought from Wylie.

Re-examined by Mr Cormack – Q. – When the Wylies left you at the mound how were they walking? A. – Side by side. Q. – Did you see them all the way to the shop? A. – I did not watch them all the way.

Footprints Followed. – Constable W. S. Yorston said he went to Egilshay on 17th December (Tuesday) to make investigations into the burglary. He examined the window of Mrs Inkster’s shop, and it appeared to him to have been forced with some sharp instrument. He thought it would have been quite simple for a man to get into the window once it had been forced open. Edward Seatter had drawn his attention to the footprints of two persons crossing a piece of ploughed land towards the shop. They picked up these footprints going back over the ploughed land from the shop. They were just the distance apart that two people would be when walking together. Q. – Did it look as if they were made by two people walking side by side? A. – Undoubtedly. Q. – Could the two sets of prints have been caused by one person making two trips? A. – I am pretty certain they were made by two persons. Witness went on to say he had traced the footprints. He had not been able to pick them up on the uncultivated land, but he had picked them up again in the stubble land. He had then followed them through the turnip field and right on to the shore. Midway down the turnip field the footprints of a third party had joined the footsteps of the first two. He had taken plaster casts of the right foot of each of the three sets of footprints.

The plaster casts were produced in Court and Constable Yorston identified them. Robert Grieve, of Whitecleat, had been present when he had taken the casts.

Remembered Figures on Note. – Witness went on to say he had interviewed Robert Grieve, who told him he had passed a 10s. note at Mrs Inkster’s shop on Thursday evening, 12th December, and that he remembered four of the figures in the number of this note. These figures were 3, 5, 9, and 0. Grieve had said the 3 and the 5 had followed one another, but he was not certain as to the order of the other figures. Thereafter he (witness) had gone to Rousay where he had discovered that the two accused had been spending money more freely than usual. He had learnt from Mr Walls, of the Co-operative Store, Rousay, that the accused, Magnus Wylie, had taken out three 10s. notes at the store, and had also tendered a 10s. note to his vanman, John Linklater, which Mr Walls had taken possession of. Mr Walls had handed over to witness the 10s. notes passed by Magnus Wylie. Grieve, who had accompanied witness to Rousay, had identified the note passed by him at Mrs Inkster’s shop.

Crown Witness in the Court Room. – At this point Mr Heddle informed His Lordship that Grieve, who was one of the Crown witnesses, had been sitting in Court. No witness should be in the courtroom before being heard. Grieve had been in the courtroom until the end of Yule’s examination.

His Lordship – I went to great pains at the commencement of the case to ask any witnesses to leave the court-room.

The Fiscal – I did not know he was in.

The Superintendent of Police stated that Grieve had been in the court-room about ten minutes. He was outside now.

His Lordship – Did he hear any of the evidence bearing on this present point?

The Superintendent – No, he heard none of that evidence.

His Lordship – There are no more witnesses in the Court-room by any chance?

The Superintendent – There are no more.

The examination was resumed.

Impudent and Abusive. – Constable Yorston said he had interviewed Yule on 17th December and had taken his statement, which confirmed the evidence of the footprints and the information he already possessed. On the following day he had gone to the accused and interviewed them. He had charged them with the burglary. They had both denied ever being out of the island that night. They had both been impudent and abusive, and it had been impossible to get an intelligent statement out of them.

Witness went on to say that on 19th December the two accused had been arrested in Stromness. He and Constable Craigie had brought them to Kirkwall. He didn’t know whether they had had any money on them when arrested. They had been searched in Stromness. On the 20th December he and Constable Craigie had gone to Rousay and had searched accused’s home. They had taken possession of two pairs of boots, one belonging to Magnus Wylie and the other belonging to John Robert Wylie.

Cross-examined by Mr Heddle: – Q. – Were there just two sets of footsteps going up and two sets going down on the ploughed land? A. – Yes, just two. Q. – Did you see any other footprints there? A. – No, none. Q. – Have you compared the plaster casts with these boots you took?

The Fiscal – I am bringing expert evidence on that point, your Lordship.

Q. – Did you take prints of Yule’s boots? A. – No. Q. – Why not? A. – I didn’t think it necessary at the time.

Witness said he had taken a cast of the third set of footprints, but the imprint was so shallow that the forepart of the cast broke when lifted.

Q. – You say you had difficulty in getting a statement from J. R. Wylie. Did you tell him that he could not tell the truth? A. – I have no recollection of doing so.

Corroborative evidence was given by Constable Charles Craigie, Edward Seatter (42), farmer-boatman, Netherskaill; Robert Grieve (30), farm-worker and fisherman, Whitecleat, Egilshay; and James Mainland (36), farmer, Sound, Egilshay.

Accused Receiving Public Assistance. – Mark Mackay Kirkness (57), District Inspector of Poor for Rousay and Egilshay, said that both accused and their father were in receipt of public assistance. On 12th December, Magnus Wylie had called on him to get the relief money that was due to him, his father, and his brother John Robert on the following day. He had given him the money, which amounted in all to £1 6s 6d. He had paid this in the form of a pound note and silver.

William Robertson Walls (43), manager of Rousay, Egilshay and Wyre Co-operative Society, said he had received two 10s. notes from Magnus Wylie in payment for goods on Saturday, 14th December. His vanman had received another 10s. note from Magnus Wylie, which he had taken possession of, and on Monday Magnus Wylie had paid for stores with another 10s. note. He had kept these four notes aside, and had handed them over to Constable Yorston.

Corroborative evidence was given by John Linklater (36), vanman.

Expert Evidence. – Expert evidence was given by Treasurer Robert Slater (59), boot and shoe merchant, Victoria Street, Kirkwall, with regard to the plaster casts. Treasurer Slater compared the casts with the boots of the two accused. In both cases he said that there was a marked similarity between the boot and the cast, but he could not go further. He was not prepared to say the casts were those of these particular boots.

In answer to Mr Heddle, witness said it might be perfectly possible to find boots of other persons in the county which would fit the casts.

This concluded the case for the Crown.

THE DEFENCE. – The only witnesses for the defence were the two accused.

In the witness-box the accused, Magnus Wylie, who gave his age as 19, said in answer to Mr Heddle, that on 13th December he went to Saviskaill to catch rabbits. He was in the habit of doing this. Yule had suggested going duck-shooting to the Holm of Scockness. He had complained that it was too dark. He and Yule afterwards went to his (witnesses) father’s place, Roadside. About 10 o’clock Yule had again suggested going to the Holm, and had borrowed a gun from John Robert Wylie. Witness and his brother had no guns. Yule was the only one with a gun. Witness had pointed out to Yule that they had no ammunition. Yule said he had some, and they went off to the Holm. Yule had shot a duck at the east side of the Holm. Yule had suggested going to Egilshay and they had gone there, landing on the rocks on the other side of the Bay of Skaill. They then went up along the shore alongside a turnip field to a piece of high ground, where he and his brother had sat down while Yule had gone on towards the shop. Q. – You have heard what Yule has said. It is not correct? A. – No.

Yule’s Story False Says Witness. – Yule, continued witness, had come back, and had asked them to come up to the shop with him. They had refused and he had to go on again himself. Yule was away about half an hour, and when he came back they had all gone down to the shore again and crossed over to Rousay. Q. – Did Yule tell you then that he had to pay you for catching some rabbits? A. – Yes. Q. – Did he give you two 10s. notes? A. – Yes. Q. – Did he ask you to say nothing about your escapade that night? A. – Yes. Q. – You promised not to do it? A. – Yes.

Witness said that on Saturday night, 14th December, he had received a 10s. note from Yule in payment for a gun Yule had bought from him. Q. – What did you do with that note? A. – I gave it to the Co-operative vanman.

Witness said he was at Saviskaill on the night of Tuesday, 17th December, and Yule had told him that he and his brother were charged with breaking into the shop in Egilshay. He had denied it. Q. – You swear that the story Yule has told is absolutely false? A. – Yes.

Cross-examined by the Fiscal: – Q. – You have heard the evidence as to the two sets of footprints going to and from the shop. Can you suggest how a person making two trips could keep his two sets of footprints practically parallel to one another? A. – It just depends on the way he set down his feet. Q. – I put it to you that this story of yours is a tissue of lies from beginning to end? A. – It is nothing of the kind.

Did Not Intend to Escape on Trawler. – Witness further said that he and his brother had gone to Stromness on Friday, 19th December. They hired a boat specially to do so. Their intention in going to Stromness was to get an agent. They had gone to Mr Robertson, but he had said he would not have time to take it up. Q. – Is Mr Robertson appearing as a witness? A. – I don’t think so. Q. – You know that Stromness is a place where trawlers come frequently ? A. – Yes. Q. – I suggest that you went to Stromness with the object of escaping on a trawler? A. – No, we didn’t. Q. – Then why the big hurry? A. – We weren’t in a big hurry. Q. – The police spoke to you on the 18th, and on the 19th you went off to Stromness in the dark of the morning? A. – We wanted to get our agent before he went away. Q. – According to your story, do you know whether Yule got any money out of the shop? A. – Yes. Q. – Did he give you any? A. – Yes. Q. – Did you know it was money from the shop? A. – Not then. He told me after he gave it to me. Q. – Did it not occur to you that if it was stolen money you should have given it back A. – I never thought of it.

Witness was questioned by the Fiscal regarding the 10s. notes he had passed.

In answer to Mr Heddle, witness said he had received three of the 10s. notes he had passed from Yule, and the fourth from his brother James. That accounted for all four notes.

John Robert Wylie (22), corroborated the evidence given by his brother.

Woman’s Outburst. – While the Fiscal, in the address to the jury, was drawing attention to the fact that the accused’s brother James had not been called as a witness, a woman in the court-room stood up and cried, “Excuse me, the accused’s brother was here, but was not called.” She was accused’s mother. She was ordered to sit down.

The jury retired to consider their verdict at 4.30. They were about five minutes. On their return the foreman said they had come to a unanimous verdict of guilty.

Sheriff Brown passed sentence as stated.

1936 February 19 Orkney Herald


ln the Recreation Hall on Thursday and Friday evenings, 6th and 7th February, Rousay Amateur Dramatic Society made still a further name for themselves in the production of that popular play, “Crony o’ Mine,” by Andrew P. Wilson.

Weather conditions were not just entirely what could be desired, consequently hindering a considerable number of people from attending from the neighbouring islands of Egilshay and Wyre from being present. Nevertheless, the attendance on both evenings was quite good. The Wasbister Dance Band, under the leadership of Mr Inkster, Cogar, was present both evenings, and gave very fine music during the intervals throughout the play, helping in a great measure to the entertainment’s success. The Society would like to take this opportunity of thanking them most heartily for their generous support. As in former years everybody was most helpful and obliging in the way of loaning furniture, etc., for the stage, and the Society would especially desire to thank Mr and Mrs Walls, Store Cottage, who assisted them in so many ways.

To the stage-manager, Mr D. J. Logie, is due great praise for his magnificent work. The scenery was perfect, the stage effect being natural and pleasing. One was greatly impressed by the choice of the characters for the cast. Everyone seemed so suited for their part, and in truth made a most excellent slow. The cast, with the exception of Miss Kathleen Craigie, have all appeared in plays which the Society have previously produced, so we specially congratulate this young lady on the brilliant performance she made on her debut. It is earnestly hoped that the Society may continue to give annual performances of this kind, as their efforts are greatly appreciated by the whole island.

The cast was as follows: – Rev. Nicholas Urquhart, Mr James Craigie, Pier Cottage; Doc. Andrew Macnaughton, Mr James Mainland; Miss Alison Gregory, Miss Kathleen Craigie; Dorothy Maxwell, Miss Brown; Janet Petrie (housekeeper), Miss Mathieson; Maggie (maid), Mrs H. I. Gibson; Doc. Lawson, Mr H. I. Gibson; Mr Carstairs, Mr George Sutherland; Thammas Waugh (beadle), Mr James Grieve.

A dance was held after Friday evening’s show, and was well attended by all the younger people of the island. Mr George Sutherland ably acted at M.C., good music being supplied by the Wasbister Dance Band and others.

EGILSHAY BURGLARY TRIAL DEVELOPMENT. – John Robert Wylie and Magnus Wylie, who were found guilty by a jury at Kirkwall last Monday of breaking into a shop in Egilshay and stealing £15, have applied to the High Court of Justiciary against the sentence of 15 months imprisonment, imposed on each of them. Each of the accused has appealed. The Appeals are made on the ground that the sentence is excessive in view of the youth of the parties, and the fact that it is a first offence. The appeals were despatched on Saturday by air mail.

1936 March 4 Orkney Herald

EVIE – “SPOOTS.” – The first spoot ebb of the season came with the moon on Saturday, 22nd inst., but it was not so big as anticipated, the winds not being favourable. Formerly, when many fishing boats lined the beach and many fishermen lived in the district, spoots were in great demand for bait in cod and haddock fishing, the pursuit of which was then common. Long rows of spoot catchers could be seen on the sands deftly using their ‘boards’ – spatulas – in successfully scooping the elusive mollusc. Nowadays, with no fishing industry, the spoot is seldom fished except as an edible. It is perhaps the most palatable of the shell fish found on the shore. But, as Ann Scott Moncrieff says in last week’s Radio Times, “It needs both skill in the catching and care in the cooking.”

