In Print

Newsprint – 1932

1932 January 6 Orkney Herald

WEATHER AND WORK. – After a long wintery blast of raging storms and snow and frost the elements have been subdued, and a thaw has set in. The winds are hushed, the snow has disappeared and the temperature has moderated. But the rainfall is excessive and much Iand is inundated, while burns are rushing and roaring in spate, and many large and beautiful cascades have been formed. Everywhere there is water, yet the weather experts predict more snow. Work on the land has been completely suspended – except the carting of turnips – which is being carried on every day. At the farmstead the operations of carting in sheaves, thrashing, and attending to the stock have kept the hands in occupation.

HOLIDAYS END. – The time of family reunions has passed, and students, teachers and others whom we welcomed for the Christmas vacation have all returned to duty – strengthened and cheered, we hope, despite the unkind weather conditions which marred their pleasure and detracted from the good of the rest from their labours. The schools in the parish resumed work yesterday (Tuesday). [ Evie correspondent]

1932 January 12 The Scotsman

NEW J.P.s FOR ORKNEY. – The Lord Chancellor, on the recommendation of Mr Alfred Baikie, of Tankerness, Lord-Lieutenant of the County of Orkney and Shetland, has appointed the following to be Justices of the Peace for the County of Orkney:…..Mr Frederick Inkster, Greenfield, Trumland, Rousay…..Mr Mark Mackay Kirkness, Quoyostray, Wasbister, Rousay…..

1932 January 20 Orkney Herald

A STORMY MONTH. – January 1932 is making itself famous for storms. Since its advent, with little intermission, gales of varying intensity have raged over land and sea. Accompanying or following the winds, there have been much rain, some hail, and a little snow and frost; altogether weather of a very wintry character. [In Eynhallow Sound] Seas of inconceivable fury have pounded our coasts, the breakers rising high above the cliffs and sending spray-clouds far over the land. Of highest velocity last week was the storm of Saturday night, which came on suddenly after a rather pleasant afternoon, but which did not last long. The wind blew with terrific gusts from the south-west at first, veering round to the north-west and north as the night advanced. The sky – clear in the early stages – became overcast, eventually bringing heavy showers of sleet, which seemed to subdue the force of the gale, and by 10 p.m. the weather had moderated. Sunday morning broke calm and bright, but before mid-day a change was observed on the sky, and evening brought a bitter wind from the south, which for a time almost reached gale force again – with cold, rain, or sleet. Despite weather of unsurpassed violence, the sun is asserting himself in the lengthening days, and there have been many bright periods to remind us that spring is coming. [Evie correspondent]

1932 February 10 Orkney Herald

MOUNTAINOUS SEAS. – Writing on Monday, February 1, our Evie correspondent says the rough seas of Thursday and Friday last week attracted unusual attention, and provoked much discussion. A seething, surging cauldron thundered in the rocks and caverns round about Eynhallow and Rousay’s Scabra Head, fascinating many onlookers. Away in the distance, to the west of north, seas of tremendous dimensions rose high on the sky-line like great phantom ships. At first glance one took them for real ships. Such an appearance is phenomenal, and is the result of a continuation of exceptionally stormy weather.




The realisation of a dream is within striking distance. Very soon it is expected Orcadians will be journeying by air to the south. Flying Officer E. E. Fresson, of the North British Aviation Co., arrived in Kirkwall yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon to make arrangements for the establishment of an air station at Kirkwall – to be the northern link of a passenger and mail air service, of which Inverness will be the southern depot.

Mr Fresson landed about 2 o’clock in a field adjoining the Crafty. His plane was a three-seater De Havilland Gipsy Moth, a machine of gleaming silver fabric with a scarlet under-carriage. A considerable crowd of excited onlookers watched him descend.

Speaking to a “Herald” reporter, Mr Fresson said he had flown from London, and had a fairly good journey. He said he had come on a very different mission from his last.

No Reply from Kirkwall Town Council. – This time I am on real business. I am to make arrangements for a northern flying base at Kirkwall to connect with Inverness. Everything has been settled at Inverness: we are only beginning here.

I have written letters on the proposition to the Kirkwall Municipal Council, but have received no reply from them. I do not know what are their views on the subject. I want to have a consultation with the Council as soon as possible.

Mr Fresson added that he would probably be remaining in Kirkwall for two days, which he thought would give him ample time to complete his negotiations.

The pilot learned anxiously of the windy weather Orkney has been having recently, and the imminence of rain clouds caused him some concern as he wished to get his plane under shelter.

1932 February 17 Orkney Herald


Orkney is to have its air mail in May. The cynics who last year scoffed at the possibility will now find the laugh turned against them. The North British Aviation Company’s representative, Flying Officer E. E. Fresson, visited Kirkwall last Tuesday and interviewed the Town Council of Kirkwall for the purpose of obtaining their co-operation in the establishment of a flying service between Inverness and Orkney.

As stated in the “Orkney Herald” last week, the Company had completed its negotiations with the municipal body of Inverness before sending its representative to Orkney.

On Wednesday afternoon the Town Council was hastily summoned to interview Mr Fresson. Provost Slater presided.

Mr Fresson pressed his case enthusiastically, and said that if the Council provided a flying field for the first year his Company would probably be able afterwards to take the matter over entirely.

The Council were agreeable to this scheme, and it was thought that the field used by Mr Fresson last year, one belonging to Mr James Rich, of Hatston Farm, would serve the purpose admirably. The Council decided to approach Mr Rich on the matter…..

Mr Fresson told an “Orkney Herald” reporter on Thursday that he was very well satisfied with the result of his interview.

“I am quite confident the service will prove a success,” he said. “Orkney will get her mails promptly. The people of Kirkwall will not be a day behind the rest of the country any longer. In this direction the North of Scotland is a pioneer. If the air mail is a success here other parts of the country will clamour for it. Aberdeen is doing so already.”

On Thursday morning Mr Fresson and his lady companion, Miss Helen Pauer, owner of the plane in which he travelled, left Kirkwall for Wick, where further arrangements were made.

