In Print

Newsprint – 1948

1948 January 13 Orkney Herald

“FERGUSON” FIGURES. – One hundred and fifty-three Ferguson tractors were landed in Orkney during 1947, including ten which were shipped north to Shetland. To meet world-wide demand on this scale production is being stepped up at Ferguson’s huge Coventry factory. Last month the 20,000th tractor came off the production lines there. Output was then 230 tractors per day. Ferguson’s have told their Orkney distributors, Messrs John Scarth, Kirkwall, that they aim at turning out 500 tractors per day.  

1948 January 20 Orkney Herald


There is no surer way to make two Orkneymen fall a-fighting than to open, quite innocently, a discussion about Orkney’s supreme beauty spot – the place in all the islands where one would never tire of living.

There are so many places which have a claim to the title, that strife is inevitable. This Tuesday I intend to set a hornet’s nest buzzing about my ears by opening up this vexed question. In my own mind I have no doubt at all about the one place in Orkney that, for beauty, is head and shoulders above all the rest.

But first let us dispose, gently and with infinite caution, of a few claimants.

I will drive Kirkwall people into a raging fury at the very outset by stating categorically that the City and Royal Burgh does not stand a ghost of a chance.

I grant you that, apart from beauty, there is a compelling attraction about Kirkwall. The stones exhale the atmosphere of history. The grey houses have seen pageantry, grandeur, and tragedy. To take one step from Broad Street into the courtyard of Tankerness House is to enter a different world of quiet and enchantment. Kirkwall has, too, the Cathedral, the fairest diadem in Orkney’s crown. But take it away, and Kirkwall is nothing much – a cluster of houses that remember many things, a grey shrinking lagoon whose shores are lined with filthy machine shops and garages.

Forward now, Kirkwallians, in defence of your city!

Turning next to the North Isles, we discover that one island, Westray, makes no bones about it – she is the nonpareil, the “Queen of the Isles.” Never having been in Westray, I cannot judge. But I am amazed that the Rousay folk have nothing to say in retaliation – they who live on one of Britain’s loveliest Islands. In Rousay they have everything – history, pre-history, hills, plains, lochs, fertility (both human and earthy) and character. The most dramatic episode in the whole “Saga” – the kidnapping of the gentle Earl Paul by the scoundrally Viking Sweyn Asleifsson – happened on a Rousay beach. I do not know a more beautiful thing in all Orkney than the white road that climbs from Wasbister to Sourin along the side of Kierfea Hill. Below, the rabbit-riddled fields slope steeply into Westray Firth; above, the heather-clad hill, alive with birds’ wings on a summer afternoon, towers steeply upwards. The pensive sound of the sea is everywhere. One of my most precious memories is jolting along this road, one August day five years ago, in a farm cart. It was sunny and warm. Rabbits scuttled away in all directions at our approach, with a flash of white tail. Once the horse stumbled on the uneven road, and I went backwards with a clatter into the empty cart…. A trivial memory, you think: yet to me a very precious one so much so, that I think he who puts forward Rousay’s claim to be the Garden of Orkney is certainly not over-bold.

How space runs out. Turning to the South Isles, the very name of Hoy fills the entire perspective. From the scenic point of view no other island, except Rousay, can touch it. Yet I would say that Hoy excels, not so much in beauty as in a starkness and grandeur which haunt the memory primitively and powerfully. Do you like cliffs that rear half-way up the vault of heaven, whose enormous bases defy the Atlantic’s December fury? Do you really care for profound dark valleys and black hillsides of frightful solitude? If so, what other place is Hoy’s equal?

I suspect, however, that most of us are impressed by the natural savagery of this island rather than by its beauty. It has its loveliness, too. I once got into trouble for writing, in this “Diary,” that Rackwick was a place of utter enchantment. I refuse to recant. On a June morning, arriving here in this fertile valley girded with mountains, ringing with the songs of half-a-dozen larks, the air fragrant with the scent of wild flowers, it is a strong heart that can resist the allure of this strange wild place.

And now I note with regret that my space has almost run out. I had intended to mention so many places – Eynhallow, Birsay, Binscarth, Skaill. They all must bide till another time.