1936 March 18 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – BACHELOR’S BALL. – At the bachelors’ ball on 13th inst., in the Sourin Hall, Rousay, fickle woman resumed her usual and proper place, while mere man showed once again that there is little (if anything at all !) to which he cannot successfully turn his hand. The gentlemen were out to pay fitting tribute to the ladies whose guests they had been at the Leap Year dance. From beginning to end, in spite of the dangers of Leap Year, they went about their duty with every confidence, and had the satisfaction of seeing their efforts successful. Tea was served at 9.15 p.m., and supper at 1 a.m. On both occasions many highly appreciative comments were made on the splendid catering of Flett’s Home Bakery, Albert Street, Kirkwall. During the evening, fruit and sweets in plenty were passed round. The following committee of bachelors was responsible for the function: – Messrs G. Craigie, Falquoy; Jas. Craigie, Furse; W. Gibson, Hullion; T. Inkster, Woo; W. Inkster, Woo; Jas. Mainland, Westness; J. Mainland, Westness; H. Robertson, Langskaill; J. R. Wallace, Sourin Schoolhouse, while Mr R. Inkster, Cogar, was in command in the kitchen. The committee are grateful to all who in any way gave willing assistance, and thank those who loaned lamps, etc., and those who made music throughout the evening.

ORKNEY CONSTABLE AS “FILM STAR.” – The Gaumont-British news reel showing at the Albert Kinema on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday included one item of particular interest to Orkney. In the scenes shown of King Edward’s first Investiture there appeared a shot of Constable Thomas Mainland, Stromness (formerly of Kirkwall), who it will be remembered was a recipient of the King’s Police Medal for gallantry. Introduced by the announcer as “a visitor from the far north of Scotland” Constable Mainland was shown leaving Buckingham Palace after the Investiture wearing the medal he had received from his sovereign. The “shot” of the Orkney constable was quite a prolonged one, and was greeted by the Kinema audiences with cheers and applause. [Orkney Herald]

[Thomas Mainland was born in January 1893, one of the eleven children of John Mainland, Weyland, Egilsay, and Sarah Rendall, Westray. In 1919 Thomas married Barbara Gibson Craigie, daughter of Hugh Craigie, Turbitail, later Deithe, and Margaret Craigie Inkster, Upper Cogar.]




The Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh on Wednesday agreed to a reduction of the sentence pronounced in the Sheriff Court at Kirkwall on February 10 against John Robert Wylie and Magnus Wylie, who were convicted on a charge of breaking into a shop at Midskaill, in the island of Egilshay, parish of Rousay and Egilshay, and county of Orkney, occupied by Mrs Helen Mainland or Inkster, widow, and stealing £15. The appellants were each sentenced to fifteen months’ imprisonment, to date from December 19. They contended that the sentence was excessive, looking to their youth and to the fact that it was their first offence.

Mr W. J. Bryden, advocate, for the appellants, said that the crime was not premeditated. The appellants had never been in the hands of the police before. On the night of December 13 they went out in a boat with another man, and engaged in shooting ducks and rabbits on a neighbouring island. They met with little success, however, and they proceeded to the island of Egilshay. The two Wylies proceeded to the shop of Mrs Inkster, which they entered, and rifled the till. This type of crime was very rare in the Orkneys. It was unjust, counsel said, that a man in the Orkneys should suffer a sentence of three or four times as severe as was pronounced elsewhere for a similar offence. He suggested that this was a case for a very substantial reduction in the sentences.

The Court held that the sentence of fifteen months was excessive, and reduced it in each case to three months’ imprisonment, to run from the date of the conviction.

1936 April 1 Orkney Herald



At Orkney Sheriff Court last Tuesday evidence was heard in the action Costie v. Craigie, in which Miss Ann Costie, widow, Standpretty, Rousay, craves the Court to interdict William Craigie, Standcrown, Rousay, from trespassing on her land.

Agents in the action are – For pursuer, Mr C. E. S. Walls, solicitor (of Messrs T. P. & J. L. Low); for defender, Mr D. J. Robertson, solicitor (of Messrs Macrae & Robertson).

Sheriff Brown was on the bench. The case for the defenders was heard first.

THE DEFENCE. – William Craigie (62), farmer, Standcrown, the defender, in examination by Mr Robertson, said he was proprietor of the farm of Standcrown, which he bought in 1925 from the trustees of Lt.-General Sir Frederick W. T. Burroughs, K.C.B., of Rousay and Wyre. He was a native of Rousay, and at the time he bought the farm he was living in Edinburgh. He did not know the farm then, but he knew where it was. He had been offered it before. When he bought the farm it was let, but the house was unoccupied. The tenant was John Craigie, who lived at Triblo. John Craigie remained tenant of Standcrown for about a year after he bought it, and he paid rent to him for that year. He went there to live himself in November 1927, and had occupied the place ever since. When he came to the farm he used two roads. With a light cart he would go in by Oldman, and if a cart was heavily loaded he would go in by Standpretty. There was road across Standpretty when he came, and by crossing lands of Standpretty he could get to the public road.

When he went there there were two bridges which he understood to be access bridges. In 1926 the people of Standpretty ploughed out a path which linked Standcrown with Standpretty and the public road. After that, defender used a road that took him round by pursuer’s house, and gained access to his own place that way. No objection was raised till the Christmas week of 1934. Till then he regularly used roads and footpaths which took him over pursuer’s land, in consequence of pursuer having ploughed out the formerly existing way. In good weather he used the peat track. In the spring of 1936 pursuer ploughed out the end of the hill, and then he had no way of getting out or in at all. Pursuer tore up a bridge at the milldam. Another bridge between the places still stood.

The footpath he used most was interfered with by the erection of a wire netting fence. That fence was put up to keep the hens in, and was first erected in the summer of 1933, being taken down when the winter came. In 1934, when it was re-erected, the pursuer added barbed wire to the top, and defender, who had previously been able to step over it easily, then had to put two stones there as steps.

Defender was first told by the pursuer in the Christmas week of 1934 that he had no right to go over her land. Until then he had been using the footpath regularly for at least seven years. During that week, defender and his wife went down to Faro, nearby, where the tenant, Malcolm Corsie, was ill. Defender took down the wire netting “gate” of the fence, which that winter had been left erected, and laid it down, for convenience for passing home again in the dark. When they returned, about 10 p.m., the fence was secure again. Defender took it down, passed through with his wife, and left it down. The next morning it was up again. John Costie, the pursuer’s son, came down and asked defender if he had pulled the wire down, and what for.

Defender asked John Costie if he (Costie) had put it up, and what for, “last night especially.” Costie said it was his own. Defender told him not to do it again. That was the first time there had ever been words between them. The defender could not get into his farm now or out of it except by the hill, which was impassable in winter. The last time he was able to take a cart through that way was the last week of harvest. Defender knew that pursuer was saying that the late General Burroughs’ factor had laid off a road over the hill for Standcrown 1915. There was no road there. The place was marshy and wet; water from it drove pursuer’s mill. Defender had not been able to get any carts into or out of his place since last August.

Cross-examined by Mr Walls, agent for the pursuer, Craigie admitted that he inspected the farm the year before he bought it. He did not know it well, as he had been away from Rousay for over forty years. He made inquiries regarding means of access from James Grieve, who occupied Outerdykes, nearby. The roads and paths which Grieve told him were the ways for Standcrown, were those outlined by defender in his evidence. Defender took the title deeds for granted; that was why he was challenging pursuer’s action. For twelve months after buying Standcrown, defender said he lived at Breval, nearby. He actually went into Standcrown in February 1928. When the furniture was flitted in some was taken above the hill and some down the hill.

Witness then marked routes on the duplicate plan, showing three ways he claimed he ought to be able to use.

Defender denied that he ever sent his grandson to pursuer to ask permission to cross her land with carts. He denied also that he gave the pursuer’s son great provocation by his manner of speaking to him.

Do you deny that you ever went across the pursuer’s new grass? – I don’t. That was their own fault. I could not get any other way, so high did they make the barbed wire and netting fence afterwards.

Orphir Woman’s Evidence. – Miss Betsy Cooper (66), Roadside, Orphir, the next witness, said she was a grand-daughter of James Cooper, a former tenant of Standpretty, where she was born, and where she lived till she was between 13 and 14. The tenant of Standcrown at that time was James Grieve. His children went to school by going across the meadow of Standpretty. Then they went across to the service road. Witness sometimes accompanied the Grieve children to school, and so far as she knew that was the way they always used; there was a path down that way. The people went across Standpretty to go to the shop or to Oldman, and her grandfather never objected to the practice.

Cross-examined by Mr Walls, Miss Cooper said that in those days everyone was friendly and people just went everywhere. So far as she knew, there were no recognised ways to which people were expected to stick. Witness agreed that James Grieve attended the Established Church for a while, and that he would not use this path when going to church.

Re-examined by Mr Robertson, witness agreed that James Grieve also attended the Free Church, and when going to services there would require to use the path going in that direction, and common with the path the use of which was claimed by defender.

Mrs John W. Garrioch (62), 3 Fraser’s Close, Victoria Street, Kirkwall, in answer to defender’s agent, said she a native of Rousay. Her father was John Mowat, and she was born at Westness, going to Sourin when she was twelve years old. He took the farm of Standpretty, and there she lived till she was eighteen. Her father was tenant of Standpretty for eighteen or twenty years. After witness left home, she returned practically every week-end for a time. The tenant of Standcrown at that time was James Grieve. She remembered a path between the cultivated land and the heather. That path was used as a right of way from Standcrown. She remembered being at Standpretty once on holiday. Her father was cleaning out the ditch alongside that path. He was throwing the mud on to the top of the ditch, and while doing so he told her that the path was the old church road. That was said on a Saturday afternoon, and he said to her that he would have to clear the path for next day, for the people to go to church. Witness could not remember a shop at Oldman, as that was before her time. She remembered that to the west of Standpretty there was a cart road or track to Standcrown. She thought that that track was a privilege from her father as the other ways were impassable in winter. The track was also bad in winter. There was no road passable through the commons above, and it would not be possible to get a cart through there in winter. Vans were in the habit of going up the Kirk Road from the service road. People went across Standpretty to that road to meet the vans. She never knew of people being stopped in that practice. Her father actually told her it was a right of way.

Cross-examined by Mr Walls, Mrs Garrioch said that James Grieve carted with oxen.

Re-examined by Mr Robertson, Mrs Garrioch said that the people of Standcrown had no way of getting out or in except by Standpretty, or unless they went over the hill and round by Oldman.

This closed the case for the defence.

CASE FOR THE PURSUER. – The pursuer’s own evidence had previously been taken on commission. The pursuer, Mrs Ann Costie, deponed that she was heritable proprietor of Pretty, or Standpretty. She is a widow and occupies the farm herself. Her son, John Costie, assists her with the farm work. She bought the croft in the spring of 1925 and took occupation at Martinmas, 1926.

When she bought Standpretty, the tenant was John Craigie. He was tenant also of Standcrown. John Craigie vacated Standpretty at Martinmas, 1926, and Standcrown at Martinmas 1927. William Craigie, the defender, took up residence at Standcrown in February, 1928, having lived at Breval until he got the Standcrown dwelling-house in order.

When the defender took up residence at Standcrown, he began going across Standpretty. During the first year or so, in going to the shop, post office, and public road, he went over Standpretty along or near a ditch between the two lands. After the first year or so, he began taking a diagonal route across uncultivated ground known as the meadow of Standpretty. He had tramped out a footpath by his continual coming and going. There was no footpath there before.

In the spring of 1930 he started another path along a ditch which runs through and across pursuer’s croft, this in order to cut short his route to Faro, where he had sown the crop that year. Defender continued to use this path till May, by which time pursuer’s son completed a new fence. After that, defender went down to the lower end of the fence and then turned up across new grass.

A fence had been erected at that place each year during the past four or five years for poultry. Each year the fence remained up for about six months in summer and was taken down for each winter. This fence had been erected more or less in the same position each year, and ran across that portion of land over which the defender had been crossing.

Saw Defender Tear Fence Down. – During the first year the fence was erected, defender went round about it and made no complaint. After that he started going over the top of it. Pursuer made no objection, but later on discovered that the wire netting was being torn down from time to time. One day pursuer’s son saw defender tear it down. Last summer defender started going over new grass which pursuer was keeping as hay.

After defender came to Standcrown, pursuer gave him permission to go down past her house with a cart. The permission was asked while pursuer and her son were working in the cabbage patch, and was asked by the defender’s grandson who said he had been sent by his grandfather. The defender did not go past her house with a cart very often, as the ground was wet in winter. He nearly always went past Oldman.

The defender, averred pursuer, did not need to go over her land at all. He could go out over the hill ground or common grazings. The first she heard of a right-of-way across Standpretty being claimed by the defender was when she received a letter from his agent, in which two rights-of-way were claimed, one from his farm to the church, and another from his farm to the school. When pursuer did not object to defender going over her property, she did not imagine he would claim a right to do so. She allowed him to cross over Standpretty merely as a tolerance. There was no right-of-way across the farm, she contended.