The Inverness-Orkney air service has received official sanction from the Post-master-General. The plane used will be of the most reliable type. It is at present under construction at the Hooton Park Aerodrome, Cheshire.

The question of fares is one on which northern eyes will dwell most anxiously. £3 is the single charge from Kirkwall to Inverness. This is not so much as it sounds. When one counts the cost of crossing the Pentland Firth, and the subsequent train fares, bus fares, and hotel bills on the way to Inverness, and totals them up it is to come to the conclusion that £3 is, after all, not too formidable a sum. There are persons who would cheerfully pay £10 to escape the terrors of the Pentland Firth.

Passengers, mails, and newspapers will be carried north and south on the skyway route. The problem of day-old newspapers will thus at last be overcome. It will be remembered that last year Mr Fresson brought supplies of newspapers by air from the Scottish mainland.

Sightseers will be in their glory when the air service arrives. There is a splendour about the Orkneys seen from the sky that is unrivalled anywhere. Business men, to whom scenery is valueless, will be equally delighted with the new medium of transport. It will mean a saving of twelve hours in journeying from Orkney to the Highland capital. The plane for the service is to have a maximum speed of close on two miles per minute, which means that with weather conditions favourable, the trip to Inverness from Kirkwall will be accomplished in less than an hour…..

1932 March 2 Orkney Herald

AN INTREPID LADY AVIATOR. – In connection with the recent visit of the Gipsy Moth aeroplane to Kirkwall, Mr Tom Kent, photographer, has received the following letter from Miss H. M. Pauer, who accompanied Flying Officer Fresson on the trip: “Mr Fresson has passed the photographs on to me which you gave him. I think they are simply splendid, and will make a lovely souvenir of our Kirkwall trip. Thank you very much indeed for sending me so many. I do appreciate it, and my friends have enjoyed seeing them. We had a fine trip back, and flew another 500 miles this weekend in the same machine. I also had a trip at Brooklands in the “Monospar” – the machine to be used on the Inverness-Kirkwall route – but I prefer an open machine myself any day, no matter how cold it is. However, most people don’t. Hoping to come up again some time this summer, and with many thanks.”

1932 April 13 Orkney Herald

ON THE [EVIE] FARM. – Another week of bad weather has interrupted the progress of the spring work, and tillage has been practically at a standstill. Ploughed fields remain as they were – unharrowed – the soaked earth not admitting of further operations. Snow and sleet showers, melting as they fall, have immersed parts of low-lying fields and a great change must take place before a good seed-bed can be formed. Sowing will therefore be much later than was at one time expected. Large quantities of ware have been driven in by the north winds, and many have been taking advantage of the seaweed for manuring land where this fertiliser is particularly suitable. Much time is spent in the sheepfolds and among the poultry these days, lambs and chickens calling for extra attention in the boisterous weather.




I have something interesting to tell my readers. Last week I paid a visit to Finstown on business, needless to say. Tell it not in Gath, as a literary colleague quaintly remarks. I was in Finstown, I repeat, for almost an afternoon. Fifty minutes of the sixty I spent watching a speckled hen scratching for food in the middle of the road. An old enemy of mine came along, and I stood him a ginger-wine at his expense. Yes, I was an hour in Finstown, and an hour in Finstown is like eight years solitary confinement in Dartmoor. Suddenly a car passed through. I asked a lift to Kirkwall, got one, and we left the accursed place at 70 miles an hour. If we could have left it at 100 miles an hour I would have been more satisfied.

Someday when I am rich I shall buy an airship, and I shall fly over Finstown and drop forty tons of high explosive upon it. That will teach them that I am no person to be trifled with.

1932 April 20 Orkney Herald


I [Onlooker] have received the following letter from a Finstown correspondent: –

Dear Mr Onlooker, – You are a gentleman – I know it by the softness of your thumb. You are also a man who sticks strictly to the truth – I can see it by the stony glint of your eye.

Very well then. Now just frankly admit it, that, during the hour which you say you spent in Finstown last week, fifty minutes of which were devoted to gazing at an imaginary hen which was not there, you were drunk, sir, hopelessly and irretrievably drunk.

Finstown ginger wine is a powerful beverage, and the odd ten minutes of which you do not give an account were quite sufficient to give the desired effect, but your case is unique – most unique. I must write Professor Stockingfeet for an explanation. I have heard of pink rats and blue devils, but speckled hens! Ah, ha! you have certainly had it bad, me bhoy, devilish bad. Never drink Finstown ginger wine neat, always dilute it with a wee drop of Highland Park. Only a Finstonian can take it neat.

Then that 70 miles an hour drive to Kirkwall. Yes, isn’t is funny how it often gives that impression of speed? I felt like that once too, but, good heavens, what a head I had next morning.

By the way, how did you finish the journey to Kirkwall though? The tinker’s Tin Lizzie which picked you up would have dropped you on the stony slopes at the other side of Wideford Hill. I hope the latter part of the journey was uneventful, and that no more speckled hens destroyed your equilibrium. At any rate, you evidently did get home.

Your threat to bomb Finstown leaves me cold, sir, cold and calm. Who or what are you to put such a dire threat into operation? Bah! Merely a single grain of sand on the shifting sands of humanity. In other words, a “Buckie” on the beach.

Finstown stands in a position invincible and unparalleled in the universe. Come out here any starry night, and I will show you. All the heavenly bodies speeding past overhead, every single one of them using Finstown as a common centre, and thus making it the pivot of the universe. The speed, of course, being a relative term will depend upon the amount of ginger wine imbibed.

I am proud of my wonderful connection with Finstown, proud to think I was born in such a delectable spot; yet sometimes I shudder to think that it might easily have happened somewhere else – in some god-forsaken spot anywhere from Banff to Bantry Bay.

As I write I feel the waistcoat buttons go snap one by one as in swelling pride I think of Finstown. Glorious Finstown, Finstown in Excelsis. – Yours, etc., GINGER BACCHUS.