The best place, then? I suppose no-one will go past the place of his birth. I certainly won’t. There is a little town in the south-west corner of Hrossey, with a green hill behind it and in front, a placid harbour with two islands. The crazy street twists along for a mile up and down like a switchback. It isn’t old at all, only a matter of 250 years. The small boys born in it can sail boats almost before they can walk. They can catch fish through their bedroom windows. The harbour was once full of the red sails of the fishing fleets. Now it is empty, and the streets are almost empty. The storms of winter blind the window-panes with scalding spray. In summer the sun splashes the piers and steeples with colour. Every man is independent and proud. If your neighbour knows all your business, which he does, he will also never spare himself to help you in times of adversity. This is the place I was born in, and it is for me the most beautiful place in the whole of Orkney. – ISLANDMAN. [Islandman was, of course, George Mackay Brown]

1948 February 3 Orkney Herald


HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FAIRY? – In a small place like Orkney there doesn’t seem much chance of achieving anything spectacular which will make the headlines ring in the ” Daily Express.”

I mean, our islands are so compact that you can’t help achieving anything that is worth while achieving – like getting to know every island and the characteristics of its folk, climbing the highest hills and finding the nests of every wild bird, and reading everything that is to be known about our ancient home, all in the span of a lifetime.

It sounds simple. But if you come to consider, you’ll find (like me) that there are enormous yawning gaps in your Orkney education. Have you (for example) watched a hen harrier coming down on her nest? Have you seen the fairies or the trowes, and the rings where they dance? Have you seen Alexander Graham’s signature? Have you heard a blackbird in Binscarth Plantation on a July evening?

These are all vital parts of Orkney experience and Orkney life. I was, the other evening, making a brief census of my own Orkney experiences, and those which, so far, have passed me by – and I got a shock, I can tell you!

I have always had a burning desire to see the Ba’ in Kirkwall on New Year’s Day, but for several reasons have never managed to make it. But if I’m spared, surely, some year, I’ll manage. But take part in the play? No thank you, even if you pressed a £5 note into my hand!

I confess with shame that I have never crawled to the top of the Hoy Ward Hill, nor the Orphir Ward Hill, nor even to the top of Wideford to see the living map of Orkney spread out beneath. If anyone in a helicopter would transport me to the summits of any of these places, I should be obliged: but I won’t climb. The nearest to Heaven I’ve been was the top of Brinkie’s Brae – but I’ve done that several times, and always thought the climb worth while. I must go back again some day next summer.

Seeing the midsummer sun rise over the Brodgar Ring sounds a delightful experience; not that the spectacle would convey much to me in the archaeological sense, for, looked at in that way, old stones leave me cold. It’s not so many years ago that some Stromness gentlemen made, two or three years running, pilgrimages to Brodgar to measure the angle of the sun’s uprising, etc. But all they saw, behind dense thick-piled clouds, was dawn’s murky glimmer. Never once had a cloudless East rewarded them: they had left their cosy beds in vain.

As for having visited every island in our group, here again I must return a negative answer. All the North Isles, but Rousay (the Queen of them all, I believe) have been guiltless of harbouring me, even for a few careless hours….. This ignorance of the North Isles is a frightful gap. I shall, if I am spared, remedy the mistake next summer.

I have walked dryshod from Holm to South Ronaldshay, via Lamb Holm, Glimps Holm, and Burray; and I have seen that other modern Orkney marvel, the Italian prisoners’ Chapel, which, in the long run, is even more perdurable and significant than the Churchill Causeway itself. How glad I was to read, the other day, that those blockships are going to be broken up for scrap. I think they were the most hideous things in all Orkney. The Holm people will feel a weight lifted off their souls when the wrecks finally vanish.

There is one experience which I resolutely intend to gain before I get the Old Age Pension, and that is to see the lost island of Heather Bleather, which one or two people claim to have seen lately. But not only do I want to see it: I want to walk up its beach and talk with the shy seal-folk; and perhaps, if I like conditions well enough, stay there for ever….. Heather Bleather is perhaps a vain ambition. I would give a lot to walk round Eynhallow, though.

