1865 January 31 Orkney Herald
SNOW STORM. – Last week we had genuine wintry weather with frequent falls of snow and hard frost. In the country the snow was from five to six inches in depth, and the settled frost preserved the fleecy covering of the earth much longer than usual. On Sunday the cold was more intense than had been previously experienced in Orkney for some years. The fresh wind which began to blow pretty stiff on Sunday evening produced a rapid thaw, and on Monday, without the aid of rain, the snow was melting fast away.
1865 February 7 Orkney Herald
THE NORTH ISLES’ STEAMER. – Our readers will be glad to learn, from information we have received, that the steamer for the North Isles, now being fitted up at Leith, will arrive at Kirkwall in the course of a week or two. Mr J. H. Baikie had recently an opportunity of inspecting the vessel and he speaks of her in high terms. She is described as being an admirable little craft, strongly built, capable of going at a good speed, and every way excellently adapted for the purpose for which she is intended. The owner proposes to sail the vessel among the islands on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday each week, leaving for the Moray Firth with passengers, cattle, and goods, on Thursday, returning Friday. This programme may yet undergo modifications for the convenience of shippers. The inhabitants of the islands have thus the prospect of soon seeing their own Orkney steamer passing up and down their coasts, and we think that Captain George Robertson deserves the greatest credit for the pluck and spirit he has displayed in going single-handed into this undertaking. We understand that no expense has been spared in fitting up the vessel, and it is to be hoped that the spirited owner will receive every encouragement from proprietors, farmers, and the general public. If the undertaking is so supported as to make it profitable, the beneficial results as regards the islands will be seen at no distant date…..
1865 February 21 Orkney Herald
BRILLIANT AURORA BOREALIS. – On the night of Friday last, there being snow on the ground and a shivering frost in the air, a brilliant Aurora shot up for hours to the zenith from the north and nor’-western horizons. Many of the swift-shooting streamers shed a vivid meteoric light over the white-robed ground. Next day we had again occasional heavy showers of snow.
THE NORTH ISLES STEAMER “Orcadia.” – The North Isles steamer on her passage to Kirkwall put back to Aberdeen on the morning of Friday last, being overtaken by a strong gale and a thick snow-storm. The Phoenix and Good Intent of this port took refuge in Aberdeen at the same time.
1865 March 7 Orkney Herald
ARRIVAL OF THE “ORCADIA.” The new North Isles’ steamer Orcadia, from which we anticipate so much benefit to Orkney, arrived safely in the harbour of Kirkwall at the beginning of last week, after having her sea-going qualities well tested in two severe and successive storms…..The evident strength of her timbers, her schooner-shaped bows and general outline, impart, at the first glance, a serviceable appearance to the vessel, and this first impression is not diminished but increased by closer inspection. She is ninety-five feet in length, with twenty feet of beam, and ten feet depth of hold. Her tonnage is 68 net register, and 100 gross, and her average speed is estimated at eight knots an hour. On deck and below the vessel has accommodation for sixty head of cattle, so that she will be found of great service in this department of traffic by the proprietors and farmers of the North Isles…..
1865 March 14 Orkney Herald
THE s.s. ORCADIA. – The Orcadia’s passenger tickets for Sanday, Stronsay, Westray, Eday, and Rousay have been printed and prepared during the course of the week. They are divided into “deck” and “cabin,” and are distinguished by different colours. Being only the size of railway tickets they can be more conveniently disposed of in the vest-pocket than the usual large-sized steamer cards.
[The first fare-paying voyage of the Orcadia took place on Monday April 3, and began her much-needed service between the North Isles and Kirkwall – all except for Rousay, for “Arrangements are being made for calling at Rousay.”]