(Try another tailor, Mr “Ginger Bacchus.” Apparently the buttons of your reach-me-down suit are too resilient to stand the strain of unwonted activity inside. My advice to you is not to imbibe too freely again of your parochial “pop”; something is bound to go bang either vertically or horizontally under intensive excitement, and another time the effect may be more disastrous. By the way, let me assure you “Ginger” that Buckie is as far above Finstown as Prof. Stockingfeet’s intelligence is above yours. If you don’t believe me ask Prof. Stockingfeet. – ONLOOKER.)

1932 May 4 Orkney Herald


Kirkwall will not have its air mail so quickly as it was thought it would. The North British Aviation Company’s representative, Flying-Officer E. E. Fresson, paid another visit to Kirkwall last week to continue negotiations for the fields at Hatston which it is intended to utilise as the Orkney base for the Inverness and northern air mail and passenger service. Under the regulations of the Air Ministry, which demand that flying fields must be over a certain size, Mr Fresson finds that two of the fields at Hatston are required for the Kirkwall base – one is not sufficient. Moreover, these fields are practically the only ones suitable for the purpose, as the airman has decided after an intensive survey of the locality.

Mr Fresson landed at Hatston, Kirkwall, last Wednesday, after flying from Edinburgh. Mr John Shearer, of Messrs Shearer, clothiers, Albert Street, travelled north along with him.

On Thursday he carried out negotiations with business men in the town, the tenant of Hatston Farm, Mr James Ritch, and the agent for the trustees of the farm.

Speaking to an “Orkney Herald” reporter, Mr Fresson said he was engaged in putting the finishing touches to the air mail project. The scheme had been held up by delay in negotiations, and consequently the air mail would start later than had been expected, probably in the middle or towards the end of June. In addition the machine to be used in the service is still in process of being built.

It is, of course, understood that the Town Council are not to assist the North British Aviation Co. out of the Common Good Fund. The Council, however, are still in support of the scheme, and have a number of prominent business men in the town ready to give financial backing.

Before leaving for the south on Friday morning Mr Fresson said he was fairly satisfied with the progress he had made during his visit…..

1932 May 11 Orkney Herald

EVIE – THE FARM. – Despite the cold and boisterous weather cultural work on the farm has advanced rapidly during the past week, the soil being dry, and in most cases the sowing of cereals is finished. The first sown oatfields are showing the blade tips, but growth must be slow in such low temperatures. Potato planting has begun, and next week will see everybody busy among the tubers. Some old ones are still in the soil, and they will be lifted only to be replanted. Grass has shown little visible growth of late, and fortunately indoor feeding is holding out on most farms. With lambs and chickens much vigilance has been required to maintain life and strength in these tender specimens.

PEATS. – Peat time is here again, but the trek to the hill is not yet commenced owing to the pressure of work on the land. Usually there are a good many “banks” shorn before this, but the second week in May is quite a good time to begin cutting operations. The use of peat is on the decline – the force of circumstances being responsible for the change. Time was when peat was the exclusive fuel in the country. Those were the days of hearth fires, when oatcakes – minus shortening, yet crisp – were baked on a brand-iron placed over glowing peat embers. Since stoves were introduced a mixture of coal and peat has been used, and farmers, crofters and others all have supplies of both. While coal is more accessible now, the difficulties of securing peat are much greater than formerly. Labourers are fewer, labour more expensive, and hill roads worse. Good mosses, too, are becoming used up.

“WINTER LINGERS IN THE LAP OF MAY.” – After a cold and dismal April we hoped to slip into summer right away, but unfortunately winter retains his hold, and the “Gab of May” has given us a very bad time. Unsheltered, this locality has been subjected to the full rigor of the snell nor’-easters that have blown strong and continuous during the first week of the month. “Blasts fell and sair” have proved that May’s bite can be as keen as that of March. The old warning, “Ne’er cast a clout till May be oot,” has been needless, there having been no temptation to doff winter togs. The cold Kalends, however, should be about over, and some sunshine and warmth due, though May, ever treacherous, will through its course likely deal out a mixture of weathers. A few days of sunshine may not mean that summer has come to stay. But we hope that ere its exit the month of leaf and flower may have some claim to the title the “merry month.”

 1932 June 15 Orkney Herald


The inauguration of the proposed air service from Inverness to Orkney this year has been cancelled…..[Work at the Longman landing site was still not completed, and more seriously Captain Fresson’s Monospar plane crashed during a full-load test flight as the result of an oversight in connection with the fuelling of one of the twin engines. Active steps were being taken to effect a start early in April next year. By this time the new plane will have overcome its teething troubles, and proper aerodromes, it was hoped, will have been constructed.]

[In the first six months of 1932 there was not a single mention of Rousay within the columns of the Orkney Herald – a very strange situation for sure, and one, of course, I cannot reason why. Then, in the second week of July, we are treated to a report of a football match – when Kirkwall Rovers visited Rousay, and were involved in an eight-goal thriller!]

1932 July 13 Orkney Herald



Kirkwall Rovers last Wednesday made Rousay the third port of call in their tour of the Isles. In a very enjoyable game with the islanders, Rovers, who fielded the same eleven as represented them at South Ronaldshay, won by six goals to two, a somewhat flattering margin in view of Rousay’s stern resistance. Rousay’s chief fault is that they keep the ball in the air too much and are unable to trap it properly when it comes down. When they had the ball on the ground they could work it pretty well. Their defensive work was good, and had their regular goalie been available, it is doubtful whether three goals would have been registered against them. For a while in the first half Rousay had the Rovers completely rattled, and were playing better football than the Kirkwallians. Rovers must have had visions of another Shapinsay until they settled down in the second half, and won the game by more co-operative play.

Taken all in all the game could hardly be described as a classic instance of how football should be played, but it was fast enough and not without thrills. The Rousay half-backs played well and kept position, but the Rovers’ intermediaries were at times inclined to forget their status and wander into the forward line.