Pursuer’s Son’s Evidence. – John Costie (25), son of pursuer, said in examination by Mr Walls, that he resided at Standpretty and assisted his mother with the work of the farm. His mother bought the croft in the spring of 1925 and got actual occupation in 1926. When she purchased Standpretty John Craigie was tenant. He was also tenant of Standcrown. He vacated Standpretty in 1926. The defender came to live at Standcrown in February 1928. When defender went to and from his farm he usually went down along the ditch boundary between Standpretty and Standcrown, and then down across Eastaquoy. He did not remember defender taking any other road during the first year. After the first year he started to go diagonally down across the meadow of Standpretty. He went that way frequently and tramped out a footpath there. There was no path there when he and his mother had come to live at Standpretty. Standcrown lay to the south of Standpretty. He remembered quite well the defender working the croft of Faro, which lay to the N.E. of Standpretty on the north side of the service road. Defender commenced working at Faro about 1930. When going between Standcrown and Faro he went along the ditch by the meadow-land of Standpretty as it was the shortest way to Faro. He continued to use this path until he was practically into the Standpretty land. Q. – Did he ever cross your new grass?  A. – Oh yes. Repeatedly.

Became Abusive. – Witness said he had been in the habit of erecting a poultry fence at Standpretty until 1934. This fence was put up on the same piece of land every year, and it crossed the path used by the defender. Q. – What did the defender do when he came to the fence? A. – He went over the top. Q. – Do you remember in the spring of 1934 erecting your usual poultry fence? A. – Yes. In that year we put on a strand of barbed wire 3½ feet from the ground. We laced the wire netting to the barbed wire. Q. – How did the defender get over this? A. – He strided over it. Q. – Do you remember any time after you put up this fence finding it torn down? A. – Yes. In December 1934. Q. – Was the wire netting lying flat on the ground? A. – Yes. Q. – Did you fix it up? A. – Yes. Q. – Did you find it torn down again? A. – Yes.

Witness said he remembered on Sunday morning, the 9th December 1934, seeing the defender tear down the wire netting. Defender had left the netting lying down and he (witness) had fixed it up on Monday. He found it torn down again and had charged the defender with tearing it down. Q. – What did he say? A. – He cursed and swore. Q. – Was he abusive? A. – Yes.

Warned Defender Against Interfering. – Continuing, witness said he had warned defender against interfering with the fence. He had said he would stop defender crossing his land if he kept interfering with the fence. In the summer of 1935 he had put up a new fence 4½ feet high. The defender had thereafter gone down and around the fence and up across the new grass. There was no need for him to do that. He could have gone up the service road. Q. – Did the defender ever ask permission from you to use your cart road from Standpretty that leads to the service road? A. – Yes; in June 1934. Q. – Did he ask permission to cross over a bit of your land to get to the service road? A. – Yes. Q. – You gave him permission to go that way? A. – Yes.

Witness said he remembered some time previous to this, defender sending his grandson to ask his mother’s permission to cross their ground with his cart. That permission was granted. Defender did not go over Standpretty very often with a cart. He had never gone across Standpretty between the mill-dam and the steading. Q. – The defender alleges that you have ploughed out roads and torn up bridges. Are there any bridges you have had occasion to take up? A. – Yes; one. The bridge over the mill lade. Q. – Have you since restored it? A. – Yes. Q. – And the only road or track you have ploughed out that the defender might be referring to is a road over which he has never gone. Is that so? A. – Yes. Q. – If the defender wished to go out with a cart from Standcrown, could he reach the service road by crossing over the common bridge? A. – Quite easily. Q. – Without coming on your property at all? A. – Yes. Q. – Before this action did you ever hear it claimed by the defender that he had a right to go over your property? A. – Never. Q. – Now that he has claimed that right you feel you must protect your property? A. – Yes.

A Hard-Trodden Footpath. – Cross-examined by Mr Robertson – Q. – Did John Craigie, the farmer tenant of Standpretty and Standcrown give up both places at the same time? A. – No. Q. – Which did he give up first? A. – Standpretty. Q. – So that you were occupying it before Craigie came to Standcrown? A. – Yes. Q. – How long? A. – About fully a year. Q. – Was there a footpath across the meadow when you came there? A. – No. Q. – Has that footpath been used by anybody else but Craigie? A. – Not to my knowledge. Q. – You know it is a hard-trodden footpath? A. – Yes. Q. – Did your mother and you take no objection? A. – No. Q. – It wasn’t doing any harm was it? A. – Well, it wasn’t doing it any good. Q. – But it wasn’t doing any harm? A. – I suppose not. Q. – Was there any path along there before? A. – No. Q. – You are sure of that? A. – There was nothing to be seen anyway.

With regard to the poultry fences, witness said the first fence had been put up almost 5 years ago and there had been one every year since. Q. – Did Craigie just step over it? A. – Yes. Q. – He would have no difficulty in stepping over it? A. – No. Q. – You had no objection to him doing so? A. – No. Q. – Did children go over that fence? A. – No; they went round. Q. – Was there any other way defender could have got? A. – Up above or down below. Q. – You say Craigie asked your permission to use your cart road? A. – Yes. He sent his grandson to ask my mother. Q. – Is that the road he says he has a right to? A. – Yes, that is the road.

Retired Farmer’s Evidence. – John Craigie (77), retired farmer, residing at the Queen’s Hotel, Kirkwall, said his wife had been the tenant of the farm of Triblo, Rousay, for a number of years. Triblo lay to the N.W. of Standpretty and was separated from it by a service road. His wife and himself had gone to live at Triblo on his wife’s mother’s death about 1897. At that time James Grieve was tenant of Standcrown and John Mowat was tenant of Standpretty. Grieve left Standpretty about 1903, and he (witness) had taken over the tenancy of Standcrown. He was tenant of Standcrown for about 24 years, but he always lived at Triblo. Q. – Do you remember, when you came to Standcrown were there any footpaths across Standpretty? A. – Yes, there were footpaths but there was a road laid out to me. Q. – While you were tenant of Standcrown and before you became tenant of Standpretty, how did you go to Standcrown from Triblo? A. – Along the ditch above the end of the land of Standpretty. Q. – Was that above Standpretty’s ground? A. – Yes. Q. – You did not cross over Standpretty? A. – No. Q. – While John Mowat was tenant of Standpretty, did you walk across it? A. – No. Q. – After John Mowat died were you the next tenant of Standpretty? A. – No. James Munro. Q. – After Mowat died and before Munro came to Standpretty, did you approach Mr Logie, the estate factor, to give you a road to Standcrown? A. – No, not till after Munro came to Standpretty. Q. – Did Mr Logie lay off a road for you? A. – Yes. Q. – What width of road? A. – 21 feet. Q. – Prior to this road being laid off, was it a path that you had been using? A. – Yes. Q. – Also on the common grazings? A. – Yes. Q. – Do you as a farmer and former tenant of Standcrown see any reason why the defender shouldn’t use this road laid off? A. – I don’t see any reason why not. It suited me to go between and I don’t see why it shouldn’t suit the next tenant.

Put Up Temporary Bridge. – Witness said he was tenant of Standpretty for three years after Munro. Before he went there there was no bridge over the mill lade from the mill-dam to the house. He had put a temporary bridge there. Before he put up this bridge it would not have been possible for anyone to cross over Standpretty.

Q. – Were you and Munro fairly good friends? A. – Yes. Q. – Had you a sort of understanding that you might go over Standpretty? A. – Yes, he often asked me to come past the house and I did go but I had no right. It was just his good-will that permitted me. Q. – You never heard of any right-of-way did you? A. – No.

Cross-examined by Mr Robertson – Q. – You took Standcrown in 1904? A. – Yes. Q. – When did you take Standpretty? A. – Perhaps 5 or 6 years afterwards. Q. – About this road, did you go to John Logie and ask him to lay off a road! A. – Yes. Q. – What is Logie’s authority for doing that? A. – I don’t know. I never asked his authority. Q. – Do you know if it was done with the approval of General Burroughs’ trustees? A. – I don’t know. Q. – Did you go to the Land Court and get permission to make this road over the common grazings? A. – No. Q. – Do you know you should have? A. – No, I don’t know. I just went to John Logie and he came and did it. Q. – You don’t know what power he had to do it? A. – No. Q. – Was there any made road there? A. – Perhaps you may see some of the track, but there was no made road. Q. – Could you go there with a cart in winter? A. – Yes, with difficulty. Q. – Could you take it in wet weather? A. – Oh, yes. Q. – Have you ever done it in winter? A. – Often.

Re-examined by Mr Walls – Q. – Is it the case that at present there are really no good roads in that quarter at all? A. – That is right.

Alexander James Munro (51), farmer, Breval, Sourin, Rousay, said he became tenant of Standpretty on the 8th of March 1915, and remained there until 1923. While he was tenant of Standpretty John Craigie, Triblo, was tenant of Standcrown. Q. – Did you ever hear of the tenant of Standcrown having right-of-way over Standpretty? A. – Never.

With regard to the common grazings, witness said these were not always common grazings. He knew he had paid rent for this land up to an imaginary line. It was all included with the land at Standpretty when he took it on – Standpretty and hillside.

Q. – Can you remember what happened at the lay off of the road? A. – When Logie had finished laying it off Craigie said to me “Have I to keep to that road?” I said “As long as we are on good terms you can go where you like, but if we have any dispute, that’s your road.”

The rest of Munro’s evidence corroborated that given by the previous witness.

Cross-examined by Mr Robertson – Q. –  About these common grazings, is it a common grazing now? A. – Since the estate was sold.  Q. – Was it not a common grazing before you went there? A. – No. The man before me and I paid rent for it. Q. – You did not pay a separate rent for it? A. – No it was all included in the agreement.

John Mowat (58), mason, residing at 42 Victoria Street, Kirkwall, said his father John Mowat, was tenant of Standpretty some time ago. He became tenant about thirty or forty years ago and remained tenant until his death about 1914. When he (witness) worked at Standpretty James Grieve was tenant at Standcrown. Q. – Did James Grieve go across Standpretty when going to and from Standcrown? A. – When he wanted to come to Standpretty, certainly. Q. – How did he go with his carts? A. – He always went on the Oldman road. Q. – Do you remember your father breaking out part of the meadow below Standpretty? A. – Yes. Q. – Was there any footpath across Standpretty when he was tenant? A. – Not that I remember. Witness said that in those days when a person wanted to get from one place to another he just went the way he could best keep his feet dry. There was no hard and fast rule.

Cross-examined – Q. – You were just at Standpretty for two periods of six months? A. – Yes. Q. – Had your father the common grazings? A. – The cattle went to the hill. The hill was all common grazings. Q. – If James Grieve was going to church would he cross Standpretty to get there? A. – They just went the driest way they could get.

Hugh Gibson (59), Faraclett, Rousay, tenant of Oldman for 22 years – 1902 to 1924 – said Oldman lay beside Standcrown. James Grieve was tenant of Standcrown when he went to Oldman. Grieve did his carting with an ox, and he generally carted up by Oldman, always asking leave to do so.  He did not remember Grieve ever carting across Standpretty. He knew the bridge crossing the boundary ditch between Standcrown and Standpretty. Mr Mowat (of Standpretty) had put it there along with Mr Grieve. It was done as an obligement to Grieve, but subsequently they had some disagreement and Mowat stopped Grieve.

Mr Robertson had no questions to ask.

This concluded the evidence, the hearing of which lasted four hours. The case continues for debate.

1936 April 22 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FISHING. – The lobster season has opened, and fishing operations are again resumed. With gear replenished the fishers have put to sea and renewed their acquaintance with their old fishing grounds. They have made a fair start, but the weather has been disappointing, rough seas often preventing them reaching their creels. Round about Eynhallow some of these days the sea has been a boiling cauldron – unapproachable.

1936 May 20 Orkney Herald




A Stone Age burial cairn at Hullion on the Island of Rousay, was described in a paper by Dr J. Graham Callander, F.S.A. Scot., and Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., at the monthly meeting of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland in the Library of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh last week.

The cairn – the Knowe of Ramsay – was the third monument of its type on the island of Rousay to be described before the Society, the others being the Midhowe Cairn and the Knowe of Yarso. The three showed the same general features – an entrance passage leading into a long narrow gallery divided into compartments by vertical slabs set in pairs opposite each other, and projecting inwards from the lateral walls so as to form a series of stalls on each side of the gallery or chamber. The last mentioned two cairns, however, had a face of building within the thick wall, and in the outer facing the slabs were laid obliquely instead of on the flat. In the Knowe of Ramsay, however, there was no inner face of walling, and the outer face consisted of ordinary building. At the northern end and for a short distance along the north-west side was an outer facing wall. Near the south end on the south-east face was a short section of walling jutting out at right angles from the main structure, which seemed to belong to a later date.

Dilapidated Condition. – The Knowe of Ramsay was in a terribly dilapidated condition, the whole of the superstructure having been removed to provide building material for houses and dykes in the immediate vicinity.

The entrance passage measured 6 ft. 3 ins. in length, and 1 ft. 8 ins, in width, while the gallery measured 88 ft. in length and about 5 ft. in general width, the walls on each side being reduced to a height of 4 ft. 6 ins. or less. It was divided into 14 cells.

As for relics, only a very few fragments of pottery and some pieces of flint were recovered. Human remains were found in three of the cells, but too fragmentary to give an indication of their period. Two of the skeletons were probably those of male adults, one showing evidence of chronic rheumatism. Some animal and bird bones were also found. Ox, red deer, and sheep were identified amongst the animal bones, and duck, cormorant, gannet, bittern, goose, swan, sea-eagle, and great auk amongst the birds.

The walls of the chamber showed signs of burning in many places, and some of the human and animal bones were blackened by fire.