I should like to see fairies dancing in moonlight. An uncle of mine who was “fey” and saw ghosts and trolls with the utmost facility, told me it is a mistake to imagine that fairies are tiny wisps of things the size of your finger. Not at all: they are at least half the size of a grown man. One day a fairy came in through his bedroom window, where he was lying wide awake. It was a summer morning, and early. The fairy, who was a male, showed no fright at all. He lifted my uncle’s watch and held it to his ear, entranced with the ticking of it….. After a time he gravely vaulted over the window sill and disappeared. W. B. Yeats and Hugh Miller both believe in fairies. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I saw one myself some day. I hope I do.

I should also like to drink a glass of the Heather ale, which filled people with such divine happiness that coming back to earth again was like being dragged back through the portals of Hell. Alas! the secret of this delightful brew vanished with the Picts.

Or did it? Sometimes, tasting ale brewed in Birsay, and feeling the blood singing in my veins, I very much doubt whether that precious recipe was lost at all. – ISLANDMAN.

1948 February 10 Orkney Herald

DEATH OF ORCADIAN IN WINNIPEG. – Rev. W. R. Wood, 254 Winchester Street, St James, Winnipeg, died on Thursday morning, December 11, 1947, in a hospital at Portage in Prairie, from injuries received on Sunday, December 7, when he fell down the basement stairs of a house in which he was visiting at Poplar Point.

Mr Wood was born [at Rusness] in the island of Wyre in 1874. He was the only son of the late John and Margaret (Robertson) Wood. He came to Canada in 1887 and was educated for the ministry in Knox College, Toronto, Ontario.

He was inducted in 1903 and preached in Ontario the first few years before going West to Manitoba.

He was keenly interested in provincial affairs and served two years in the Manitoba legislature. He was also at one time chairman and director of the Manitoba Prohibition Alliance.

Mr Wood was married in 1904 to Margaret Workman of Ontario, who has been a faithful helpmeet in all his various assignments, and is now left alone to mourn his sudden passing. Their only daughter Rhoda died in October 1947, and their only son Keith was killed over Belgium when serving with the R.C.A.F. in 1943.

Mr Wood was a nephew of the late Mr Hugh Robertson of [South Tofts] Egilshay.     

1948 April 16 The Scotsman

ORKNEY – The Island Estate of TRUMLAND & WESTNESS, ROUSAY, ORKNEY (within daily reach of London, Edinburgh, and Glasgow, by air service.) – Over 7000 acres including several excellent farms and other holdings; principal residence with 4 reception, 7 family bedrooms, 5 bathrooms; electricity, central heating; charming secondary residence, also modernised; good dogging moor yielding a varied bag of grouse, woodcock, numerous snipe, wild duck, golden plover, &c., 3 capital trout lochs with exceptional records of catches; several good cottages; perimeter county road. Further details and sporting records from the Solicitors, W. & F. HALDANE, W.S., 4 North Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, and the agents, JOHN D. WOOD & CO., 23 Berkeley Square, London, W.1.

1948 March 23 Orkney Herald

WILD WEATHER. – A week-end of gales culminated in a protracted thunder storm on Sunday night. Some West Mainland telephone circuits were affected for a short time. A trawler in the Pentland Firth radioed that seas had swept away her life-raft and fish pounds. A Danish ship six miles off Start Point, Sanday, signalled that her engines had broken down, but she was making her own repairs.

1948 April 6 Orkney Herald

THE WEATHER. – March, which came in “like a lamb” with fine mild weather, went out “like a lion” with the worst easterly storm of wind and rain of the winter. Some of our local weather experts were saying that the barometer last Thursday was as low as it has been for 53 years.

TO INSPECT ORKNEY PIERS. – Members of the Transport Group of the Highlands and Islands Advisory Panel (of which Mr Alex. Calder, Orkney County Convener, is a member) are to inspect various Orkney piers this week.

They are arriving in Orkney on Friday and will visit Shapinsay, Egilsay, Rousay, Eday, Papa Westray, South Ronaldshay and Graemsay. County Councillors of each area will meet and accompany them.

The Panel has already strongly urged high percentage grants for piers at Papa Westray and North Ronaldshay. At a short meeting of members of the panel and County Council representatives in Kirkwall the questions of a jetty at Wyre and of agricultural roads will be raised.