The teams were: –

Kirkwall Rovers. – Fraser; Marwick and Miller (capt); Laird, Brass and Dickie; Ritch, Johnston, Brown, Jolly and Sclater.

Rousay. – Smith; J. Craigie and Gibson; Robertson, J. W. Grieve (capt.) and J. Grieve; Inkster, Sinclair, Learmonth, G. Craigie and Moar.

Referee – A. S. Gardiner, Heart of Midlothian F.C., Edinburgh.

Rovers came away with a rush from the centre, and were soon harassing Craigie and Robertson on the left. The ball was cleared from the danger-zone. The Kirkwallians were not to be denied, and after Marwick had dealt with a run by Moar, Brown burst through to have his shot deflected for a corner. Sclater took the flag-kick, but J. W. Grieve cropped up and headed clear. Subsequently the visitors were awarded a free kick outside the penalty box, and Brass converted with a nicely-placed ball. Ritch cut in from the right and transferred neatly to Brown, who notched goal number two with a grounder. This double blow spurred Rousay, and after hot pressure, Fraser saving from Moar, Learmonth and Sinclair, J. W. Grieve scored from a free kick. Shortly afterwards the Rousay captain got the equaliser, also from a free kick. Up to the interval play was of the ding-dong type. Rousay came away with some pretty wing movements, and Rovers’ defence was over-run. The interval arrived with no further scoring.

Half-time—Rovers 2, Rousay 2.

Second Half. – Round two of the dual found Rovers in more methodical form. The halves found their feet and opened up the game. J. W. Grieve did heroic work in defence for the homesters, but after sustained Kirkwall pressure from Ritch gave Rovers the lead direct from the corner flag. The Rousay left wing sparkled for a while, and Fraser saved brilliantly from Learmonth. Heavy rain descended, and ball control became difficult on the slippery pitch. Before the finish Rovers added three more goals, through Laird, Brown and Sclater.

Final result – Rovers 6. Rousay 2.

Best for Rovers were Marwick, Miller, Laird and Dickie, while the Rousay stars were J. W. Grieve, Moar, G. Craigie, and J. Craigie. At the close of the game three cheers were given for the Rovers, and Miller returned the compliment by calling for three cheers for Rousay.

Rovers entertained at Trumland Farm. – Later the Rovers were entertained to tea in Trumland, when an excellent repast was purveyed by the island footballers. D. Miller, captain of the Rovers, thanked the Rousay players for their hospitality. The Kirkwallians arrived back home at midnight.


TROUT FISHERS ENTERTAINED. – A party of local trout fishermen, members of the Orkney Trout Fishing Association, were entertained on Saturday to a day’s fishing in Rousay by their president, Mr Walter G. Grant, of Trumland House. Excellent sport was enjoyed in Mr Grant’s trout lochs, and the members of the Association heartily enjoyed the outing. Altogether 29 fish were landed by the party’s ten rods, the total weight being 21 lbs. 12 ozs. The best baskets were: – D. Laughton – 7 fish, weight 4 lbs.; J. MacGillivray, – 6 fish, weight 5 lbs.; and R. L. Shearer – 5 fish, weight 4 lbs. The fishermen were entertained at Trumland House by Mr Grant, who was accorded a hearty vote of thanks for his kindness in having provided the opportunity for such an excellent day’s fishing. Another party of members of the association is to visit Rousay to-day (Wednesday) on Mr Grant’s invitation.

ROUSAY BOY DUX MEDALLIST AT KIRKWALL SCHOOL. – This year’s dux medallist at Kirkwall Grammar School is David G. Marwick, a Rousay pupil, who received his early education at the Sourin Public School…..

[A Dux Medal was a traditional academic award given to a pupil whose achievements were the highest in a class, subject or school. – David Gibson Marwick, born in August 1913, was the son of John Gibson Marwick, Knarston, later Innister, and Anna Logie Craigie, Post Office, Hullion.]

1932 July 20 Orkney Herald

ROUSAY – CONCERT. – On Thursday, 14th July, a concert in aid of the Balfour Hospital was held in the Rousay Recreation Hall. It was organised by Mrs Grant, Trumland House, who, in collecting the talent and arranging the programme, was assisted by Dr and Mrs Michie. Mr Inkster, Woo, presided. So great was the interest in the event, that the hall was crowded; indeed, many people stood throughout the performance. Those people in Rousay, known to be talented, had responded well to the appeal for artists, and, in addition to these “tried favourites” there were visitors, whose kindness in taking part was rewarded by the appreciation they received. This fine entertainment was followed by a dance, enthusiastically supported and heartily enjoyed. The proceeds amounted to £14 15s, a sum which shows credit on the work of the organisers and performers, and on the fine response of the island to their effort. Annexed is the programme: –

Chairman’s remarks; violin and piano selections, Miss Cursiter and Messrs Johnston; song, “Song of Long Ago,” Miss A. Smith; dialogue, Maisie Mainland and John Gibson; song, “Roses,” Miss E. Cursiter; “Highland Fling,” Evelyn Pirie and Maisie Mainland; song, “Love’s Garland of Roses,” Miss Margaret Templeton; reading, “Mr Pott’s Hat,” Jim Craigie; duet, “Tell her I love her so,” Misses Smith and Templeton; duet, “The Desert Song,” Misses Betty and Thelma Reid; song, “The Little Silver Ring,” Miss B. Cursiter; duet, “Blue Eyes,” Misses Smith and Templeton; comic song, Billy Gibson; violin and piano selections, Miss Cursiter and Messrs Johnston; sketch, “The Courtin’ of Lizzie MacFarlane,” Mr and Mrs Grieve, Marjory and Billy Gibson. The sum realised has been handed over to Mr Duncan J. Robertson, clerk and treasurer, Balfour Hospital Trustees.