Reindeer Antlers. – Miss Margery I. Platt, M.Sc., of the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh, submitted a short paper describing reindeer antlers of record size. The antlers comprise a complete pair attached to the frontal bones, and a third single antler of the left side. Both of these are the property of Mr Walter G. Grant, of Trumland. They were dug out of the peat on Westness, near Muckle Water Loch, Rousay, in an approximate position of 59 degs. 9 mins. N., 3 degs. 4 mins. W., many years ago. Only one other antler of great size (approximately 3 feet) has been recorded previously, and it is interesting to note that this, too, was found in the peat on the same island. The reindeer is adapted to persistent cold, and it is the only species of deer which ever populated the icy floes and bare tundras. These facts indicate that reindeer of large size and good condition existed in prehistoric times on the island of Rousay, when the race generally was retreating northwards from extensive southerly localities in Europe, driven by a steadily increasing warmth of climate.





No lives were lost when the trawler Morvina, of Grimsby, ran ashore last Wednesday morning on Kili Holm. Egilshay. The trawler, however, was badly damaged, and sank when, later in the day, she was towed off by the s.s. Earl Sigurd.

Some of the crew of nine were taken off the wrecked ship by the Earl Sigurd. The skipper and two others stayed aboard until the attempt at towing was tried. Not till it was obvious that the trawler would not float in deep water did they leave. They were taken off by the Stromness lifeboat, which had arrived on the scene. The skipper of the trawler jumped from the sinking vessel into the sea and swam to the lifeboat…..

The stranding occurred in the early morning during dense fog. Efforts were made by the crew to get the ship off, but these failed and distress signals were flown. These were seen by the Earl Sigurd, which was then on her way to North Ronaldshay. Captain Bremner went to the Morvina’s assistance. A Rousay motor boat was also on the spot, offering what assistance she could. Two of the trawler’s crew went off in the Morvina’s boat with a hawser to the Earl Sigurd. Four more of the Grimsbymen went aboard the Earl Sigurd, the skipper, mate and chief engineer remaining on board the Morvina.

At high tide the Earl Sigurd attempted to tow the Morvina off. It became obvious, however, that the Morvina was too badly damaged to float once she reached deep water, and the remaining members of the crew had no alternative to leave her.

The Stromness lifeboat, which had been called out, arrived on the scene at an opportune moment, and manoeuvred skilfully alongside the Morvina to allow the three trawlermen to come aboard. The chief engineer and the mate jumped aboard the lifeboat to safety, but the Morvina was by this time in so critical a position, and liable to roll under, that the skipper could not risk waiting for the lifeboat to manoeuvre alongside a second time, and he leaped into the sea and swam to the lifeboat. He was pulled aboard none the worse for his immersion. The lifeboat transferred the rescued men to the Sigurd and set off back to Stromness.

The Sigurd, leaving the trawler lying partly submerged, set off for North Ronaldshay with the rescued crew, and afterwards brought them into Kirkwall.

The motor boat from Rousay, which went out to the wreck and rendered able assistance was the Evie-Rousay mail-boat, operated by Mr Thomas Sinclair. Mr Sinclair made several journeys out to the Morvina and carried messages ashore to be telegraphed for the information of the lifeboat and the Coastguard authorities.

The Stromness lifeboat left her base about 11 a.m., and had a good run to the scene of the wreck. She was in charge of Second Coxswain Robert Greig. The time of the Morvina’s stranding is reported as 7.15 a.m.

1936 June 3 Orkney Herald

EVIE – MR ROBERTSON GOES TO HIS ISLAND. – Mr Duncan J. Robertson, O.B.E., proprietor of Eynhallow [and County Clerk of Orkney], crossed to his bird sanctuary last Friday. The weather was not all that could be desired, but the journey was made pretty comfortably. Mr Robertson, with his family party, will spend his usual annual holiday on the island, and we hope he will have the best of weather, and get all the rest and enjoyment he deserves, to come back greatly benefited by his stay, and his study of bird life in this quiet spot.

1936 June 10 Orkney Herald



Sheriff Brown has issued his decision in the Rousay interdict case, Costie v. Craigie. The verdict is in favour of the pursuer, Mrs Ann Costie, widow, Pretty or Standpretty, who craved the court to interdict William Craigie, Stan Crunie or Standcrown, from trespassing on her land. Pursuer and defender are neighbour farmers. Agents in the action were: – For pursuer, Mr C. E. S. Walls, solicitor (Messrs T. P. and J. L. Low, Kirkwall); for defender, Mr Duncan J. Robertson, solicitor (Messrs Macrae and Robertson, Kirkwall).

Sheriff Brown’s interlocutor is in the following terms: –

Kirkwall, 2nd June, 1936. – The Sheriff Substitute having resumed consideration of the cause, together with the proof and productions, finds in fact (1) that the pursuer is heritable proprietor of the holding of Standpretty in the island of Rousay, in virtue of a disposition, No. 4 of process, dated 11th, 16th, and 17th September, 1925; (2) that the defender is heritable proprietor of the holding of Standcrown, marching with the holding of Standpretty on the south-east, in virtue of a disposition, No. 13 of process, dated 21st, 24th, and 26th October, 1925; (3) that for a long period of years the lands of Standpretty and Standcrown, which were the property of General Sir Frederick Traill Burroughs, or his Trustees, were occupied by a succession of tenants; (4) that during this period, though not without interruption, the occupiers of Standcrown had, by tolerance, liberty of passage over the lands of Standpretty; (5) that the only access to Standcrown is not of necessity across Standpretty: Finds in law (1) that up till 1925 no servitude or implied right of access or passage in favour of Standcrown had been constituted over Standpretty; (2) that the defender has not by his title obtained an implied grant of a valid servitude right of way or access over the lands of Standpretty for any purpose: Therefore repels the defences, sustains the pleas-in-law stated by the pursuer, and grants decree in terms of the first, second and fourth craves of the initial writ: Finds the defender liable to the pursuer in the expenses of the process, allows an account thereof to be given in, and remits the same, when lodged, to the Auditor of Court to tax and to report. – (Signed) GEORGE BROWN.

1936 June 24 Orkney Herald

EVIE – THE PEATS COME HOME. – After many weeks of splendid drying conditions, the peats are ready for burning, and the moors are being cleared of their produce. Every day now, the rumble of the peat carts on the rocky hill roads may be heard as the crisp turves are being conveyed to the home stance. Here they are masoned into fine stacks, where they repose until required to be withdrawn to keep the home fires burning. Of excellent quality this year, they will form fuel equal to coal in heat-giving properties, and superior in their aromatic flavour and cleanness to handle. Long live the peats!

1936 August 26 Orkney Herald

WYRE – SHIPMENTS OF HORSES. – Another horse was shipped from the island last Monday, which makes the number four from the island this year. The shipping of horses is no easy matter. They have first to be sent over to Rousay in a cobble boat, and then shipped on to the steamer. The people of Wyre are, however, trying for a pier, and if they get one, it will prove the biggest boon the isle has ever known.

FARM WORK. – The past week has been one of many jobs for the farmer – looking round, seeing that everything is in place before cutting starts. Scuffling [shallow ploughing] is now almost finished, and the turnips are doing well. Wednesday, 12th August, was sheep dipping day. The Wyre farmers dip their sheep in the old-fashioned way, lifting the animals into a wooden tank, then on to a dripper. The sheep are always held on their backs. This puts a heavy strain on the man; besides, it is a job that requires 7 or 8 men in oilskins to dip one sheep. It is about time the men on this island had a more convenient way of dipping.

1936 September 4 The Scotsman

          A “monster” reported seen off Rousay, one of the Orkney islands, is declared by local experts to have been a great-headed cachalot [Great Spermaceti], a member of the whale family. The two fins which were visible gave the suggestion of horns.

1936 September 23 Orkney Herald

WYRE – MEASLES. – There has been an outbreak of measles in the island, but it seems to have died down, as there are no more cases to date. It is to be hoped it will not spread, as there are quite a number of people who have not had the disease.

SHEEP DIPPING. – The people of the island have decided on having a concrete sheep dipping tank. They are well on with the job now, and will be using it for the next dipping, which will be shortly. It will be a great improvement upon the old method of dipping. Mr William Pottinger, Stronsay, is doing the mason work, and is making a first class job.

HARVESTING. – All the crop is now in the band, and is a fairly good crop over all. The farmers’ biggest worry now is stooks, which are in a very poor condition owing to the calm, misty weather of the past week or more. In some cases the stooks have been pulled over to dry the inside of the sheaf, and even the sheaves had to be loosened before the growth of the grain could be checked.

1936 October 14 Orkney Herald

WYRE – LAMB SHIPMENTS. – Lambs are being shipped now every Monday and will soon all be away. Good prices have been realised, some lambs selling at 50s. earlier in the season. Prices are better than those obtained last year.

HARVEST. – Leading is now finished and stacks are built on various fields. Some houses have six, eight, and more stacks outside the cornyard, the reason being that the cleanland crop being in poor order, farmers were glad to get it together when it was dry, no matter where they built the stacks. Tile crop is a good bulk in most cases.

[Good to see the appearance of a Wyre correspondent – whose contributions I will use, all the time there is little or nothing forthcoming from Rousay!]

1936 October 21 Orkney Herald

EVIE – STORM AND RESULTS. – After a long period of fine weather and calm blue seas, the elements have at last been stirred up into violence and a change has come over the face of the waters and the countryside. Tremendous seas have swept in from the west these days, rising in huge columns and breaking over the headlands of Scabra. Eynhallow has been lying in a bed of surf, and the sound almost hidden with the smoke of the spray. Vegetation has been blackened by the battering of the forces of wind and wet, and showers of leaves torn from the trees have been swirling through the air and over the ground. The wind reached its greatest force on Saturday night when, accompanied by heavy showers, its impact strained to the utmost such things as corn-stacks, hen houses. etc. Little damage, however, was done. Boats lying at anchor had a tough fight, one breaking from the moorings and coming ashore, Mr J. Mount’s motor boat. The Rousay mail boat was driven in at the other side of the sound. The greatest loss sustained was that of sheep washed off the skerry on Eynhallow, the exact number not yet known. Several came ashore at Rousay on Sunday morning.

WYRE – THE GALE. – A storm of unusual severity was experienced here last Saturday. At high water the wind was very strong, and got gradually worse towards evening, reaching its height about 7 or 8 p.m. No damage of any consequence was done. A few stacks were blown over, and one or two hen houses. The boat used for boating cattle off to the steamer filled at her moorings about the time the wind was strongest.

1936 October 26 Dundee Evening Telegraph

Orkney Distillery Staff’s Gift to Employer. – Walter G. Grant, F.S.A. (Scot.), Kirkwall, and Trumland, Rousay, whose practical interest in the development of civil aviation in the Orkney Islands was again demonstrated recently by his provision of a site for the Air Ministry directional radio station, was honoured to-day on the occasion of his silver wedding.

The staff of Highland Park Distillery, Kirkwall, of which he proprietor, presented Mr and Mrs Grant with a case of silver and ivory fish knives and servers, the gift being handed over by Mr James Stout, the oldest employee.

1936 November 7 The Scotsman

LAYING A TELEGRAPH CABLE IN ORKNEY. – His Majesty’s telegraph ship Alert is employing this week-end a Kirkwall auxiliary ketch, the Wharrie Glen, for shallow water work, in laying a new cable between Evie, on the Orkney mainland, and the island of Rousay, across Eynhallow Sound. Over two miles of cable will be laid. The old cable will not be lifted.

1936 November 25 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PRIZE DAY IN SOURIN PUBLIC SCHOOL. – A very pleasant little ceremony took place in the Sourin School on the afternoon of Friday, 20th inst., when Mr Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso, district member of the School Management Committee, presented the attendance and merit prizes for the year ending July 31, 1936. When the whole school had assembled in the Senior Room, Mr John R. Wallace, in a short speech, welcomed Mr Mainland, who suitably replied, and then proceeded to present the prizes to the successful pupils. At the end of this part of the ceremony, Mr Mainland said that he wanted all the pupils to have something to take home, and he delighted everyone by asking Miss Margaret J. C. Cooper to hand out to each pupil a grand, big bag of sweets. Before he left, Mr Mainland received the right hearty vote of thanks he deserved. The prize list is as follows: – Attendance (presented by the School Management Committee) – Perfect Attendance – Edith H. Gibson, Bungalow; John D. Grieve, Digro; Dorothy M. Mainland, Hurtiso; Ernest Mainland, Hurtiso. Good attendance – John C. Harcus, Clumpy; Ann Lynn, Ervadale; Hugh Lyon, Ervadale; Robert C. Marwick, Innister; Margaret A. Munro, Breval; John C. Seatter, Banks; Thelma Shearer, Curquoy; Hugh S. Yorston, Frotoft P.O. Merit (presented by the teachers) – Infants – Thelma Shearer, Curquoy; Junior II – George Grieve, Cruannie; Senior III – 1 Ernest Mainland, Hurtiso; 2 Hugh Lyon, Ervadale; Senior II – 1 Kathleen Linklater, Blossom; 2 Netta A. Russell, Brendale; Senior I – 1 Edith H. Gibson, Bungalow; 2 John C. Harcus, Clumpy; 2nd Year Advanced Division – 1 Ann Lyon, Ervadale; 2 Robert C. Marwick, Innister.

1936 December 16 Orkney Herald



The constitutional crisis ended last Thursday – but in a manner that saddened the Nation and the Empire – with the abdication of King Edward the Eighth.