1948 May 11 Orkney Herald

SUMMER. – The first “Picky-ternos” of the year were seen over Kirkwall on Thursday – a few days ahead of schedule, a local observer avers. An Eday correspondent reports hearing Orkney’s cuckoo, the corncrake, on 29th April, and suggests that the advanced stage of the new pastures, its natural camouflage, is at least partly responsible for its early arrival.

1948 May 18 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FROM FOOD TO FUEL. – Finished with sowing – except the turnips – and the food crops assured, the farmers have moved from the fields to the moors to prepare for winter fuel, and peat-cutting is now in full swing. Weather conditions are very suitable at present for curing the turves, but the hill isn’t as dry as at this time last year. The urge for peats is greater than ever, and despite the difficulties in obtaining labour and transport everybody is making an effort to have a peat stack.

[Here we are – into the sixth month of the year, and in the eyes of the now ten-page “Orkney Herald” Rousay does not exist! Not a single mention, while every other island and mainland parish are given weekly columns galore to tell their tales. Thank goodness for our neighbouring Evie correspondent, on whom I frequently fall back on to tell us what life was like – just across Eynhallow Sound…..]

1948 June 1 Orkney Herald

EVIE – “WINTER LINGERS IN THE LAP OF MAY.” – The summer spell gave place to winter conditions during the past week – the last of May – and this district got a big share of the heavy showers of hail, sleet and cold rain which swept the country-side. The parched fields were copiously watered but night frosts have checked growth.

FARM. – Pastures look fresh and green, and the braird, though in some cases showing signs of the ravages of grub, appears on the whole satisfactory, and should stock up rapidly now if bright warm weather ensue. The turnip fields have been sown under favourable conditions, and the main potato crops have broken ground.

ISLAND DIARY – WHAT’S IN A NAME. – “What’s in a Name?” said William Shakespeare with a superb gesture. “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet!” Yet it would take and even greater genius than William Shakespeare to give a more lovely, a more appropriate name to that particular flower.

Think Well Proud Parents. – The truth, of course, is that names are very important indeed. With young children, especially, the name they bear must have a subtle, yet none the less definite, effect on their entire lives. Think how dreadful it would be if your parents had called you Hercules or Clarence. Nature usually has its revenge, and will delight in moulding a pansy in the first instance, and a heavyweight boxer in the second. So the horror is intensified.

It behoves every responsible citizen who intends to become a parent, to take a short course in the naming of children. There has been a marked tendency lately to bestow on innocent children flowery and ridiculous names, like Yvonne, Claribella, Montgomery.

In the choosing of names nowadays, it is the custom to consult the Film Stars’ Annual; just as our grand-fathers consulted the Old Testament. There are still plenty of old Orkney-men going around with venerable names culled from the pages of the sacred books of the Jews. It’s not so long since every parish had its Zechariah, Abner, Josiah, Benjamin; which was almost as odd as the present day custom of film star nomenclature. The Old Testament, however, has some noble and lovely names – Adam, Ruth, David, Joseph – which will surely never become odd or old-fashioned.

Avoid Frills! – Taken all in all, however, I must say how the plain perennial names appeal to me, and give a certain pace and nobility to the wearer, while the new-fangled ones merely succeed in making young children feel humiliated and odd. There is nothing to be ashamed of, but much to be proud of, in such strong and time-honoured names as John, William, James, Peter, Robert, Thomas. Girls’ names, at their plainest and best, have a delicate graciousness in the mere sound of them, like those Elizabethan madrigals we don’t hear often enough on the wireless. Margaret, Anne, Elizabeth – what lovely textures of sound! And Mary, because of its universality and because of the age-old associations that cluster thickly about it, is the most beautiful of all.

Sweet Symphonies. – Poets can always be trusted in those matters. Dante Gabriel Rosetti, in a stanza from his great poem “The Blessed Damozel,” describes the five hand maidens of Our Lady in Heaven, and says their names – Cecily, Gertrude, Magdalen, Margaret and Rosalys are “five sweet symphonies.”

Up to now Orcadians have been peculiarly insensitive to the splendidly virile names that have come down to us in the Norse Sagas. Here and there in the islands one comes upon a boy called Rognvald (though it is as likely to be spelled Ronald as not). It is, too, a curious and disappointing fact that not one church throughout the length and breadth of Orkney is called St Rognvald’s.