KIRKWALL FISHERMEN AT ROUSAY. – Last Wednesday a second party of Kirkwall trout fishermen were entertained to a day’s fishing in Rousay by the courtesy of Mr Walter G. Grant, Trumland House, and Hillhead, Kirkwall, the president of the Orkney Trout Fishing Association. Fishing took place on Muckle Water and Peerie Water, fairly good landings being made. The local anglers were delighted with the day’s sport, and very grateful to Mr Grant for the privilege he had extended to them. The best catches were: – Geo. Newlands, 4 fish, 3¼ lbs.; Charles W. Tait, 4 fish, 3 lbs.; Jas. M. Croy, 3 fish, 2¾ lbs.; William Brough, 5 fish, 2¾ lbs.; Robert Mackenzie, 3 fish, 2 lbs.

PICNICS AND SPORTS – FROTOFT SCHOOL, ROUSAY. – The Frotoft annual picnic was held at the school on Friday, 1st July. The morning was disappointingly wet, but as the day advanced the weather improved, and by lunchtime the sun broke through, much to the delight of the children, who, with summer holidays looming ahead, were out to enjoy themselves to the utmost. The committee are again indebted to Mr Gibson, Hullion, who, assisted by Dr Michie and Mr J. Linklater, carried out the sports programme with every satisfaction. At the finish of the races tea was served by many willing helpers, and immediately after the prizes were presented by Mrs Michie, who received a cordial vote of thanks on the call of Mr Inkster. The day was brought to a finish by a most enjoyable dance. The picnic committee take this opportunity of thanking all who helped to make the day a success.

1932 August 3 Orkney Herald



The calm which prevailed on Friday last was not appreciated by most of the boatmen who took part in the annual regatta of the Rousay Sailing Club held in Veira Sound, and the vagaries of the wind tested the skill of the boatmen throughout the day. At the start of the first race, at 11 a.m., it blew gently from the east; then from the west, south-east, west, and again from the east. Only once was there enough wind to make a moderately fast race, and at times the zephyrs were so gentle that the tide carried the boats against them.

Fourteen boats drew up at the pier in the early forenoon for measurement. This, in comparison with last year’s figure, showed a marked decrease in number, mainly due to the unusually poor turnout of local boats.

As at former regattas, there were four races – for 22 ft., 17 ft., 14 ft. waterline and under, and the all-comers’ race. There were also races for rowing boats and a race for motor boats, most of which were keenly contested. The course, unlike that of last year, was from a line between the pier-end to a mark round Avelshay Point, thence to a boat moored off Shersay Point, Veira, then back to the pier. All races were sailed twice round the course, with the exception of the 14 feet class and the all-comers’ race, which were sailed once round.

Amusing Incident. – Some excitement and amusement was caused in the afternoon by the capsizing of a small motor boat which was lying alongside the pier. Two men, in boarding the boat, both stood on one side and clung to the mast, with the result that the boat instantly heeled over, throwing the men into about three feet of water. One of the unfortunates fell on his back, and was completely submerged for a few seconds, while the other was able to jump into the water feet first. The boat was afterwards hauled up onto the beach and emptied of water.

Included in the prizes was a canteen of cutlery, which was brought to Kirkwall by Mr T. Fotheringhame with Sea Imp (22ft. class), and a barometer, given by Mr W. G. Grant of Trumland House, was brought from Rousay by Mr J. Foulis with Ivy (17 feet class). A compass, presented by the club was, however, retained in the island by Mr G. Harrold with Ivy, the smallest boat to enter the regatta.

SAILING RACES. – 22 Feet Waterline and Under. – At eleven o’clock the race for boats of 22 feet waterline and under was commenced. There were four entrants – Snowdrop (C. Logie), Mizpah (W. Grieve), Venus (J. Mowat), and Sea Imp (T. Fotheringhame). All boats made a bad start. Mizpah crossed the line first, followed by Venus and the Sea Imp sailing slowly with a light wind from the east. Mizpah got well away at first, but was soon overtaken by Sea Imp, which also passed Venus. In this order they rounded Avelshay Point, and the first boat to again come in sight was Sea Imp, followed by Mizpah and Snowdrop. After some slow overtaking and passing the boats drifted home in almost a dead calm in the following order: – Sea Imp (2h 41m 6s), Snowdrop (2h 44m 51s), Mizpah (2h 49m 31s). The winner of this race received a canteen of cutlery.

17 Feet Waterline and Under. – Five boats entered for the 17 feet class race, which commenced at half-past eleven. The boats were Ivy (J. Foulis), Foam (J. Drever), Mavis (P. Finlayson, jr.), Thora (D. Miller), Bull Dog (T. Isbister). At the time of the start there was a perfect calm. A few seconds later a breeze came up from the west, and this was enough to take Ivy and Foam across the line, but when it again calmed the two lay almost motionless for some minutes off the pier. The tide, which was then on the ebb, was actually strong enough to carry the Thora and Mavis against what breath of wind there was. After some minutes the Thora crossed, followed by Mavis. Foam outdistanced Ivy on the first stretch, but, when the boats were sighted coming from behind Avelshay Point, Ivy led, and she maintained this position to the finish. The boats arrived – Ivy (2h 23m 43s), Foam (2h 40m 15s), Thora (3h 0m 5s), Mavis (3h 8m 2s). Bull Dog retired. A medal, to become the property of the winner of this race, was presented along with a barometer, and a cup to be won three consecutive years.

14 Feet Waterline and Under. – On the second gun, five boats swung to the breeze. They were – Ivy (G. Harrold), Annie (G. Sutherland), Winnie (J. Mowat), Pirate (J. Hourston), Mary Annie (S. Mainland). The small boats made a fine start with a fresh breeze from the south-east. They kept well together to the end, when the wind again changed to the west. Ivy, the smallest boat in the race, crossed the home line eighteen minutes ahead of the second boat. The following are the actual times: – Ivy (1h 40m 34s), Pirate (1h 58m 41s), Winnie (2h 4m 55s), Annie (2h 21m 24s). Mary Annie Retired. The winner of this race received a compass.