1865 March 28 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – SCHOOL EXAMINATION. – The annual examination of the Free Church school at Wasbister took place on the 15th inst., and was conducted by the Rev. Mr Rose in presence of a large and respectable audience consisting of parents and others interested in the cause of education. Among them we noticed Messrs John Gibson of Langskaill, and Hugh Sinclair, Stennisgorn; Mrs Robert Gibson, senior, of Langskaill; Mrs George Gibson, do.; Miss [Jane] Gibson, do.; Mrs [Jane] Craigie, of Hammer; Mrs [Janet] Gibson, of Quoys; Mrs [Janet] Inkster, Roadside; Mrs [Ann] Craigie, Turbitail; Mrs [Grace] Kirkness, Quoygray, &c. The average number of scholars during the year has been about 40, nearly all of whom were present. They went through a searching examination, and were thoroughly tested in the various branches taught, and acquitted themselves most satisfactorily. Several prizes were distributed to the most deserving in each class, in addition to the handsome Bible – the annual gift of Mr Dymock, of Edinburgh – which, after a keen competition, in written exercises, was adjudged to Miss Mary S. Sabiston [Whitemeadows]. Besides the usual branches taught in country schools, there were three pupils examined in Latin, and one in Greek. Two of these read with accuracy and ease a portion of Caesar selected as aperturam libri from Book I. and the other read with fluency part of the 1st Neid of Virgil. The boy who professed Greek translated part at the 11th chapter of the gospel of Luke, selected by the examinator, and parsed the same correctly. The interesting proceedings were brought to a close by a short address from Mr Rose, who spoke in complimentary terms of the general condition of the school, and the marked progress during the past year. He said that the high state of efficiency which had been reached, particularly in English reading and spelling, geography, and grammar, reflected the greatest credit on their laborious and gifted teacher – Mr [James Campbell] Bruce – and it is but bare justice to add that the appearance made by those more advanced in Greek and Latin would have done honour to any seminary in the county. We congratulate the people of Wasbister in having so faithful and devoted a teacher labouring among them.
1865 April 15 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – April 12. – FARMERS are busy sowing in all directions, and in Wasbister some are well advanced with it.
THERE is very great disappointment felt by the “Orcadia” not calling to let us see her. Although our traffic may not be equal to that of other islands, yet we are hoping to be favoured with regular calls from the good steamer.
FREE CHURCH COMMUNION. – The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was dispensed in the Free Church here on Sabbath the 9th inst., when Mr Rose, pastor of the congregation, was ably assisted by the Rev. Messrs Robb of Deerness; Wishart, Stenness; and McLellan of the U.P. Church. Mr Wishart preached on the fast-day forenoon and afternoon, and Mr Robb gave a sermon to the young in the evening, which was largely attended by young people from every part of the island…..
1865 May 2 Orkney Herald
ANOTHER STEAMER FOR THE NORTH ISLES. – The unfortunate accident which befell the Orcadia’s boiler, and the want of proper tools on the spot to effect a speedy repair, have prevented the steamer from making her advertised trips to the North Isles during the week. It will be observed, however, from an announcement elsewhere, that Captain Robertson expects to have the vessel soon again on the passage, and he has resolved to purchase another steamer, as he finds that two vessels are required for the transport of goods and the thorough development of the trade of the islands. Owing to the distance between the islands and the time occupied in making the passage, Captain Robertson anticipates that he will be able to conduct the traffic of the islands more cheaply and expeditiously with two steamers than with one. This spirited resolution of the owner of the Orcadia is worthy of all praise, and there can be little doubt that a man possessed of so much energy will achieve great success in opening up the isles by steam communication.
1865 May 23 Orkney Herald
COMMUNICATION WITH EVIE AND ROUSAY. – On behalf of the inhabitants of Rousay and Evie we are requested to ask Captain Robertson when he intends to commence favouring them with the calls of his steamer, as they are at present placed in inconvenient circumstances, and would wish to avoid, if possible, the purchase of a packet.
[Packet = a medium-sized boat designed for domestic mail, passenger, and freight transportation.]
1865 July 25 Orkney Herald
WEATHER AND FIELDS. – Last week was the most remarkable week of clear, warm, and even sultry weather we have had for many years. On Sunday the heat was almost tropical. The continued genial state of the weather has had a most favourable effect upon the crops, and the grain fields, which are well advanced, have a highly promising appearance.