Occasionally too one hears of a Magnus – but there are scores of Orkney boys being born every year who would live to be proud of such a name, rather than the Clarks, Montagues and Adolphuses that will inevitably be inflicted on them. Sigurd, Sweyn, Erlend, Olaf, Einar, seem to me to be fine names for any Orkney boy. For girls’ names the northern lands are no worse off. Names like Ingibiorg, Ingi, Thora, Freya, Ragnhilda are also symphonies – Sibelian symphonies in contrast to the Mozartian samples quoted by Rossetti.

The Art of Naming. – There are encouraging signs that Orcadians are yearly becoming more conscious and appreciative of the rich heritage of names that has come down to us in our history. Place-names are coming in for a good deal of attention. Professor Jacobsen’s monumental work appealed more to the intelligentsia of the day; but a book like Dr Hugh Marwick’s recent “Place Names of Rousay” aroused widespread curiosity among lay readers, and cannot but have a good effect.

Language has become so impoverished in these latter days that when we build our houses, we are as liable as not to give them pallid flabby names like “Seaview,” “Sunnybrae,” “Hillside.” (I am not trying to insult anyone, but am merely giving a few general examples of this most lamentable deterioration in the art of place-naming). Thanks to scholars like Dr Marwick, the tide is now beginning to flow in the opposite direction.

I begin to have visions of a not-too-distant tomorrow in Orkney, when men and women with proud beautiful names like Rognvald and Sigurd and Ingi and Thora refer to Waas (instead of Walls), Kirkwa (instead of Kirkwall), Rininsey (instead of North Ronaldsay), Hrossey (instead of Pomona or Mainland).

For, in spite of Shakespeare, we take our characters in great part from the names we wear. – ISLANDMAN

1948 June 8 Orkney Herald

THE ORKNEY DRY-STONE DYKE. – Improvement schemes under the Hill Farming Act show as a constantly recurring item – the repair of fences. It is a great pity that so many miles of dry-stone dykes are now becoming derelict and that the skilled labour is not there for the rebuilding.

A good stone dyke can never be fully replaced by a stob and wire fence, though the latter is cheaper in primary cost and much more quickly erected if stobs and wire can be got. The one thing that they have in common is that they are stockproof, but the dyke can also be made rabbit proof, and its chief virtue is that it provides shelter at all seasons.

A dry-stone dyke requires no imported material – it cannot be burned – and, except on moss, it drains itself. It is the only possible fence on rocky ground.

Unfortunately fences and dykes suffer from careless treatment by some unthinking townsfolk, who, when they go into the country, make a practice of defacing them.

In the House of Lords debate on National Parks one speaker proposed that there should be a Country Code to encourage decent conduct in the countryside, just as the Highway Code does on the roads. Most Orkney farmers will say “amen” to this.

1948 June 22 Orkney Herald

OLD MAN OF HOY: A REASSURANCE. – An anxious report circulated all over Orkney last week that the Old Man of Hoy had toppled into the sea. “Orkney Herald” correspondents, and the Kirkwall office, were bombarded with anxious enquiries. One man said he had definitely read of the mishap in the “Press and Journal.”

The most worried Orcadians of all were the schoolboys. We were able to reassure them, for the most part. But several persons, anxious to make absolutely certain, sailed round the Kame of Hoy to see the Old Man still on his feet, and seemingly good for many more thousands of years. As if to scotch the appalling rumour finally, the “Picture Post” next day carried on its middle page a beautiful coloured photograph of Orkney’s most famous landmark.

We are unable to say how this astounding rumour took shape, except through carelessness in reading. A further rumour, that a certain local person won £10,000 in a football pool, seems to have had its origin in a like source. It is perhaps needless to say that football pools finished for the season last April.

[The truth of the matter was the fact that George Mackay Brown, in his role as ‘Islandman’ the previous week, was ‘indulging in wishful fantasies, and writing up a story, with flaming headlines, that any hack in the wide world would be glad to cover. How, on opening your “Herald” some Tuesday morning, would the following strike you? – Old Man of Hoy In the Sea…..” He then went on to relate how the Old Man of Hoy had collapsed into the sea in a ‘titanic smother of foam’, and that ‘the giant that had warred with heaven for thousands of years of storm and tempest, had finally given in…..’ ‘Fake news’, as we would call it today!]