At the conclusion of the class races, and before the all-comers’ race, the club entertained visiting boatmen to tea in the pier store. Miss C. Logie and Miss M. Gibson were in charge.

Kirkwall Town Band, under Bandmaster R. S. Spence, played a programme of music on the pier in the early afternoon, which enlivened the proceedings greatly. The club also entertained the bandsmen to tea.

All-Comers’ Race. – Eleven boats jockeyed for position for the all-comers’ race, which was started at 3.15 in the afternoon. The entrants were : – Mizpah (W. Grieve), Snowdrop (C. Logie), Sea Imp (T. Fotheringhame), Ivy (J. Foulis), Foam (J. Drever), Annie (G. Sutherland), Pirate (J. Hourston), Winnie (J. Mowat), Thora (D. Miller), Mary Annie (S. Mainland), Ivy (G. Harrold). The three boats to cross were Snowdrop, Sea Imp, and Ivy (J. Foulis), while the rest left in a cluster. Snowdrop, however, got well away, followed by Mizpah and Foam, all three hugging the shore. Sea Imp steered towards the Veira side of the sound and stayed, while Ivy drew up to take first place round Avelshay Point. On the last lap and not far from the pier, Snowdrop overtook Ivy, but, being on the lee side of Ivy’s huge spread, she was unable to pass. Foam closely followed Snowdrop, and all had their spinnakers set. The finish was the most exciting of the day, Ivy crossing the line only twelve seconds before Snowdrop. Actual times were: – Ivy (J. Foulis (1h 29m 37s), Snowdrop (1h 29m 49s), Foam (1h 33m 34s), Sea Imp (1h 39m 10s), Mizpah (1h 46m 0s), Thora (1h 46m 56s), Annie (1h 51m 34s), Ivy (1h 52m 49s), Winnie (1h 52m 49s), Pirate (1h 52m 50s). Mary Annie retired.

A cup, to be won three times, and a medal to become the immediate property, was presented to the winner of this race. There were also prizes for the small class of boats in this race, and these were won by: – 1 Annie, 2 Ivy, 3 Winnie, 4 Pirate.

Motor Boat Race. – The motor boat race, in which twelve boats took part, was run from the pier at the slowest possible speed towards Avelshay Point, where a flag was hoisted as a signal to return to the starting line at full speed. There were about twelve competitors. The race ended: – 1. Cutty Sark (J. Foulis), 2. Jean (D. Miller), 3. Ina (D. Dunnet), 4. Lorna (M. Flaws).

Rowing Races. – Rowing races were thereafter engaged in, with the following results: – Men’s (Double). 1. Geo. Bews and Tom Bews, 2. John Petrie and Chas. Craigie, 3. A. Wilson and G. Girling.

Men’s (Single). 1. G. Petrie, 2. G. Girling, 3. George Bews.

Boys’ Race. J. Thomson and T. Brough, 2. E. Mackay and R. Gunn, 3. R. Russell and H. Craigie.

Presentation of Prizes. – Mrs W. G. Grant of Trumland House handed over the prizes shortly after the conclusion of the rowing events. Votes of thanks, proposed to Mr Grant and the Rousay Sailing Club were heartily responded to. Kirkwall Town Band then entertained the crowd to some lively airs. A hearty cheer was given, on the proposal of Mr J. Johnston, for the band, and Bandmaster Spence suitably replied.

Owing to dense banks of fog the s.s. Earl Sigurd was delayed off Westray, and, over an hour late, she cast off from Rousay Pier to the strains of “Will Ye No Come Back Again” and “Auld Lang Syne.”

In the evening a dance was held in the barn of Trumland Farm, and this was carried on until the small hours.

1932 August 17 Orkney Herald




The Rousay Agricultural and Horticultural Society had a most successful day on Tuesday of last week, when they held their annual cattle and flower and industrial shows, the former in a field on the farm of  Banks, belonging to Mr R. Seatter, and the latter in the Recreational Hall close by. The weather was ideal and the gate receipts at both shows were quite gratifying in consequence. At both shows, too, there was an increased entry of exhibits, as compared with last year. This increase was especially marked in the horse sections of the cattle show. Quality also was up to standard.

Judges Comments on Stock. – Commenting on the display of animals, one of the judges remarked that he had been to most of the shows held in the North Isles this year, and Rousay’s display was the best he had seen so far. The quality of stock was a credit to the North Isles. Speaking more particularly of the cows and queys, he remarked that some of the animals would not be out of place at the County Show. The entries in the horse sections showed a great increase over previous years. As a whole the exhibits in these sections were a mixed lot, though there were some outstanding animals among them, especially in the younger classes. The champion of the show was a finely moving two-year-old filly belonging to Mainland Bros. She has a good fore foot and fine silky hair, and gives promise of developing into an excellent mare. This animal also won the trophy presented by Mr R. Bain, Caithness, for the best one-year-old or two-year-old sired by one of his horses. The prize gelding was a big good moving, up-standing horse of good lorry type. The champion of the cattle sections, which also won the trophy for best milk cow, was an excellent cross cow. She was straight, evenly fleshed, and a very sappy beast all round. Mr D. J. Inkster’s cup for best animal in Shorthorn section was won by a superior white Shorthorn quey. She was evenly fleshed, deep and wide, with a very good head and horn. The cake basket, presented for the best yearling bullock or heifer, was won by a straight, evenly-fleshed heifer, which promises to become all excellent cow.

At the conclusion of the judging in the cattle show the cups and special prizes were presented by Mrs W. G. Grant of Trumland House. Later the judges and others were entertained by the Society to dinner in the SchooIhouse.

Judging was carried out by Messrs John T. Flett, Kirkwall, and A. W. R, Walls, Finstown.