On Saturday King Edward’s successor, his brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York, was proclaimed in London King of Great Britain and the Dominions. He has taken as his title King George the Sixth. The warmth of the welcome accorded the new King indicates that he will be no less popular than his unlucky brother…..

1936 December 30 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – SOURIN SCHOOL CHRISTMAS TREAT. – In spite of lashing rain, muddy roads, and no moon, practically the whole of Sourin’s population splashed their way to the Sourin Hall on Friday, 18th inst. In the hall, which was tastefully decorated with streamers, clusters of balloons, and evergreens, the outstanding feature was the Rousay-grown Christmas tree, with its load of toys, gay decorations, tinsel and coloured electric bulbs. The children’s games began shortly after six, and were continued with great enthusiasm until 7.45, when biscuits were served. At 8 o’clock, the school children made their contribution to the evening’s entertainment by giving a short concert programme. The children themselves were in charge of the programme, each item, including the opening speech of welcome, being announced and rendered by the pupils. The applause of their audience showed how very highly their efforts were appreciated.

Supper followed, and then a loud knock-knock at the main door announced the arrival of good old Santa Claus. Each child, after being presented by Santa with a toy from the tree, received a cracker, an orange, an apple, a bar of chocolate, and a balloon. As Santa left the hall, he received the rousing cheers he thoroughly deserved. The jolly family atmosphere continued through the happy hours of dancing, which lasted till 1.30, when “Auld Lang Syne” brought to a close what everyone voted the best treat yet.

The committee wish to thank all the kind friends who gave assistance, financial or otherwise, and the willing musicians, who so readily provided the music.

Annexed is the programme: – Round, “Xmas is Here,” Ann Lyon, Sally Linklater, Mabel Grieve, Isobel Pirie, Jean Marwick, Netta Russell, Edith Gibson, Dorothy Mainland, Hugh Yorston, Andrew Clouston, John Grieve. John Seatter; recitation, “The Work of the Railway Train,” Chrissie Grieve, Dorothy Munro, Peggy Corsie, Thelma Shearer, Ernest Mainland, George Grieve, Tommy Linklater, Robert Munro, Robert Lyon, Edward Seatter, James Harcus; dialogue, “The Candidate,” Tommy Linklater and Ernest Mainland; mouth organ selections, John Seatter, Gordon Taylor, Archer Clouston, John Grieve; dialogue, “Jack and Jill,” Peggy Corsie and Edward Seatter; recitation, “The House that Jack built,” Thelma Shearer, Chrissie Grieve, George Grieve, Arnold Grieve, Hugh Lyon, Gordon Taylor, Kathie Linklater, Bertie Grieve, Tommy Linklater, Ernest Mainland, Jean Marwick, John Harcus; sketch, “The Deaf Grandma,” Netta Russell, Chrissie Grieve, Thelma Shearer, and George Grieve; Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas,” Ann Lyon, Sally Linklater, Mabel Grieve, Isobel Pirie, Jean Marwick, Netta Russell, Edith Gibson, Dorothy Mainland, Hugh Yorston, Archer Clouston, John Grieve, John Seatter; dialogue, “The Two Cousins,” Ann Lyon and Isobel Pirie; mouth organ selections, John Seatter, Gordon Taylor, Archer Clouston, John Grieve; selection of Nursery Rhymes, Peggy Corsie, James Harcus and Edward Seatter; sketch, “Lightning Cures,” John Grieve, Hugh Yorston, Angus Harcus, Mabel Grieve, Sally Linklater; dialogue, “Love’s Young Dream,” Kathie Linklater and John Harcus; recitation, “The Rainbow,” Jean Marwick, John Harcus, Edith Gibson, Bertie Grieve, Dorothy Mainland, Gordon Taylor, Kathie Linklater, Archer Clouston; “God Save the King.” Announcers and stage managers – Archer Clouston, Hugh Yorston, John Grieve and John Seatter. Dressers – Ann Lyon and Isobel Pirie.

In Print

Newsprint – 1935

1935 January 16 Orkney Herald

EVIE – WEATHER. – Winter’s first snowfall was experienced last Saturday afternoon, when a heavy shower of snow fell covering hill and plain with a good coating. A keen frost set in immediately, and at night the roads had become very slippery. The earth in its mantle of white looked very beautiful under a bright moon and glistening stars, and the change from continuous rain and drab colouring was rather welcome. On Sunday morning there were indications of a change again, and gradually the hard conditions gave way, most of the snow having thawed ere the night passed. Mixed weather has been the rule since this moon came – a Saturday’s moon – which has usually been associated with unsettled weather conditions. Always Saturday changes have been unpopular with those who believe its lunar influence, and two well-known sayings are “A Saturday’s fu’, the storm will brew; and “A Saturday’s quarter, be it afore or after, is often a tartar.”

1935 January 30 Orkney Herald

STORMS ISOLATE ORKNEY TWICE IN A WEEK. – Orkney was twice isolated from the Scottish mainland last week, when the worst gales of the winter so far were recorded.

The entire gamut of winter conditions – snow, sleet, hail, and rain – was experienced during the week, and considerable minor damage to haystacks, fences, and chimney pots is reported from the country districts. In Kirkwall several persons narrowly escaped injury from falling slates.

There have been no cases of vessels in distress around the Orkneys. Trawlers dashed for shelter to Kirkwall, Scapa, Stromness, and the bays in the vicinity, some of them having valuable gear swept away en route. Over seventy trawlers were sheltering off the mainland during the weekend, but no accidents are reported from them…..

On Tuesday the St Ola was unable to make the crossing, and as the Highland Airways mail ‘plane also found the conditions unfavourable, the county was completely cut off for the first time this year. On Wednesday the St Ola succeeded in beating the gale, although she received a severe buffeting in the Pentland Firth. The ‘plane was still held up however.

Heavy snow fell on Friday, and both the ‘plane and steamer services were again interrupted. The ‘plane, it was reported, actually reached Scapa Flow, but was unable, owing to bad visibility, to proceed further. The St Ola was baffled by the continuance of the storm on Saturday, but the ‘plane arrived at 1 p.m., after a long fight with the gale.

On Sunday weather moderated, and the mailboat made an excellent crossing of the Firth, bringing the belated parcels and newspapers at her usual time in the afternoon.

1935 February 6 Orkney Herald

EVIE – TEMPESTUOUS WEATHER. – Very rough weather has been again experienced during the past week, a foul mixture of rain, hail, sleet, and snow occurring daily with gales of varying velocity and temperatures as variable. Tremendous seas have thundered in from the west, rising in white mountains in the narrow channel between Eynhallow and Rousay, and then breaking into columns of spray with a play fascinating to witness. The Holy Isle, lying serene, has been encircled by a white border of surf, the surging billows challenging approach to its shores. Boating has been difficult and dangerous, and the crossings to Rousay and to Eynhallow have been watched with excitement and anxiety, the great waves at times almost burying the small craft. No serious damage has been done by land or sea, though the countryside swept by the cold winds, and deluged with wet, is looking worn, the verdure very much bleached and the soil sodden.

1935 March 13 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – BALFOUR HOSPITAL. – The treasurer to the Balfour Hospital Trustees has gratefully acknowledged the sum of £5 from Robert Inkster, Cogar, Rousay, being the proceeds of a concert by the Wasbister Concert Party.

[That concert took place almost five months previously! The above is the sole communication from Rousay since early December last year. Every other Orkney island and mainland parish have weekly columns, full of items of interest. Again, absolutely nothing from Rousay, and for the second year in succession no report on the island’s annual ploughing match!]

1935 March 20 Orkney Herald



Chronic rheumatism afflicted the inhabitants of Orkney in the Neolithic period during their later years. This was revealed in a description of these prehistoric Orcadians, based on a number of skeletons found in Rousay, given at the monthly meeting of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland in Edinburgh last week.

Dr J. Graham Callander, F.S.A.Scot., and Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., described a long chambered cairn, the Knowe of Yarso, belonging to the Neolithic period, on the island of Rousay. The cairn, which was built near the edge a shelf on the steep hillside running up from Eynhallow Sound, measures 50 feet in length and 25 feet 6 inches in greatest breadth. It now measures 6 feet in height. Much of the superstructure has been removed to supply building stone in late times. The burial chamber was divided into three stall-like compartments separated by vertical slabs set up opposite each other on both sides. lts length was 24 feet 1 inch, and its average breadth about 5 feet 9 inches. Access, was obtained by an entrance passage 13 feet 2 inches long and about 2 feet broad. The outer wall of the cairn was built in a peculiar fashion. The foundation course was formed of flat slabs projecting 3 inches beyond the face of the wall, which was not built in the ordinary way, but by placing the stones of which it was composed obliquely, their outer edges sloping downwards from left to right.

The remains of 29 human skeletons were found in the cairn, but, before being deposited it appeared that the bodies had been dismembered as most of the skulls were found ranged along the foot of the stalls of the two inner chambers. Possibly the bodies had been allowed to decay before the bones were collected and finally buried in the cairn. Many flint implements including arrowheads and scrapers, and many animal bones were found in the layer containing the human remains. Small fragments of a food-vessel urn of the Bronze Age, and of two other vessels were recovered from the top of this layer. Probably they had been deposited there at a date subsequent to the Stone Age burials.

Mr Grant, it was reported, has presented the artefacts to the National Museum of Antiquities, and the human remains to the Anatomical Department, Aberdeen University.

People of Low Stature. – Professor Low, of Aberdeen University, described the human skeletal remains. There was evidence of 29 individuals, all adults except for one adolescent about 13 years of age. On account of the fragmentary nature of the remains it was difficult to sex the bones.

Five skulls except for absence of lower jaws were sufficiently intact to allow of measurements, four of men and one of a woman; one of the male skulls was in exceptionally good preservation. Four of these skulls had the characteristics of Neolithic skulls found elsewhere in Britain, they were oval-headed dolichocephalics with a cranial capacity almost the same of the modern European (brow ridges of no great prominence; forehead somewhat receding; back of head bulging and face somewhat projecting with narrow nose.)

The fifth skull shows remarkable features; it is that of a young man, probably in the twenties, with incomplete dentition the wisdom teeth not erupted, and this is associated with complete closure of all the cranial sutures. The result is a very much elongated oblong skull showing marked asymmetry of the vault and base.

They were a people of low stature, 5 feet 3 inches, and of moderate muscular development. There was no evidence of caries of the teeth, but in older individuals many of the vertebrae and some of the other bones showed the effect of chronic rheumatism.

Professor Low emphasised the paucity in Scotland – and the great scientific value – of such Neolithic remains.

1935 April 3 Orkney Herald



In Orkney, as in most of the country, March, after coming in like the proverbial lamb, went out like the proverbial lion. One of the fiercest gales of the winter swept the county during the week-end, and considerable minor damage was done.

The mail steamer St Ola was unable to make her usual crossing of the Pentland Firth on Monday morning owing to the huge seas running, but Highland Airways’ plane was able to fly from Inverness with the lighter mails.

The Evie-Rousay mail-carrying motor boat White Rose, owned by Thomas Sinclair & Son, dragged her anchor during the Sunday night gale, and sank near the small pier of Hullion, Rousay. She was found on Monday morning, and has now been brought ashore. We are informed that the boat is holed, but not badly.

1935 April 10 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY MAIL BOAT AT STROMNESS. – A motorboat, belonging to Messrs T. Sinclair & Son, Banks, Frotoft, Rousay, who carry mails, passengers and cargo between Rousay and Evie, is now at Stromness, where she is being fitted with a new 14 h.p. Kelvin petrol engine by Messrs Yorston and Mowat. The boat is some twenty-three feet in length, and when she returns to her regular work should prove to be a very sea-worthy craft. lt is of interest to note that another motor-boat, belonging to the same owners, and reported damaged in last week’s gale, was at one time owned in Stromness by Mr John S. Bain, of the Masons Arms Hotel.

1935 April 24 Orkney Herald

ORKNEY HILLS TO BLAZE ON JUBILEE NIGHT. – Orkney is out to celebrate the King’s Silver Jubilee on a grand scale, and elaborate preparations are under way for making it an occasion to be long remembered.

Practically every district will have its own form of celebrations in addition to what is being done by the County Council. The most spectacular of all the celebrations will be the beacons.

On the night of May the 6th, giant beacons will leap into flame on each of Orkney’s principal hills, on the Ward Hill of Hoy, on Kirkwall’s Wideford Hill, in Westray, in Rousay, in Orphir and other parishes. It will be possible for those who climb those hills to see all Orkney’s beacon’s ablaze – a scene reminiscent of the days when bonfires were lit as a warning against the Viking sea-raiders.

At the same time, throughout the length and breadth of the kingdom, other bonfires will be blazing. Great Britain, from the north of Shetland to Land’s End will be a chain of beacons. To those fortunate enough to enjoy a view from an aeroplane the spectacle will be one of unparalleled magnificence.

Kirkwall and Stromness have planned spectacular “stunts” on their own account, and if all goes well May 6th will be a red-letter day in both burghs…..

STROMNESS – MOTOR-BOAT LAUNCHED. – A motor-boat, used on the Rousay-Evie mail service, was successfully launched from Messrs Yorston and Mowat’s workshop on Tuesday, where she had been fitted with a new 14 h.p. Kelvin petrol engine. After a few satisfactory test runs in Stromness Harbour, she made a successful passage to Evie on Thursday.

1935 May 1 Orkney Herald

EVIE – VISITORS AT EYNHALLOW. – Mr Duncan J. Robertson and a family party spent the week-end at their bungalow on Eynhallow. The weather was fine, contributing to their enjoyment.