1948 July 27 Orkney Herald

EVENING TRIP. – The evening trip – held by 2nd Orkney Wolf Cub Pack – to Rousay on Wednesday (first of the summer) proved a great success, a full complement of 200 enjoying every minute aboard s.s. Earl Sigurd, even though the weather was foggy and a heavy drizzle fell much of the time.

Mrs Hibbert and Mrs Harrold had travelled to Rousay previously by post-boat from Evie and had the tea arrangements all ready.

The pier store had been cleared and served as a restaurant while a jolly dance was held in Trumland barn to music by the Rousay band and Jim Linklater (guitar) and Bruce Dunnet (accordion).

During the trip Kirkwall Boys’ Brigade Pipe Band enlivened proceedings with stirring pipe music.

The ice-cream aboard found many eager patrons – young and old.

Cub parents who helped Cubmaster E. J. Hendry make the do a success (proceeds will go towards financing the Cubs’ Camp next month) were: – Mrs D. Chalmers, Mrs T. Heddle, Mrs J. Linklater, Mrs D. Horne, Mrs J. Herdman, Mrs T. Sclater, Mrs Barr,  Mrs Logie, Mrs J. Mowat, Messrs T. Sclater, J. Linklater, D. Chalmers and J. Herdman.

Miss Logie, Rousay, also helped, and the cubmaster and parents take this opportunity of thanking all those kind Rousay folk who went out of their way to do everything possible for the success of the function.

1948 August 17 Orkney Herald

MORE CATTLE AT ROUSAY. – A section for poultry was an innovation at Rousay Agricultural Society’s Show last Tuesday, and a unique item at this island show is the sheep dog race.

In the main sections of the show, cattle entries were higher, and in common with most other places, horse entries were fewer. Quality of stock in all sections was good.

OFFICIALS: President – David Moar, Saviskaill; Vice-President – R. Johnston, Trumland; Secretary and Treasurer – Ronald Shearer, Curquoy; Committee – John Mainland, Westness; R. Mainland, Nearhouse; Wm. Corsie, Glebe; R. Seatter, Banks; James Lyon, Ervadale: W. Inkster, Woo; W. Alexander, Scockness; James Seator, Brendale; James Marwick, Innister; Fred Kirkness, Quoyostray. Judges – Mr Wood, Sunnybrae, St Ola and Mr Smith, Hall of Tankerness. Poultry – Mrs Corse, Poultry Instructress.

SECTION I – SHEEP: Pair H.B. Ewes – 1 Jas Seator, 2 and 3 R. Seatter. Pair H.B. Gimmers – R. Seatter. Pair H.B. Lambs – 1, 2, 3 and 5 R. Seatter, 4 Jas Seator.

SECTION II – CATTLE: Calved on or after 1st October – 1 D. Moar, 2 Mrs Inkster, 3 R. Seatter, 4 W. Grieve, 5 and 6 James Marwick. Calf calved on or after 1st March – 1 and 6 Mrs Inkster, 2 D. Moar, 3 and 5 R. Seatter, 4 Jas. Marwick. Cow in milk or in calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 W. Alexander, 3 R. Grieve, 4 W Corsie, 5 Jas. Lyon, 6 Inkster Bros. Cow three-years-old – 1 and 2 W. Alexander, 3 R. Seatter, 4 Inkster Bros. Heifer in calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 W. Alexander, 3 and 4 Hugh Mainland. Heifer, 2 years old – 1 W. Alexander, 2 and 4 Inkster Bros., 3 R. Johnston, 5 and 6 Jas. Seator. Heifer, one year old – 1 and 3 Thos. Donaldson, 2 Inkster Bros., 4 Jas. Lyon. Heifer, one year old, 1st March – 1 Inkster Bros., 2 W. Alexander, 3 R Seatter, 4 and 5 Thomas Donaldson. Steer, two years old – 1 Jas. Seator, 2, 3 and 5 Inkster Bros., 4 R. Seatter, 6 Jas. Lyon. Steer, one year old, 1st October – 1 and 4 Thomas Donaldson, 2 R. Seatter, 3 Jas. Lyon, 5 and 6 W. Alexander. Steer, one year old, 1st March – 1 and 3 Hugh Mainland, 2 Inkster Bros., 4 and 6 Thos Donaldson, 5 W. Alexander.