1865 August 22 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – Aug. 17. – The weather has been rather stormy of late, and has retarded the operations of the fishermen. The highest fished boat here last week had 30 crans of herrings, and the lowest 1¾.
The Rev. Messrs McEwen and Logan from Edinburgh preached in the Free Church on Sabbath last, and at Wasbister in the evening. They conducted service again in the church again in the church on Monday evening.
1865 October 3 Orkney Herald
THE WRECK REGISTER. – The Wreck Register for 1864 has just been published. It is a carefully-prepared document, containing statistics which must possess considerable interest for all classes in the community. Last year the aggregate number of wrecks and casualties around the shores of the United Kingdom amounted to 1741. Tills fact gives significance to the lamentable truth that shipping disasters keep pace with the expansion of our commerce, notwithstanding the multiplication in recent years of scientific means and appliances with the view of preventing casualties at sea. The system of storm-signals is now in active operation, lighthouses and beacons are annually increasing around our shores, and yet the register for the past year records a dismal progression in the number of wrecks….. In addition to the increase of shipping as accounting in part for the increase in wrecks and casualties, it should also be borne in mind that the winters during the past few years have been very severe, heavy gales having occasionally blown for weeks almost without intermission. Last winter was a memorable one for dreadful shipping disasters, and it is highly probable that the register for 1865 will show, when published, an advance upon that for 1864….. Although the wrecks last year were more numerous than in 1863, it is satisfactory to find that the loss of life was less, the number who perished amounting to 516 among perhaps 5000 people whose lives were imperilled by shipwreck. This was 104 less than the recorded loss in the previous year. This reduction in the number of losses is greatly owing to the praiseworthy efforts of the National Lifeboat Institution, which is annually increasing the extent and efficiency of its splendid fleet of lifeboats. On the coasts of the United Kingdom there are at present 185 lifeboats, 150 of which belong to the National Institution, and the remaining 35 to local Boards. There are, besides, under the management of the Coast Guard and the Board of Trade, 243 stations where the mortar and rocket apparatus is kept. An evidence of the great value and successful use of such appliances is afforded by the fact, mentioned in the October number of the Journal of the Lifeboat institution, that, during the year 1864, and the first eight months of 1865, no fewer than 627 lives were saved by the lifeboats of the National Institution alone. It may thus be anticipated that, with the growing efficiency in the system of storm-signals and the increase of lifeboats and rocket-apparatus stations, there will be a still further diminution in the loss of life around our shores……
1865 October 24 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – Oct.18. – HARVEST operations are all finished here. The grain crop is fully as good as it was last year, only on dry farms the straw is rather short. The turnips and potato crops are also good. We hear no complaints of potato disease. The oldest farmers here never remember a finer harvest.
DROUGHT. – Our mills cannot grind so much as keep us in meal, for the want of water.
1865 November 7 Orkney Herald
REMARKABLE INCIDENT. – On Thursday last, when some people belonging to Rousay were crossing to Kirkwall in a small boat, one of the party was suddenly assailed by a wild duck, which dashed violently against his face, inflicting a severe wound, and quite stunning itself by the force of the stroke. The bird had either been previously wounded, or had been alarmed by the sound of the approaching boat.
1865 November 21 Orkney Herald
AGRICULTURAL REPORT FOR ORKNEY. – The Summer and autumn of 1865 will long be remembered in Orkney. It is rare in this climate to have such splendid weather for ripening, cutting down, and harvesting the grain crops, as the past season has afforded. We have seen fodder more plentiful, but the oat crop appears to be a very large one, of fine colour, firm, and weighing well – the mealing quality of course excellent.
BERE is also a fine crop, and remarkable for weight. Last week we saw common Orkney bere, from the North Isles, which weighed 51 lbs. per bushel, against 48 lbs. Of last year’s crop.
TURNIPS suffered considerably from want of rain during July and August; and no field of this crop seemed free from mildew. The first shower which fell, late though it came, seemed to benefit both bulbs and foliage, and this most valuable root to the farmer is now looking healthy again. The past season has not been favourable for testing the value of artificial manures – a certain degree of moisture being so necessary for their proper action on the plants The prices of all cereals are considerably higher now than they were at this time last year, and are still looking upwards.