Show Officials. – Officials of the Society who were busy during the day in the rings and in the hall were: – Messrs W. Corsie, Glebe; H. Craigie, Scockness; A. Gibson, Bigland; J. Gibson, Avelshay; J. Gibson, Faraclett; James Johnston, Trumland; John Linklater, Westness, secretary; H. Mainland, Hurtiso; R. Mainland, Westness; John Marwick. Innister; D. Moar, Saviskaill; H. Robertson, Langskaill; and R. Seatter, Banks. Neither must we forget the ladies who worked throughout the day in the tea-room at the Recreation Hall. They were: – Mrs H. I. Gibson, Mrs R. Shearer, Miss Gibson, and Miss I. Craigie…..


HORTICULTURE. – ANOTHER RECORD SHOW AT ROUSAY. – Last year’s record industrial and flower show, held under the auspices of the Rousay Agricultural Society, was eclipsed by an even more successful show this year. Throughout the afternoon a regular stream of visitors paid for admission, and on all sides they were to be heard commenting most favourably regarding the display. The judges’ comments were in the same tone. Miss M. A. Leslie, N.D.D., Kirkwall, who judged the dairy produce, remarked that the cheese exhibits were the most uniform she had seen in the county and all were of excellent quality. The number of exhibits showed an increase over last year. The butter entries, on the other hand, were less, though the quality showed an improvement. Eggs were disappointing as to numbers, and, in the judge’s opinion, could be shown to much better advantage.

Miss R. A. Leith, Kirkwall, judge of the sewing and handiwork section, noted a great improvement in the work forward. One particularly good exhibit was the first prize table-runner. In her opinion, indeed, this was the outstanding exhibit of the show. She was disappointed to observe that the number of handiwork exhibits had fallen away considerably in late years.

There was a large entry in the baking section, a great increase, in fact, over last year. The quality also was up to standard – altogether, in Mr Chrystall’s opinion, a thoroughly good show.

There were also large entries in the flower and vegetable sections, and Mr Scott, Finstown, the judge in this section, had no easy job. The show of flowers, he said, was better than he had expected, but an improvement could be made in the method of display. The vegetables were very good compared with those shown on the mainland, although the Rousay exhibits tended more to size than quality…..

[There followed a very long and comprehensive prize list. Unfortunately the type-setting is very small – and heavily over-inked – making a majority of the report completely illegible.]

1932 September 14 Orkney Herald

EVIE – WEATHER AND WORK. – The grain fields are now all golden, and harvesting is in full swing, but weather conditions are disappointing, and operations have been considerably interrupted by the wet. Rain has been abundant since September came in, and the outlook is not promising at present, skies resembling those of the end of October. This quarter has escaped hail showers, and none of the crop so far is shaken or badly lodged. Binders have been working quite comfortably.

[I will continue to use reports from the eloquent Evie correspondent, whose articles mention Rousay every now and then. His description of farm, croft, weather, and life in general – is so interesting, which I’m sure you will agree!]

1932 September 21 Orkney Herald

EVIE – SEPTEMBER DAYS. – September seldom deals out settled weather. With the sun receding and nights lengthening we can hardly expect a continuation of summery conditions, and quick changes are the order of the day at present. A day of surpassing loveliness is succeeded by one of wintry character and appearance, which again as quickly reverts to that of a summer nature. A miserable forenoon becomes a beautiful evening, and so on. Last Friday evening was strikingly beautiful in the radiance of the sunset. A fringe of mist hung lightly over the hiIls, and Rousay and Eynhallow lay golden in the light of the sunset, the cliffs and headlands steeped in a pink mist which reflected on the calm muffled waters of the Sound. As the sun dipped the wavelets glittered like gold and the islands became a deep purple, while the sky, suffused with the afterglow, and a golden moon completed a picture Oriental in its colouring.

1932 October 12 Orkney Herald

GIANT CABBAGE. – A giant cabbage, grown in Rousay, was exhibited last week in the window of the Bridge Street provision shop kept by Miss Foulis. The vegetable, which weighed 18¼ lbs., had a circumference measuring 36 ins.

EVIE – HARVEST. – Crops have been mostly garnered, and now the farmers are looking with contentment upon well-filled stackyards, all harvest worries over. The grain has been secured in first-class condition, and in the shortest time possible, with little or no danger of heating. Potato-lifting is now in progress, and a few fine days would see most folks quite finished with the harvest. Potatoes are a good crop in quality and numbers.

A FORETASTE OF WINTER. – The tranquil melancholy days of autumn have been roused from their torpor by a breath of winter, and instead of one of these lovely “little summers” we expect and often get in early October, we have had a wintry bIast of wind, rain and sleet lasting for days, and wretched dirty weather covered the week-end. The wind reached gale force on Friday night, accompanied by spasmodic rain, and on Saturday and Sunday still blew strong with incessant rain, sometimes in the form of sleet, which lashed against our windows with great venom. Boats at anchor, though tossed about, withstood the strain and stuck to their moorings, and as far as known no damage was done on land or sea in this vicinity.

1932 November 2 Orkney Herald

A PREHISTORIC OX SKULL FROM ROUSAY. – At a meeting of the Royal Physical Society held in the council room of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, Synod Hall, Edinburgh, last week – Professor E. B. Bailey in the chair – Miss M. I. Platt, of the Royal Scottish Museum, communicated a paper on “An Ancient Ox Skull from Rousay, Orkney.” This prehistoric skull from Midhowe Broch, Rousay, said Miss Platt, belonged to a small-sized ox of extremely sturdy build. It differed essentially from the two definite and well recognised prehistoric types of oxen skull, “Bos taurus primigenius” and “Bos longifrous,” Owen. In view of certain characteristic features of the frontal bones, the curve, trend, and texture of the horn cores, it resembles more nearly the skull of “Bos frontosas,” Nilson, an ancient wild ox of Scandinavia, than any other prehistoric type. It was hence assumed that a tamed variety of this continental type was introduced into Rousay, Orkney, at some remote date, previous to the Christian era.

1932 November 9 Orkney Herald

MAIL-CARRIER’S ADVENTURE IN EYNHALLOW SOUND. – Mr William Gray, while bringing mails across from Rendall to Gairsay, where he resides, had a narrow escape from death last Wednesday. He was making his usual trip to the Mainland shore in a small pulling dinghy when he was caught by the tide race, swept before it and almost swamped.