UNUSUAL SPECTACLE. – A celestial phenomenon consisting of three sun dogs, one on either side of and one above the sun, was observed here last Wednesday morning shortly after sunrise. The “dogs,” which were very brilliant, seemed to figure in a “brough” round the sun. Apprehension of a serious disturbance in the elements was anticipated, this appearance being regarded as an evil portent. The best of weather, however, ensued.

1935 May 8 Orkney Herald


With bonfires, pageants, loyal demonstrations, and a multitude of varying ceremonies, Orkney on Monday celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the reign of Their Majesties King George the Fifth and Queen Mary – the most eventful reign in history.

Glorious weather favoured the great day, and the celebrations were carried out throughout the county, and particularly in the burghs, against a background of magnificent colour – flags of the Empire, bunting, streamers, ribbons of red, white, and blue, silver shields and crowns helped to provide entrancing decorative schemes in the towns and villages of Orkney, and in the rural areas too. In the farmhouses and crofts the people did their share in making memorable the Silver Jubilee of the nation’s gracious rulers.

At night there was witnessed a scene not often observed in a lifetime, when, on the peaks of Orkney’s biggest hills, giant beacons burst into flames, lighting up the sky like mighty torches…..

[In this, and the edition of May 15th, every inhabited Orkney island and mainland parish had reports spread throughout the columns of the Orkney Herald relating to the Jubilee celebrations, especially those who lit their lofty beacons…..except ROUSAY. Even a scribe from Egilsay submitted a report for publication concerning his island’s activities that day, and it was one of many under the headline – HOW THE PARISHES & ISLANDS CELEBRATED THE JUBILEE. This is what he had to say…..]

EGILSHAY – ISLAND’S PART IN THE EMPIRE’S REJOICINGS. – Through the kindness of Alfred Baikie, Esq., landlord of the island, the inhabitants of Egilshay were enabled to celebrate the King’s Silver Jubilee in grand style.

During the early afternoon, combustible material for the bonfire was conveyed to the site above Warset, and it was soon evident that the islanders meant to make the event an unforgettable one.

The evening’s rejoicings commenced in the schoolroom at 7 p.m. Mr Thomas Hynd, missionary, in a very pleasing and efficient manner, presided over the large gathering and enlivened the entire proceedings with his bright and cheerful remarks.

After the singing of the National Anthem, prayer was offered by the chairman. An enjoyable tea was then served, catering being in the hands of the ladies of the committee. Mr [Hugh] Robertson, the factor, and also oldest inhabitant, was called upon by Mr Hynd to present to the children and old folks souvenirs in the way of balls, jugs, pencil cases and boxes of tea.

Mr Hynd, who is the possessor of a very beautiful and powerful voice, led off with a song, and Miss Alice Mainland followed with “Song of Orkney.” Both singers responded to the clamorous applause by singing a duet, which was very much appreciated, and doubly so because of their playing so well their own accompaniments.

The children were not forgotten, and merry were the games they participated in. An old favourite song was splendidly rendered by the following gentlemen: – Messrs William Mainland, Alex. Alexander, and James Seatter, jr. Votes of thanks were then called for, and cordially given to all who had contributed to the success of the evening.

The company next trekked to the bonfire. The three oldest schoolboys, James Seator, James Mainland and James Alexander, under the supervision of the men folk, ignited the huge pile. From our vantage ground, numerous beacons were seen on all sides.

The fire having burnt itself out the festivities were reluctantly brought to an end by the singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” All dispersed, feeling satisfied that, though in a remote part, we had shared in the Empire’s rejoicings.

1935 June 5 Orkney Herald

EVIE – ON HOLIDAY. – Mr Duncan J. Robertson, proprietor of Eynhallow, is now on his annual holiday in the isIe. During his residence there many visitors cross to spend a day on the island, and there is a lively traffic of boats in the Sound. We hope the weather will continue fine for Mr Robertson’s benefit, and that he will enjoy his rest in the quiet retreat of this bird sanctuary.

1935 June 18 Orkney Herald

NORTH ISLES AIR SERVICE. – Highland Airways, Ltd., have reintroduced their summer air service to the North Isles. On Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays the plane leaves Kirkwall at 5 p.m. and, making a complete round of the islands, Westray (on demand only), North Ronaldshay (on demand only), Stronsay and Sanday, arrives back at Kirkwall at 6.30. On Mondays only the plane also makes a round of the islands in the morning, leaving Kirkwall at 7.30 a.m. and arriving back at Kirkwall at 9 a.m. The company also operates a service to Rousay on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings and on Monday mornings. Fares range from Kirkwall-Rousay, 7/6 (return, 11/6); to Kirkwall-North Ronaldshay, 18/- (return. 30/-). Pending certain developments the North Isles service will be undertaken by the Aberdeen plane.

1935 July 10 Orkney Herald

EVIE – MR ROBERTSON LEAVES EYNHALLOW. – Mr D. J. Robertson and family have completed their annual six weeks’ stay in Eynhallow and returned last Monday.

1935 July 17 Orkney Herald

EVIE – DISTINGUISHED WRITER VISITS EVIE. – Last Friday Evie was honoured with a visit by H. V. Morton, author of “In Search of Scotland,” etc. Mr Morton and party visited the Brough of Aikerness, and then proceeded to Eynhallow and Rousay.

[Henry Vollam Morton was one of the most popular travel writers of his time. He was born in Lancashire in 1892 and after brief military service during the First World War, he established a career as a journalist, first in Birmingham then in Fleet Street. Morton was a prolific writer, with a body of work consisting of several hundred newspaper, magazine articles and features, in addition to his 49 published books.]

1935 July 24 Orkney Herald

EVENING CRUISE TO ROUSAY. – Though somewhat in the nature of an experiment, last Wednesday’s evening cruise to Rousay, organised by Kirkwall and District Small-Bore Rifle Club, was entirely successful. The steamer Earl Sigurd landed a full complement from Kirkwall and Shapinsay at Trumland pier. The Kirkwall contingent included Kirkwall Town Band and people from several Orkney mainland districts, as well as visitors from the South. Mr Walter G. Grant, Trumland House, kindly opened his lovely grounds to the visitors. He also provided land at Trumland Farm for a shooting demonstration by an Orkney and Zetland Small-bore Rifle Association party of ten rifles, and more than twenty other tutoring marksmen, from clubs in Kirkwall, Evie, Holm and Shapinsay. In three hours 117 pupils were handled, all Rousay residents or Rousay visitors, and prizes, the gifts of Messrs R. Garden, Ltd., and Mr D. H. Gorn, tailor, Kirkwall, were presented to – Miss Alice Logie, Mr John Gorn, and Mr Malcolm Hourie, who had been most successful among the competing pupils. Messrs R. S. Spence, Kirkwall, and D. J. Inkster, Rousay and Kirkwall, were the gun licence holders in charge of the shooting. Mr John D. Gorie, Kirkwall, a vice-president of the O. and Z. Association, in a speech at the pier, called for thanks and cheers to Mr and Mrs Grant, and these were heartily accorded. The steamer departed for Shapinsay and Kirkwall just after 10.30 p.m.

1935 July 31 Orkney Herald



The annual regatta of Rousay Sailing Club took place in Viera Sound on Friday (Kirkwall Holiday) under ideal sailing conditions. After a somewhat dull and cloudy morning, with occasional showers, the sky cleared and the sun broke through long ere the racing commenced. A full sail westerly breeze blew down the Sound during the first four races, viz., 22ft, 17ft , 14ft. classes, and all-comers, but veered round to the south before the race for local boats had commenced.

Boats from Kirkwall, Evie, Eday, Rousay, and Wyre took part in the regatta, whilst there was also a large turn-out of motor boats, the majority of which came from Kirkwall. s.s Earl Sigurd arrived shortly after 10 a.m. and disembarked a number of passengers from Kirkwall before proceeding to Papa Westray and Westray, amongst whom were the members of Kirkwall City Pipe Band, who played selections at the Pier Head before the commencement of the regatta and at various intervals throughout the day, which greatly helped to enliven the proceedings.

The sailing course was a triangular one, the first leg being a run to a mark boat off the Point of Avelshay, the second a reach to a mark boat off the Point of Wyre, and the third a dead beat to weather to the starting line, which was marked by a buoy anchored off Rousay Pier. The length of the course was approximately three miles, making a distance of six miles for the 22ft. and 17ft. class boats, which went twice round the course, the other races, for the 14ft., all-comers, and local boats, being once round only.

The officials in charge of the races were: – Starter, Mr J. Craigie, Pier Cottage; timekeeper, Mr J. Gibson; and acting secretary, Mr R. Johnston, Trumland Farm, all of whom carried out their duties in a very satisfactory manner.

22 Feet Class Race. (Twice Round Sailing Course). – The first race was that for the 22ft. waterline class boats, and the signal gun was fired at 11.25 a.m. sharp, when four boats jockeyed for positions, the starting gun being fired at 11.30. The competing boats were: – Sea Imp (W. Sinclair, A. Finlayson, skipper), Venus (W. Schollay), Mizpah (W. Grieve), all Kirkwall boats, and the Snowdrop (C. Logie, Rousay). Venus was first to cross the line, followed by Snowdrop, Mizpah, and Sea Imp. With spinnakers set the boats presented a fine spectacle as they went down the Sound before the wind. Speculation on the pier was rife as to which was to be the first boat round the mark boat. Venus was first round, and still held her lead at the second mark. On the beat to weather a great race ensued, but Venus, which was sailing remarkably well, weathered the mark buoy of the pier, to set out on the second round, fully 30 seconds ahead of her rivals, a matter of 15 seconds separating each of the other boats as they rounded the buoy, with Mizpah second, followed by Sea Imp, and Snowdrop. The second round was practically a repetition of the first, with the exception that Sea Imp, which had put up a larger jib on the second run, by splendid handling gradually worked her way to the front; but the issue still lay in doubt between Venus and Sea Imp almost up to the finishing line. Sea Imp, however, appeared to be lying a better wind than did Venus close on the finish, and eventually crossed the line 18 seconds ahead of Venus, to win a fine sailed race and the cup. The following are the corrected times (Sea Imp and Venus being scratch boats): – 1 and cup, Sea Imp, 1h 1m 25s. 2, Venus, 1h 1m 43s. 3. Mizpah, 1h 1m 59s. Snowdrop, 1h 3m 7s.

17 Feet Class Race. (Twice Round Sailing Course). Four boats entered for the 17ft. class race, which was started at 11.45 a.m., the boats being as follows: – Thora (W. Miller, Evie), Olive (J. Wylie, Rousay), Ishbel (H. Mowat, Kirkwall, J. Walls, skipper), and Foam (A. Gray, Eday). On the starting gun being fired Ishbel was first away, followed by Thora, Foam, and Olive. Ishbel gradually drew ahead of the other boats, and finished the first round three minutes ahead of Foam, which was also well ahead of Thora and Olive. Ishbel finally ran out an easy winner by a margin of almost five minutes, with Foam an easy second by over 8 minutes. This race, from a spectator’s point of view, was uninteresting, as Ishbel held so big a lead that the result was a foregone conclusion, the same applying to Foam with regard to second place, the only close finish being that between the last two boats for third place, which Thora won by 14 seconds. The following are the corrected times: – 1 and cup, Ishbel, 58m 57s. Foam, 1h 3m 10s. 3 Thora, 1h 11m 38s. Olive, 1h 11m 52s.

14 Feet Class Race. (Once Round Railing Course). This class was composed of nine boats, and was started at 12 noon, the boats going once round the course. The boats were as follows: – Lottie (C. Craigie, Wyre), Gem (G. Sinclair, Evie). Mary Annie (S. Mainland. Evie), White Heather (A. Anderson, Evie), Chrissolite (J. Wylie), Lark (A. Grieve), Daisy (G. Sutherland), Ivy (G. Harrold), all of Rousay, and Vala (D. M. Cooper, Kirkwall, P. Finlayson, skipper). Mary Annie was first across the line, followed by Lottie and White Heather, there being little or no difference between the others, with the exception that Vala, which made a bad start, and was well behind. This race was difficult to follow, as the 22ft. class boats were just finishing their first round of the course shortly after the start of the 14ft. class race, and, overtaking the smaller boats, the two classes got mixed up, making the boats bad to distinguish. Vala, notwithstanding her bad start, and the fact that she was one of the scratch boats, soon overhauled her rivals, and went into the lead, eventually crossing the winning line 4 minutes 49 seconds ahead of Mary Annie, which was second. The corrected times were as follows: – 1 and cup, Vala 34m 51s. 2, Mary Annie 39m 40s. 3, Ivy 41m 43½s. Lottie 41m 45s. Daisy 42m 47s. Gem 43m 11s. White Heather 43m 48s. Chrissolite 45m 12½s. Lark 46m 22½s.