STOCK of all kinds bring high prices, and calving cows are greatly in demand at advanced rates. As yet there is not the least appearance of any disease amongst Orkney stock, and long may it be so. – M.
1865 November 28 Orkney Herald
REGISTRAR’S NOTES. – The report of the Registrar General for the last quarter contains the following notes connected with Orkney: – …..Rousay and Egilshay – Births and deaths are much the same as usual, while there are no marriages. Hooping cough has made its appearance in the Island of Rousay, but no case has as yet proved fatal.
1866 January 2 The Orcadian
We are glad to learn that Mr Isaac Marwick, Rousay, has received the degree of A.M., at the Edinburgh University.
[A.M. is Latin, Artium Magister, and what we know today as Master of Arts. Isaac was the son of shoemaker Isaac Marwick, Guidal, and Betsy Yorston, Oldman. He was born in June 1844, married Mary Wilson of Holy Island, Northumberland, and became a minister in Kirkcaldy].
1866 January 23 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – OLD AND NEW STYLES. – We have got our Christmas and New Year holidays past now, and a very good stock of them we have had. We have had no fewer than three Christmas days and three New Years’ days within the last three weeks. Some kept New Christmas Day and some New New-Years’ Day; but the majority stick to the old style – viz., the 6th and 13th of January. But even this would not satisfy all parties, for some kept Old Christmas Day on the 5th and Old New Years’ Day on the 12th of January, while others held them on the 6th and 13th of the month. But I hope that, as there has been such a variety of opinions this year, the Rousay people will bid adieu to the old style, and, if these days are kept at all, I hope that in future everyone will hold them in the new style, for it would be desirable that all the parish should be united with respect to these days.
1866 February 6 The Orcadian
WIRE – NEW YEAR AMUSEMENTS. – The weather is very stormy, and communication is all but stopped. Our New Year has commenced with rough weather. All out-door work is dropped, but we have had a merry time of it. This New Year has been kept by all the islanders better than formerly. Of late our New Year’s days were very dull. The young men were in the habit of going to our neighbouring Island (Rousay), and spending the day to the best advantage they could, much to the disappointment of our young women. But this year the old people took the matter in hand, and got up a ball and invited all the young men and women in the island to it, and, to make equal numbers, some young men came from our neighbouring isle.
1866 February 20 Orkney Herald
THE WEATHER. – During the last week we had abundance of frost, snow, and biting strong winds. On two or three nights the frost was keen, flowering the window-panes, which is not a frequent phenomenon in Kirkwall. Sunday, after the storm of the week, resembled a quiet eddy in the rush of a stream. It was a calm, delightful day, with a faint breathing of spring in the air.
1866 March 6 Orkney Herald
WINTER IN ORKNEY. – It is a popular idea that the farther we proceed North, the more intense will be the cold, the sharper the frost, the deeper the snow, and the more keen and cutting the wind. In most cases this holds good, but in Orkney the stranger will in vain look for a realisation of his ideas of winter in the far North. Winter in this climate presents a much more varied aspect, a much more unsettled character, than the same season does either farther North or farther South. The insular character of the county, its necessary propinquity to the sea, and the warming influence of the Gulf Stream, all combine to render this season more clement than might be expected from the position of the county so far to the North. True, winter we have, but it seldom begins till after the New Year, and when it does set in, it gives one more the idea of a boisterous March in the South, than of a snow-capped ice-clad winter of the North. Snow we certainly have, but
“Tis like the snow-flake on the river –
A moment white, then gone for ever!
It often falls in great quantities, but seldom lies more than a day on the ground. Sometimes, indeed, Nature seems to lay all trammels aside, and, showing herself in her true form, clothes the country in a garment of spotless white, and, as if loath to take her eyes from a sight so genial, breathes upon it with her icy breath to preserve it for a longer period to her view. A beautiful sight it is the country presents after a snow-storm, and pity ’tis it is so seldom our lot to look upon a scene so fair. On the west Mainland the snow lies to a greater depth, and for a longer period than in the east Mainland, or the smaller islands. This is to be accounted for by its further removal from the sea, and from the influence of the Gulf Stream.