A man on the Rendall shore saw Gray’s predicament, and hailing a Kirkwall motor boat manned by Jack Walker, Glaitness Road, Kirkwall, and James Thomson, White Street, Kirkwall, he asked them to go to the dinghy’s assistance.

The Kirkwallians went in pursuit of the dinghy, which had also been seen by Mrs Gray from the Gairsay shore.

The dinghy, when the motor boat sighted it, was almost full of water, and was being swept along with its occupant helpless.

Before the motor boat could catch up with it, however, the dinghy went alongside the Gairsay shore, and Gray was helped out by his wife, none the worse for his terrifying experience.

Gray and his family are the only occupants of the island of Gairsay. He looks after sheep there for Mr Bichan, Swanbister, Orphir.

1932 November 30 Orkney Herald

WILD WEATHER IN EVIE. – During the past week, writes our Evie correspondent, weather of the worst description has been experienced. Low temperatures, with a hint of snow, have prevailed in storms of wind, rain, hail and sleet, and the country is bleak and cold with soft muddy footpaths and fields all steeped in water. Tremendous seas have come down from the west and pounded the headlands, and gigantic snowy breakers have rolled in and washed the sandy beach. The culminating point was reached on Sunday, when a gale of exceptional force from the north blew nearly all day, and lashed the sea into smother for a time. The storm was not unexpected, as the barometer made a sudden drop on Saturday night.

1932 December 7 Orkney Herald

MR FRESSON BACK AGAIN – FINAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR ORKNEY ‘PLANE SERVICE. – Flying-Officer E. E. Fresson, of the North British Aviation Co., arrived at Kirkwall shortly after 1 o’clock yesterday (Tuesday) by ‘plane from Inverness to make final arrangements for the Inverness Air Service, which he said is definitely to begin in April.

Mr Fresson, in an interview with an “Orkney Herald” reporter, said the Inverness aerodrome was already under construction. He had come from there this morning to make the final arrangements for the Kirkwall base, which his Company would, in view of the Town Council’s refusal to help, have to attend to themselves.

“While we regret the Council’s attitude,” remarked Mr Fresson, “we hope we shall have their goodwill, and we still live in hopes that they may yet see their way to give us assistance later.

“Thurso and Wick have intimated to us their willingness to supply landing grounds.

“The new company will be known as the Highland Airways, Ltd., and the machine to be used is a 150 h.p. Pobjoy twin-engined ‘Monospar,’ with a seating accommodation for three passengers in addition to the pilot. The machine will be able to carry 100 lbs. of luggage and 100 lbs. of newspapers. Contracts have been made with certain newspapers to bring them north by air, so that Orcadians will receive these daily newspapers at 9 or 11 o’clock in the morning.

“I have had at least 300 inquiries from prospective passengers. That is without advertising at all.”

Mr Fresson was accompanied by Miss Pauer, the owner of the plane he travelled by.

The crossing from Inverness against a head wind took 1 hour 40 minutes. Visibility was excellent, and they could see for 40 miles.

Mr Fresson is anxious to get away again before a gale springs up.



SIR, – There recently appeared in the local and south country Press a somewhat misty account of a Gairsay man being in difficulties when crossing Eynhallow Sound from or to the mainland in a small boat. The recognised bounds of Eynhallow Sound on the north-west are between Costa Head on the mainland and Quoynalonga Ness, Rousay, and on the south-east a line joining Vastry Point in Evie and the Taing of Veira; to the south-east of this latter line is Gairsay Sound. It seems very improbable that the Gairsay boatman could have been carried so far out of his course as Eynhallow Sound, and it is therefore apparent that the correspondent responsible for the paragraph was somewhat deficient in local geography; but is the geography of Orkney taught in the schools at the present time? – Yours. etc., MARINER.

1932 December 28 Orkney Herald

EVIE – WINTER COMES. – The winter solstice is past and light is at hand. Old-fashioned winters were half done at this period, but our modern winters only begin now, and we have but entered on the season of snows and frosts. So far our hills have never been snow-capped, and there is no immediate prospect of white vestments, but all the appearance of a green Christmas. Winter is indeed late of coming, and whether or not this portends that it will stay late – as is often the case – it is impossible to say.

EXCAVATION OF A DENUDED CAIRN AT ROUSAY. – At the monthly Meeting of the Society of Antiquaries held in Edinburgh last week, Mr Walter G. Grant, F.S.A.Scot., in describing “The Excavation of a Denuded Cairn containing Fragments of Steatite Urns and Cremated Human Remains in Rousay,” which he had undertaken last summer, Dr J. Graham Callander, of the National Museum, being present, stated that this monument [later named ‘Blackhammar Stalled Cairn’’] lay on the farm of Nears, at an elevation of 75 feet above the Sound of Wyre, and about 700 yards west-south-west of Trumland House. Nearly all the stones which formed the body of the cairn had been removed. It had had a diameter of about 25 feet. Two roughly concentric circles of slabs, set on edge, remained in position, having originally been covered by the mound. Within the inner of these two circles were the remains of a small stone cist, 1 foot 9 inches in length, and 1 foot 3 inches in breadth. The end stones were set on end, but the sides had been built of small flat slabs. The cover-stone was gone.

Amongst the small stones with which the cist was filled were portions of one, if not two urns, made of steatite or soap-stone, and a few comminuted burnt human bones. No other relics were found.

This discovery added another example to the considerable list of short stone cists containing steatite urns and burnt human remains which had been recorded in Orkney. It did not, however, add anything to our knowledge as to the period of these graves. From the fact that the graves to a certain extent resembled some short cists of the Bronze Age, and because they contained cremated remains, some archaeologists would assign them to that period. There was, however, a record of a cist containing a steatite urn which was found on the top of the mound which covered the ruined broch of Okstow, which, if reliable, indicated a very much later period for this example…..