All-Comers Race. (Once Round Sailing Course.) The all-comers’ race was started at 2.30 p.m., when 14 boats competed. viz.: – Sea Imp, Mizpah, Venus, Snowdrop, Thora, Olive, Ishbel, Foam, Lottie, Gem, Mary Annie, White Heather, Daisy, and Vala. White Heather was first to cross the line, closely followed by Ishbel, Snowdrop, and Mary Annie, who held the first four places, the others following in their wake. When the first buoy was reached, Snowdrop was seen to be in the lead, followed by Venus, Mizpah, Sea Imp, Ishbel, and Vala. On the reach to Wyre, Sea Imp worked into third place by overhauling Mizpah, the other positions remaining unaltered. The last leg of the course, a dead beat to weather against a flood tide, which had been in the boats’ favour in the previous races when beating to weather, proved the most interesting of the day. A great struggle between Snowdrop, Venus, Sea Imp, and Mizpah ensued from the Wyre buoy almost up to the pier, with the issue lying in doubt practically up to the finishing line, when it was seen that the Sea Imp had taken the lead from Snowdrop and Venus, to cross the line with a good lead on Venus, which was a second over, followed by Snowdrop, lshbel and Mizpah. Vala, a 14 ft. class boat, was the next to cross the line, finishing the course well ahead of the other three 17ft. class boats participating in the race, irrespective of time allowance. In this race prizes were awarded for the first three boats in the big class (22ft. and 17ft.) and also for the first three boats in the small class (14ft. and under). The winners and corrected times were as follows: – Big Class. 1 and cup, Sea Imp (22ft. Class) 33m 57s. 2 Ishbel (17ft. class) 35m 3½s. 3 Snowdrop (22ft. class) 35m 11s. 4 Venus (22ft class) 35m 25s. Small Class. 1 Vala 35m 31½s. 2 Mary Annie 50m 26½s. 3 Gem 57m 40½s.

Local Boats’ Race. (Once Round Sailing Course.) The race for local boats was sailed off at 4 p.m., when five boats entered, viz.: – Olive, Daisy, Ivy, Lottie, and Snowdrop. The wind by this time had veered round to the south, which made a reach to the first buoy, a turn to the second, and a reach home. The other boats got a start of 20 minutes on Snowdrop, last year’s winner of this race, which proved much too great for the larger class boat, and she was hopelessly out of the race at the finish. The boats finished in the following order after times were corrected: – Over 14 Feet. 1 Olive (J. Wylie) 34m 33s. Under 14 Feet. 1 Ivy (G. Harrold) 33m 38½s. 2. Daisy (G. Sutherland) 34m 11s. 3. Lottie (C. Craigie) 38m 2s.

Motor Boat Race. The sailing races being completed, next came the motor boat race, which was a run out at dead slow speed until a signal was given for their return, when they had to come back at full speed. There were only four competitors, and the results were as follows: – 1 and cup, Jean (J. Corse, Kirkwall). 2 Bella (T. Sinclair, Rousay). 3 Eva (J. Wylie, Rousay). 4. Aster (S. Bews, Kirkwall).

Rowing Races. The usual rowing and sculling races followed which were completed about 5.45 p.m. the winners being as follows: – Boys’ Rowing Race. 1. J. Grieve and T. Hutchison, Kirkwall. 2 Dan and Fred Grieve, Kirkwall. 3. T. Wilson and J. Johnston, Kirkwall. Ladies’ Rowing Race. 1 The Misses Sinclair, Banks, Rousay. 2 Misses Sinclair and Mainland, Rousay. 3. Misses H. Johnston and M. Johnston, Kirkwall. Men’s Rowing Race (Pairs). 1 C. Craigie and J. Johnston, Wyre. 2 J. and J. Wylie, Rousay. 3 J. Laird and J. Walls, Kirkwall. Men’s Rowing Race (Single). 1 C. Craigie, Wyre. 2 J. Wylie, Rousay. 3. T. Sinclair, Rousay. Men’s Sculling Race. 1 C. Logie, Rousay. 2 J. Marwick, Rousay.

Presentation of Prizes. The prizes were presented at 6 p.m. by Mrs Walter G. Grant of Westness, who was accorded a very hearty vote of thanks on the call of Mr J. Gibson. The usual votes of thanks were accorded to those who took part in the regatta, to those who contributed to the prize fund, and to any who in any way helped to make the regatta a success.

The Rousay Club entertained the crews of the boats taking part in the regatta to tea in the store at the head of the pier during the day. This was very ably catered for by a committee of ladies.

Visitors and spectators were also catered for in these tea rooms, where an excellent tea could be had at a very moderate charge. The ladies who form this committee from year to year are to be heartily congratulated on the manner in which they attend to the needs of boats’ crews, visitors, etc.

1935 August 14 Orkney Herald



Rousay flower show goes from strength to strength. At this year’s show, held last Tuesday in the Recreation Hall, Sourin, entries showed an increase on last year, and the show was voted the best in recent years. Among the visitors to the hall were Sir Robert and Lady Hamilton.

The judges were: – Flowers, vegetables, etc. – Mr J. W. Scott, Finstown; dairy produce – Miss H. S. M. Boyd, N.D.D., C.D.P.; baking – Mr W. T. Moncrieff, Kirkwall; handiwork – Miss R. A. Leith, Kirkwall.

Arrangements for the show were carried out by Mr John Linklater, Blossom, who carries out the duties of secretary for both horticultural and agricultural shows. In connection with the horticultural show, he had the assistance of Mrs Mark Kirkness, Quoyostray; Misses Mary Mainland, Westness; and Molly Mainland, Hurtiso; Messrs J. W. Grieve, Whitehall, and James M. Craigie, Pier Cottage. Throughout the day teas were made and served by the following ladies: – Mrs H. I. Gibson, Mrs Ronald Shearer, Mrs Mainland, Nearhouse; Mrs Dunn, Glasgow; Miss Clara Craigie and Miss A. M. Robertson.

Mr Scott found the flowers not up to the standard of previous years, but this he ascribed to the lateness of the season. Outstanding among the flowers were stocks and antirrhinums. Mr Scott suggested that the number of cut flowers per exhibit should be fixed, instead of one person exhibiting six blooms and another a dozen. The vegetables were the best he had ever judged in Rousay. Carrots, onions and potatoes were outstanding. He had judged in Rousay for four years in succession, and saw an immense improvement in that time.

Competition Keen in Dairy Section. – Competition in the dairy produce section was keen, and the exhibits, said Miss Boyd, were of a high standard. The cheeses were very uniform and of a high quality. Butter entries were not of same high uniform standard as the cheeses, but individual entries were excellent. Table butter entries were practical and at the same time artistic. The number of entries of eggs, Orkney’s premier product, was disappointing. The prize-winners were of good show standard – uniformity of size and shape and shell texture being very good, and cleanliness very prominent. The unplaced entries lowered the general standard of the egg section by their lack of uniformity, and they were not displayed in marketable condition. This was indicative of the condition in which a minority of eggs were marketed, which, unfortunately gave a lower tone to home products. There were only two entries in the dressed poultry section. Trussing was very good, though the material chosen might have been improved upon. In preserves, quality was only fair, with one or two exceptions. Taste in display was evident in all sections.

Entries in the baking section, said Mr Moncrieff, were more than last year, and the exhibits were much better. Especially was this so in the case of jam sandwiches. There were many entries in flour bannocks and drop scones, and the quality generally was the best he had ever judged in Rousay.

Miss Leith, too, was of the opinion that both quantity and quality in her section were better that last year. This year’s show was splendid…..

[A very (very) long list of prizewinners followed the report!]



There was improvement in both number and quality of entries at the Rousay Cattle Show held on the farm of Banks, Sourin, on Tuesday of last week. The judges were Messrs William Shearer, Midhouse, Holm, and David Scott, Mirkady, Deerness, both of whom gave much satisfaction as judges in Rousay last year. Show arrangements were, as usual, under the efficient supervision of Mr John Linklater, Blossom.

The cattle, said the judges, were of very good quality for an island such as Rousay. They were not shown in the same bloom as last year, however. Polled cows and two-year-old heifers were particularly strong classes, and gave the judges some difficulty in placing. The champion of the cattle sections was a big, sappy Shorthorn cow of good type, though beginning to show age a little. The reserve was a fine, level two-year-old stot, grand in his quarters, but needing size. He was not shown in the same bloom as the champion. This animal also won the cup for the best butcher’s beast.

Horses in Better Bloom. – Contrary to the cattle, the horses, the judges considered, were shown in better bloom than last year. Competition in several classes was very keen, especially in foals, which were a grand class. Last year’s champion in the horse sections, a draught gelding from Falquoy, repeated his success this year, and showed considerable improvement since then. If anything he lacked size, but was a finely made horse, with good bone and foot and showing plenty of breed. The reserve champion was a three-year-old filly of good size with a good foot. She was rather weak in front action, but was especially good behind. This filly was also female champion, the reserve in this case being a fine two-year-old filly, possibly rather lacking in size. The cup for the best gelding was won by the supreme champion. The reserve for this cup gives promise of development into a good draught horse.

PRIZE LIST. CATTLE. – Calves calved on or after 1st Oct., 1934 – 1 and 2 Robert Seatter, Banks; 3 and 4 Hugh Craigie, Scockness. Calves calved on or after 1st March, 1934 – 1, 2 and 3 Hugh Mainland, Hurtiso; 4 Hugh Craigie. Polled Cows – 1 D. Moar, Saviskaill; 2 Wm. Corsie, Glebe; 3 Hugh Mainland, 4 James Craigie, Falquoy; 5 S. Inkster, Wasdale; 6 J. Linklater, Blossom. Shorthorn Cows – 1 D. Moar, 2 Jas. Craigie, 3 John Harcus, Clumpy; 4 and 5 H. Mainland. Three-year-old Polled Cows – 1 W. Corsie, 2 H. Mainland, 3 Alan Gibson, Bigland. Two-year-old Polled Queys – 1, 4 and 5 H. Craigie, Scockness; 2 H. Mainland, 3 A. H. Gibson, 6 W. Corsie. Two-year-old Polled Steers – 1 H. Mainland. 2 D. Moar. One-year-old Polled Queys, 1st October – 1 H. Mainland, 2 S. Inkster, 3 D. Moar, 4 and 5 R. Seatter, 6 H. Craigie. One-year-old Polled Steers, 1st October – 1 and 2 H. Mainland, 3 and 4 H. Craigie. One-year-old Shorthorn Steers – 1 D. Moar. One-year-old Polled Queys, 1st March -1 H. Craigie. One-year-old Polled Steers – 1 R. Seatter, 2 H. Mainland, 3 H. Craigie, 4 and 5 D. Moar.

HORSES. – Draught Geldings – 1 Jas Craigie, 2 R. Seater. Yeld Mares – 1 Jas. Johnston, 2 R. Seatter, 3 H. Craigie, 4 John Leonard, Quoys. Mares with Foal at Foot – 1 Geo. Reid, 2 Mainland Bros, 3 James Johnston. Foals – 1 George Reid, 2 H. Mainland, 3 Jas. Johnston, 4 and 5 Mainland Bros. Three-year-old Geldings – 1 Jas. Craigie. Three-year-old Fillies – 1 Jas. Johnston, 2 Jas. Russell, Brendale; 3 Jas. Craigie. Two-year-old Geldings – 1 Mainland Bros. Two-year-old Fillies – 1 Mainland Bros, 2 A. Mainland, 3 Jas. Craigie. One-year-old Geldings – 1 Geo. Reid, 2 H. Craigie. One-year-old Fillies – 1 Jas. Craigie, 2 H. Mainland.

SHEEP. – Pen of Two Half-bred Ewes – 1 Wm. Inkster, Woo; 2 Jas. Sabiston, Gripps, 3 Robert Seatter, Banks. Pen of Two Half-bred Lambs – 1 and 4 Jas. Sabiston, 2 Wm. Inkster, 3 Jas. Johnston, Trumland.

SPECIAL PRIZES. – Cup presented by Jas. Robertson for the best animal in the horse sections – Jas. Craigie; reserve, Jas. Johnston. Cup, presented by Mr Wm. Bertram for the best Clydesdale mare – James Johnston; reserve, Mainland Bros. Cup, presented by Messrs R. Garden, Ltd., for the best mare with foal at foot – George Reid; reserve, Mainland Bros. E.P.N.S. vase, presented by Messrs Wm. Shearer, seedsmen, for the best gelding in the yard – James Craigie; reserve, George Reid. Cup, presented by a friend, for the best animal in the cattle sections – D. Moar; reserve, H. Mainland. Cup, presented by Mr Geo. Robertson, for the best cow (£20 rental and under) – John Harcus; reserve, Sam. Inkster. Cup, presented by Mr D. J. Inkster, for best animal in the Shorthorn sections – D. Moar; reserve, James Craigie. Cup, presented by Northern Farmers’ Co-operative Society, Ltd., for the best pair of yearlings – Hugh Mainland; reserve R. Seatter. Cup, presented by Mr Ralph Miller for the best two-year-old quey carrying her first calf, bred by and the property of exhibitor – H. Mainland; reserve, Alan Gibson. Silver teapot, presented by the Rousay. Egilshay, and Wyre Co-operative Society, for the best yearling bullock or heifer – H. Mainland; reserve, R. Seatter Gold medal, presented by Mr Alex. Webster for the best cow in the yard – D. Moar and reserve. Medal, presented by Dean of Guild P. C. Flett, for best calf in the yard – Hugh Mainland; reserve, Robert Seatter. Medal, presented by Mr Geo. Robertson, for the best butcher’s animal – H. Mainland; reserve, H. Craigie. Medal, presented by Jas. Scott, Livaness, for the best yearling showing calf’s teeth – H. Mainland; reserve, R. Seatter. Medal, presented by Mr S. Firth, Finstown, for best animal in sheep sections – 1 and reserve, James Sabiston. Medal, presented by Mr Wm. Brough, for the best foal in the yard – George Reid; reserve, H. Mainland. Medal, presented by Mr A. M. Morgan, for the best garron foal – James Grieve; reserve, Wm. Inkster. Medal, presented by Mr Charles Logie, for best yearling colt or filly – George Reid; reserve James Craigie. Medal, presented by Mr Wm. Hourston, for the best two-year-old colt or filly – 1 and reserve, Mainland Bros.. Medal, presented by Mr Ralph Miller, for the best horse shoeing – 1 and reserve, Robert Grieve, Cruannie. Cup, presented by Messrs Reith and Anderson for best pen of five lambs – James Sabiston; reserve James Johnston. Medal, presented by Messrs James Flett and Sons, for best pair of ewes – James Johnston; reserve Wm. Inkster.