In vain may the stranger in Orkney take out his skates and spend a few hours in cleaning and sharpening them for the ice which he feels certain will on the morrow cover all the ponds, and even the “Peerie Sea.” He awakes in the morning, after many pleasant dreams of spread eagles beautifully depicted on Orkney ice, and of how he astonishes the natives in his skilful performance of the outside edge, alas! to find that his dreams, and the frost which the night before had caused him to have such delicious visions, have melted together into a heavy, wetting rain. Sic transit Gloria mundi. Frost is seldom so intense here as to form ice of any considerable thickness, although now and then, during a winter of extraordinary severity, a few nights of it may suffice to make the half of the “Peerie Sea” skateable. Many traditional stories are told by our grandfathers of winters, in the “good old days,” when the frost was so intense that a horse and cart could travel over the “Peerie Sea” as safely as on dry land, so thick was the ice. We, ourselves, have had the pleasure of skating on it, but only once, and had the water been of any great depth, much danger would have attended our pursuit after pleasure, for a friend who accompanied us excited much mirth by his laborious efforts to regain land, after having been repeatedly immersed in the miry deep.
Umbrellas, waterproofs, and top-coats are in great requisition – or at least ought to be. No man who has any rheumatic tendency should venture out in an Orkney winter day without, at least, a top-coat and an umbrella, for though the morning be bright and the sky cloudless, yet the clouds will gather; and if he, in the fond hope of a fine day, have left his umbrella or top-coat at home, the sting in the affected shoulder or thigh will give him a lesson that appearances are deceitful, especially as concerns Orkney weather. Rain, rain, rain, when will it stop raining? In five days, at least, in the week there is rain – “Scotch mist,” small drizzling rain, heavy peppering rain, all kinds of rain. The Greenock boy’s answer to the question “Does it always rain here?” may be given with equal truth in Orkney – “Na, Sir, it sometimes snaws.”
But the grand characteristic of an Orkney winter is wind storms which are of weekly occurrence, not paltry blasts such as blow in the South, but gales which lash the sea into angry coursers, make the walls of your house shake around you, and your bed tremble as you lie courting in vain the anaesthetic bliss of sleep. How it roars in the chimney as you sit in comfort by the fireside reading your favourite journal – not the latest news; how it smites you in the face as you open your door to proceed to your office or place of business; how it turns outside in the umbrella which you have been foolish enough to oppose to its furious wrath – making it doubtful indeed if an umbrella be a proper protective appendage in winter in Orkney after all; – how it dashes the waves over the wall, drenching you with their spray as you take your daily walk over the Ayre. In short, it blows and that is enough in Orkney parlance to signify all the mischief which it is in the power of an ill-natured gale to perpetrate. What shipwrecks – not of local craft, for the seamen are most skilful and thoroughly know the coast – but of large merchant ships, foreign as well as British! Never a year passes without some sad tales, swelling the newspaper columns, of ships going to pieces and crews lost on our stormy and rocky shores. Much gain accrued to the islanders from this source before the new regulations regarding shipwrecks came in force, and before lighthouses were so numerous in Orkney as they now are, shedding their kindly glare over its dangerous coasts. Wrecks were then regarded as special kindnesses of Providence. Everyone is familiar with the story of the Sanday minister who prayed that He in His wise dispensations would remember the poor island of Sanday when He made the storms to blow and the ships to strike.
We shall close by giving a table of winter weather for a week in Orkney:-
Monday – Morning, bright; forenoon, rain; evening, frost; aurora.
Tuesday – Morning, frost, streets hard; forenoon, thaw; afternoon, much rain; evening, rain and wind.
Wednesday – Morning, showers and gale of wind; forenoon, do. do.; afternoon, sleet; evening, snow, wind, and still no mail.
Thursday – Morning, streets white; forenoon, sunny, streets slushy; afternoon, thaw; evening, frost, mail to-night.
Friday – Morning, wind and rain; forenoon, do. do.; afternoon, dry, but windy; evening, rain, mail.
Saturday – Repetition of Friday.
Sunday – Morning, strong gale; forenoon, gale increasing and rain; afternoon, gale still increasing, and rain; evening, storm, and wreck at Stromness.
BEAUTIFUL METEOR. – Indications of a very disturbed state of the atmosphere have been given of late by the appearance of numerous meteors. The great fire-ball noticed last week seems to have been the parent of a numerous progeny. On Sunday night, when the sky was clear and frosty, a beautiful blue rocket-like meteor shot across the sky with great rapidity from south to north, flying off in sparks as it approached the ground. The meteors known as “falling stars” have also been very frequent of late.
1866 March 20 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. The severity of the weather for some weeks back has prevented to a considerable extent the progress of out-door work. The farmers are getting short of fodder in consequence of having no sale for their cattle.
At the farm of Banks, Rousay, a sow lately gave her owner the large number of twenty-two pigs at one litter.
1866 March 27 Orkney Herald
MRS NICOL MAINLAND died at her residence, in the island Weir, on Monday, the 19th current, at the advanced age of 83 years. She had twelve children, nine of whom are yet alive; 40 grandchildren, 37 whom are still in life; 27 great grandchildren, 24 of whom are also living. The total number of her descendants has been 79, of whom 70 survive her. She lived an upright life, and set a good example. Her children were carefully instructed in matters of religion, both by precept and example.
[This was Ann Craigie Mainland, wife of Nicol Mainland of the Bu, Wyre.]
1866 April 3 The Orcadian
THE WEATHER. – It is seldom we experience such broken weather as we have had of late even in this very fickle climate. There has scarcely been a fair day for the last six weeks. A great deal of snow and rain has fallen and agricultural operations have been greatly retarded. Spring work is far behind, and the ground is in such a wet state that it is impossible to proceed with the ploughing. Unless the weather clears up soon the spring will be a late one.
1866 April 10 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – March 29. DAY OF HUMILIATION AND PRAYER. – There was divine service in all the three churches of the parish, and the day was strictly observed. The attendance at the Free Church was very large, and there seemed to be a feeling of deep and earnest devotion pervading all. Mr Rose preached a discourse suitable to the occasion, from 1 Samuel XII. 24 and 25. There was also a diet of worship, chiefly devotional, in the evening, when, notwithstanding the wet weather, the area of the church was well filled.
SCHOOL EXAMINATION. – The Free Church School in Wasbister, taught by Mr James C. Bruce, was examined by the Rev. Messrs Rose, and McLellan of the U.P. Church, who kindly assisted on this occasion, in the presence of a large and respectable assemblage of parents and friends, amongst whom we noticed Mrs [Jane] Seatter of Saviskaill; Mr and Mrs Robert Gibson, sen., of Langskaill; Mrs George [Ann] Gibson, do.; Mrs [Rebekah] Inkster, sen., Cogar; Mr John Kirkness, Quoyostray; Mrs [Eliza] Inkster, Innister; Mrs [Jane] Craigie, Hammer; Mrs Ann Craigie, Turbitail; Mrs [Jane] Inkster, Cairn; and others. The examination began at half-past eleven a.m., and continued till about five p.m. It extended over the various branches of reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, English Grammar, Latin, and Greek, and was of a most thorough and searching character. The pupils acquitted themselves with the greatest credit both to themselves and their teacher. At the close Mr McLellan delivered an appropriate address, in the course of which he expressed his unqualified approbation of the manner in which the school was conducted as furnishing ample evidence of the success of Mr Bruce, who, the rev. gentleman said, merited the confidence and esteem of all interested in the progress of education. He noticed in particular the efficiency of the English reading and spelling, which he pronounced excellent. Mr Rose followed in similar terms, and said that the examination of the school for years past gave him the greatest pleasure and satisfaction. He then took the opportunity of recommending an additional supply of maps, and mentioned, for the encouragement of those present, that a beginning had already been made – that the sum of 15s had been subscribed by friends in other parts of the island, and he concluded by suggesting that a subscription should be made for the purpose in the district of Wasbister, which proposal was recommended by Mr McLellan and heartily agreed to. The Bible annually given by J. R. Dymock, Esq., Edinburgh, was, after a keen competition, gained by William Louttit, Upper Blackhammer, and several others were nearly equal, and deserving of commendation.