1935 August 28 Orkney Herald

FIELD DAY AT SOURIN, ROUSAY. – Friday, 16th August, dawned bright and fair; it seemed at first that perhaps it was too good to last, but fortunately Old Sol decided to stay out all day and the Sourin picnic, which was held in a field near the school kindly granted by Miss Munro of the Post Office, could not have been blessed with better weather.

The picnic commenced at 1 p.m., when the children had a light meal served out in the open air. Almost immediately the juvenile sports started. Once again, Mr Harrold, Springfield, acted as starter to the races, and with what keenness and eagerness did all the little ones run! Even those who were last came laughing up to the tape. The glorious sunshine seemed to call the grown-ups, for people came from all directions and, after milk and cookies had been served all round, the adult sports began with the seats in the field lined with rows of cheery faces. This year there was added interest in the grown-up programme, as the young men had a medal to compete for and they entered into the sports with goodwill and test.

After the sports, just before tea, the senior pupils of Sourin School, under Miss Teresa C. Wallace, added to the day’s entertainment by giving a very interesting demonstration of a modern gym lesson. Their performance was a great credit, both to their school and their teacher and drew enthusiastic applause from the audience.

After tea, which everyone enjoyed just outside Sourin Hall, Mr J. H. Wallace, M.A., in a few words, said how much everyone had enjoyed the day in such glorious weather. He thanked, in the name of the Picnic Committee, all those who had helped by giving milk, chocolate, etc., and those who rendered their services all day in such an eager and unselfish manner. In mentioning the sports medal, he said that he was rather disappointed that it had not been won by a Rousay youth, but, as Mr Isaac Costie had Rousay blood in him, that was the next best thing. He then called upon Mrs Paterson, Brinian House, to present the prizes. Mrs Paterson also remarked on the enjoyable day everyone had spent and called for a vote of thanks for all those who had helped. She herself was accorded a hearty cheer, when she had handed over all the prizes.

The dance, which started at 8 p.m., was a great success. The hall was thronged with young folks and old folks, and every-one danced with a will.

About 2 a.m. everyone joined hands like a big, happy family and sang “Auld Lang Syne,” bringing to an end a perfect day.

The Picnic Committee take this opportunity of thanking all those who helped in any way.

1935 September 4 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – FOOTBALL. – Judging from the display of football seen on the Wasbister football pitch at Saviskaill, on the evening of Saturday, 24th August, Rousay football has a great future. The match was a seven-a-side between Wasbister and Frotoft combined schools and Sourin School. Some tricky football and a real good sense of combination was witnessed by quite a big turnout of spectators. A wet ball made play somewhat heavy for the boys, but this in no way prevented them from going “all out” from start to finish. The score was 8-2 for Sourin School. It is to be hoped that the public will see a return match at an early date.

Teams – Wasbister and Frotoft P.S. – Willie Donaldson, Jim Leslie, Stanley Moar, Donald Marwick, Dave Gibson, Jim Sinclair (capt.), and Hugh Yorston.

Sourin P.S. – Archer Clouston, Billy Mainland, Tom Walls, Leonard Irvine, John Seatter, George Craigie (capt.), and John Grieve. Referee, Mr Hugh Robertson, Langskaill. Goal-scorers – Sourin P.S. – John Grieve (4), George Craigie (2), John Seatter (2); Wasbister and Frotoft P.S. – Hugh Yorston and Dave Gibson.

1935 September 11 Orkney Herald




A party of ladies and gentlemen were fortunate to escape serious injury when a Highland Airways’ ‘plane, in which they were flying over the island of Rousay, crashed into a plantation of trees at Westness on Friday evening.

The machine was “The Orcadian,” the most up-to-date of Highland Airways, Ltd.’s, passenger-carrying ‘planes. Although members of the Company’s staff refuse to make any statement regarding the condition of the crashed machine, visitors to the scene state that it appears to be badly damaged.

The five passengers, Mr C. M. Haydon, Lynnfield, Kirkwall, his wife, daughters, and son-in-law, were more startled than hurt by their experience. All escaped with no more serious injury than a few cuts and bruises. One of the lady passengers described the accident as “quite a thrill.” The pilot of the ‘plane, Mr J. P. Rae, was also unhurt.

The circumstances were that the ‘plane was hired by the party to make a sight-seeing flight over Rousay. The weather was fine and visibility was good when the machine left Wideford Aerodrome, and these favourable conditions continued throughout the flight. While crossing Westness plantation, we understand, to enable the passengers to obtain a close view of the gardens and surroundings of the house, the ‘plane was struck by a squall of wind from the hill – one of the “down draughts” common to Rousay and Hoy, and forced down some distance. Part of its undercarriage caught the tops of the trees and it “pancaked” into the plantation, coming to rest without violence, about ten or a dozen feet from the ground.

Pilot Rae was able to force his way out of the cabin, climb to the ground, and go for assistance. The passengers were enabled to reach terra firma by means of a ladder brought by the pilot from Westness House.

Witnesses of the accident were horrified to see the ‘plane fall into the trees, and many hurried to the scene fully prepared for tragic news. On arriving at the scene, however, they were relieved to find that what had actually occurred was merely an anti-climax to what their imaginations had pictured.

Mr Haydon and his party crossed to Evie by motor boat and motored to Kirkwall.

Highland Airways’ Kirkwall-Aberdeen service has not been interrupted, the ‘plane “Loch Ness” taking over the run. “The Orcadian” is being dismantled.

“The Orcadian” is the third Highland Airways’ machine to crash since the company inaugurated their services in 1933. Fortunately, however, no loss of human life has been recorded in these accidents.

One of Highland Airways, Ltd.’s, engineering experts arrived from Inverness during the weekend to examine the wrecked machine. Questioned by an “Orkney Herald” reporter as to the condition of the ‘plane he refused to make any statement, except to say: – “You people only hinder us, you don’t help us. You don’t take any notice of the service when it’s running smoothly, you only get interested when there are crashes and deaths.”

(The speaker is invited to glance through our files since Highland Airways services came into operation. – Ed., “O. H.”)


FOOTBALL – ROUSAY SCHOOLS’ TUSSLE. – The return match, Wasbister and Frotoft Schools v. Sourin School, to which Rousay football enthusiasts looked forward so much, was played on Saturday evening at 7 o’clock on Sourin football pitch at Woo. Once again sound football skill was evident. Individually there was not so much to choose between the players, but Sourin’s combination and sense of position gave them the game. The fact that Sourin had rather an overwhelming victory in no way spoilt the match, for right up to the final whistle Wasbister and Frotoft continued to play like Trojans and reck little of the score against them. The half-time score was 3-1 for Sourin, the whole time score 9-1.

The enthusiastic spectators contributed the gratifying sum of 13s 2d, which is to be kept to defray future expenses among the boys.

The teams were: – Sourin – Archer Clouston, Billy Mainland, Leonard Irvine, Angus Harcus, John Seatter, George Craigie (capt.), John Grieve.

Wasbister and Frotoft – Willie Donaldson, Jim Leslie, David Leslie, Donald Marwick, Hugh Yorston, Dave Gibson, Jim Sinclair (capt.).

Scorers – Sourin – George Craigie (3), John Seatter (3), John Grieve (3); Wasbister and Frotoft – Dave Gibson.

1935 October 2 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – NEW COMMERCIAL VEHICLE. – A fine new motor truck was landed at the island by the s.s. Iona on Tuesday. The lorry, a two-ton Commer, has been purchased by the Rousay Agricultural Co-operative Society, and is to be fitted with a detachable van body, so that it can be used either as a travelling shop or general-purpose lorry, according to requirements. The vehicle was supplied by Messrs R. Nicolson & Son, Kirkwall, Commer distributors for Orkney.

1935 October 30 Orkney Herald

EVIE – SUBSTITUTE FOR MOON. – In the moon’s absence the country has been lit up with brilliant displays of aurora, the frequency of which has been very marked during the month. The belief that this wonderful and beautiful phenomenon is an evil portent has accordingly been supported by the stormy weather with which it has been accompanied.

1935 November 6 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – PRIZE DAY IN SOURIN PUBLIC SCHOOL. – On Thursday afternoon County Councillor Fred T. Inkster, J.P., chairman of the Rousay and Egilshay School Management Committee, visited Sourin School for the purpose of presenting the attendance and merit prizes. Mr John H. Wallace, M.A., headmaster, in welcoming Mr Inkster, said that Mr Inkster was so well known to them all that any introduction was unnecessary. He went on to explain that in the allocation of the merit prizes, which were being awarded this year, actual cleverness had not been the sole determining factor. General ability, neatness and tidiness of work, and real honest application had all been considered, and any pupil who tried and did his or her best had always a good chance of winning one or other of the class prizes. Mr Inkster, in replying, thanked Miss Brown and Mr Wallace, the teachers, for asking him to perform the pleasant little task of presenting the prizes. He mentioned the handicap long-distance pupils had to contend with in competing for the attendance prizes presented by the Committee, but went on to add that even distance did not hinder some pupils from maintaining regular attendance at school. He urged the pupils to put in their time at school as regularly as ever they could, and further to make the best of their time by keen attention to their lessons. Mr Inkster then presented the prizes. At the close Mr Wallace called for a good hearty vote of thanks to Mr Inkster, who in turn asked for another to Miss Brown and Mr Wallace. Before school closed, each pupil had the fun of “dookin'” for an apple. The Hallowe’en fun made a fine finish to this, one of the school’s big days. The following is the prize-list. – Attendance Prizes (presented by the Rousay and Egilshay School Management Committee) Perfect – John Seatter. Good – George Craigie, Hugh Lyon, Robert Marwick, William Mainland, Robert Munro and Thelma Shearer. Merit Prizes (presented by the teachers). – Infants – Thelma Shearer; Senior Infants – George Grieve; Junior I. – 1 Ernest Mainland, 2 Thomas Linklater and Hugh Lyon (equal); Senior I. – 1 Kathleen Linklater, 2 Netta Russell; Senior II. – 1 Edith Gibson, 2 John Harcus: Advanced Division – 1 Ann Lyon, 2 Robert Marwick. Painting Competition (presented by Oxo, Ltd.) – Fountain pen won by William Mainland. (Judging done by pupils themselves.)

1935 November 30 The Orcadian

PRIZE DAY – WASBISTER SCHOOL. – On Tuesday afternoon, 26th November, Rev. R. R. Davidson visited Wasbister School and presented the prizes won by the pupils for attendance, for merit, and in the Orkney and Zetland examination. Before handing over the books, Mr Davidson took the children on an imaginary trip to the Gold Coast, made vividly real and fascinating by photographs, native hand-carved wooden stools and combs, woven blankets or cloaks and a huge snakeskin. He told them of the vegetation, the insect and animal life, and the response made by man to such surroundings. He spoke of the work done by the missionaries, both educational and religious, and he pointed out the advantages the children present possessed. Thereafter he brought what had been “one crowded hour” of unusual enjoyment to a close by presenting the prizes with encouraging remarks to those who had won the Orkney and Zetland prizes and merit prizes. Miss Matheson spoke in appreciation of what Mr Davidson had at no small trouble to himself done for them that day, and asked for a hearty vote of thanks, which was accorded with enthusiasm. Mr Davidson then proposed a vote of thanks to Miss Matheson for arranging the prize day, and again there was a generous response. Annexed is the prize-list:-

Orkney and Zetland prizes – James R Sinclair and Anna L Marwick. Good attendance prizes – Clementine Donaldson, Phebe Marwick and Elsie Donaldson. Merit prizes – Infants – 1. George Sinclair, 2. David Marwick. Junior II – 1. Phebe Marwick, Elsie Donaldson, 3. Edwin Moar. Junior I – 1. Irene Hourie, 2. David Leslie, 3. Evelyn Clouston; Senior III – 1. William Donaldson, 2. Jean Marwick; Senior II – 1. Donald Marwick, 2. James Leslie; Senior I – 1. Clementina Donaldson, 2. Agnes Marwick; Advanced II – 1. James R Sinclair, 2. Anna L Marwick; Advanced III – James C B Craigie.

1935 December 18 Orkney Herald

BURGLARY IN EGILSHAY. – We understand that a burglary was committed at the end of last week at the shop of Mrs Inkster, Egilshay. The police are presently investigating the matter.

1935 December 25 Orkney Herald

MEN CHARGED WITH EGILSHAY BURGLARY. – On Thursday, at 12 o’clock noon, two men were arrested in Stromness and charged with the burglary in Egilshay reported in our last issue, when the shop of Mrs Inkster was broken into. The two men appeared in Chambers at the Sheriff Court, Kirkwall, and were afterwards committed to prison. They will appear again in Court this week.