1866 April 24 Orkney Herald
WEATHER AND FARM-WORK. – For some days past there has been a pleasant change in the weather, and sowing is now making rapid progress over all the islands. From the prevalence of cold easterly winds up to Thursday last, vegetation is in a backward state, but it will speedily improve under the influence of the genial sunshine which we now enjoy. On Saturday, owing to the fineness of the weather, large numbers of island boats arrived in the harbour [Kirkwall], laden with farm produce.
1866 May 1 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. – The farmers have been very busy sowing all the last week.
The fishermen are very busy launching and rigging out their boats for the summer cod-fishing. Our fishermen have been very successful during the winter season; some of the boats have caught upwards of three tons of cod.
The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was observed here in the Free Church on the second Sabbath of April. The Rev. Mr Smith preached in the afternoon, and again on Monday with great acceptance. He preached instead of the Rev. Mr Ritchie, who was prevented by ill-health from coming forward to conduct the services.
1866 May 8 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. – The farmers here are busy planting potatoes and cutting peats. The braird [the first shoots or sprouts (of grass or grain) to appear above the ground] is beginning to make its appearance, but the severe frosts have rather nipped it.
1866 June 19 Orkney Herald
A SUMMER STORM. – On Sunday morning we were visited by a strong gale of wind from the north-west, with heavy falls of rain. The wind, after veering round to the north-east, moderated at midday, but the air continued remarkably chill for the season, now approaching the summer solstice. The trees lost some of their leafy honours when tossing in the wind.
1866 August 14 The Orcadian
ROUSAY. FISHING. – The fishing has not been very successful the last two weeks. The highest catch was 43 crans, and the lowest was about 4 crans.
CROPS. – The crops are looking fair at present. Turnips are rather low by reason of the drought, but they are looking much fresher like since the rain began.
BIRTHS. – At Westdale, Rousay, on the 14th ult., the wife of Mr William Reid, of a daughter [christened Mary].
[William Reid, a joiner, was married to Catherine Baikie. They had seven children born between 1864 and 1875, the second of whose birth is mentioned above].
1866 August 28 The Orcadian
STRANGE SCENE IN A CHURCH. – A correspondent vouches for the truth of the following. – A few Sabbaths ago, while a minister was conducting public worship in one of the West Mainland churches, the service was interrupted by the entrance of a goose. The psalm had just been given out, and the congregation were beginning to sing, when the circumstance attracted the attention of the precentor, who so far forgot himself, that he lost the tune. During the silence which consequently intervened the minister whispered to one of the office-bearers to put out the goose. The office-bearer being ignorant of the presence of a bona fide animal of that species, thought it was the precentor that was referred to, and laid hold of him with the intention of executing his instructions which he would have done, our correspondent adds, had the precentor not made a powerful resistance. [Not Rousay, but a good story all the same!]
1866 September 11 The Orcadian
Births. – At Midgurd [Midgarth], Rousay, on the 25th ult., the wife of Mr James Marwick, jun., of a son.
[James’s wife was Elizabeth Allan, Greentoft, Eday. The son was christened Charles].
At Pretty, Rousay, on the 23rd ult., the wife of Mr James Cooper, jun., of a son. [James’s wife was Harriet, and the son’s name was William.]
Deaths. – At Pectoe, Arsbister, Rousay, on the 26th ult., Mr James Gibson, late of America.
[This was Picton, Wasbister. James was born in February 1803 and was married to Mary Gibson.]
At Blackhammer, Rousay, on the 3rd ult., Mary Craigie.
[Mary was the daughter of Henry Craigie, Quoyostray, and Mary Craigie, Saviskaill. She was born in January 1816.]
At Greystone, Rousay, on the 1st inst., Jane Craigie, daughter of Mr Henry Craigie, mason.
[Henry’s wife was Jane Craigie, Innister, and they were married in 1842. Daughter Jane was born in April 1843.]
At Corse, Rousay, on the 4th inst., Isabella Marwick, daughter of Mr Alex. Marwick, farmer.
[Alexander, Negar, later Corse, married Isabella Gibson, Langskaill, in 1829. They had six children, the youngest of whom was Isabella and she was just 23 years of age when she passed away.]
1866 November 6 The Orcadian
ROUSAY – November 1. – The boat Wild Wave has resumed the packet trade here for the season.
THE HARVEST. – Harvest work is about finished here. On dry soils there has been a good crop of bere, but oats are generally short in the straw. Potatoes on some farms are plentiful, and on others not so abundant, while in some cases disease has made its appearance. On hard clay soils potatoes are generally a good crop and free from disease.
1866 November 13 Orkney Herald
TERRIFIC GALES. – On Monday and Thursday the islands were visited by terrific gales which blew with unusual and alarming violence from various points of the compass. After nightfall on Monday the wind, which had risen regularly from mid-day, swept over sea and shore with hurricane force, capsizing curricles in some instances, and also upturning luckless pedestrians. Along the northern and western coasts of the islands the sea was one Niagara of foam, and great flakes of spray were borne far inland by the blast. Miles from the coast the saltness of the sea was felt in the flying drizzle. On Thursday night, when it had veered round to east and north, the gale was scarcely less violent, and the marvel is that we have no tidings of serious disaster by land and sea in our immediate neighbourhood to record. Fears were at one time entertained for the safety of the packet Wyvern, which left Stronsay on Monday at the beginning of the gale, but she succeeded in finding shelter near the Heads of Eday, and rode out the storm. On Sunday, when the weather still continued stormy, there were several peals of thunder with vivid flashes of lightning.
1866 November 20 The Orcadian
THE METEOR SHOWER. – The predicted meteor shower was observed here with great brilliancy, and a good few people availed themselves of the opportunity of witnessing the phenomenon. The meteors were first noticed a little before twelve o’clock on Tuesday night, and they continued to be seen up till two o’clock the following morning, when the sky became overcast and hid them from view. In general they described a course parallel to the equator, the greater number of them rising in the eastern horizon and falling in the extreme west.
1866 December 11 The Orcadian
BIRTHS. – At Banks, Rousay, on the 25th ult., the wife of Mr William Mainland, tailor, of a son.
[William Louttit Mainland and his wife Hannah Marwick lived at Banks, Frotoft, where son John was born – but sadly past away before reaching his third birthday.]
At Upper Quoys, Rousay, on the 28th ult., the wife of Mr William Harrold, of a daughter.
[William was married to Elizabeth Marwick, Outerdykes, and their daughter was christened Jessie Ann (Jean).]
At Lower Grips, Rousay. on the 29th ult., the wife of Mr John Craigie, of a son.
[John’s wife was Mary Wood Marwick, Midgar, and their son was christened John Marwick Craigie.]
At Upper Grips, Rousay, on the 29th ult., the wife of Mr Malcolm Leonard, fisherman, of a daughter.
[Malcolm was married to Mary Craigie, Barebraes, Mary Jean being the name of their daughter.]
1866 December 18 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY – FROTOFT SCHOOL. – On Thursday evening, the 6th curt., in the Frotoft School, taught by Mr Wm. M. McLellan, the inhabitants and young people of the district were much gratified by the reading of various passages of Scripture and arithmetical calculations by the blind boy, John Griben, who has been visiting the schools in the country. His readings and calculations were exceedingly accurate, and called forth the admiration of all who were present. A collection was made at the close to aid the boy in learning a trade.
WEDNESDAY was observed as a day of thanksgiving in the U.P. and Free Churches here on account of the late excellent harvest.