Cow in milk or in calf – 1 Mrs Mainland, Hurtiso, 2 W. Corsie, 3 R Johnston. Cow, three years old – 1 W. Alexander, 2 Jas. Lyon, 3 R. Seatter. Heifer in calf – 1 Thos. Donaldson, 2 R Johnston. Heifer, one year old, 1st October – Thomas Donaldson. Steer, three years old – 1 and 2 R. Seatter. Steer, two years old – 1 Jas. Lyon, 2 Jas. Seator.

Department of Agriculture special prize for best cow or heifer in calf or in milk – 1 and 2 R Johnston, 3 W. Alexander.

Dept, of Agriculture special prize for best ewe, any breed, which has raised a lamb this season – 1 R Seatter, 2 and 3 Jas. Seator.

Royal Highland Agricultural Society’s special prizes: Cattle – best one-year-old – 1 and 2 Thos. Donaldson, 3 Hugh Mainland; best calf – 1 D. Moar, 2 and 3 Mrs Inkster.

SECTION III – HORSES: Draught Mare, yeld – 1 R. Johnston. Filly, three years old – 1 R. Johnston. Draught Gelding – 1 R. Seatter, 2 Jas. Marwick, 3 James Lyon. Carron (any age) – 1 Thomas Donaldson, 2 R Grieve.

Dog Race – 1 W. Alexander, 2 R. Seatter, 3 W. Inkster. Silver cake basket presented by Messrs J. & W. Tait for best animal in Cattle Section – 1 R. Johnston; reserve, James Seator. Cup presented by Messrs P. C. Flett for best cow in yard – 1 R. Johnston; reserve, W. Alexander. Cup presented by Mr George Johnson, M.R.C.V.S. for best shorthorn cow – 1 Mrs Mainland; reserve, W. Alexander. Silver coffee pot, presented by Mr R. Johnston, Trumland for best four cattle drawn from any section – 1 W. Alexander; reserve, Inkster Bros. Cup, presented by Dr Patterson for best cog-fed calf – 1 and reserve, Mrs Inkster. Cake basket, presented by Mr A. Harcus, Knapper Cottage, for best pair yearlings showing their calves teeth – 1 Hugh Mainland; reserve, Inkster Bros. Cake basket, presented by Mr J. Lyon, Ervadale, for best calf. excluding pure-bred – 1 D. Moar; reserve, Mrs Inkster. Fruit stand, presented by Mr W. Inkster, Woo, for best pair in cattle sections, £30 rental and under – 1 Jas. Seator; reserve, Thomas Donaldson. Medal, presented by Mr A. Baikie for best butcher’s animal – 1 Inkster Bros.; reserve, R. Seatter. Medal, presented by Mr W. D. Reid for beat animal in cattle sections, £20 rental and under – 1 R. Grieve; reserve, Thomas Donaldson. Medal, presented by Mr Linklater for best animal in cattle sections, £12 rental and under – 1 R. Grieve; reserve, Charles Flett. Silver Cup, presented by the late Mr Grant, Trumland, for best animal in horse section – 1 and reserve, R. Johnston. E.P.N.S. vase, presented by Messrs Wm. Shearer, seed merchants, for best gelding – 1 R. Seatter; reserve, James Marwick. Bowl, presented by W. B. Firth. Finstown, for best fowl (to be won twice) – 1 and reserve. David Moar, Saviskaill.

POULTRY: Cocks – White Wyandotte – 1 Mrs Inkster, Woo. Hens – White Wyandotte – 1 and 3 D. Moar, 2 Mrs Inkster. Leghorn – 1 and 2 Mrs Harcus, Knapper Cottage. Cross – 1 and 2 D. Moar. Light Sussex – 1 and 2 D. Moar.



There have been more entries at Rousay Horticultural and Industrial Show than there were at Sourin on Tuesday, but there have not been better.

Prize-winners were: –

INDUSTRIAL SECTION: Gent’s socks – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Hourie. Fair Isle knitting – gloves – 1 Mrs Grieve, Cruannie; jumper – 1 Mrs J. Grieve, Burnside, 2 Mrs Grieve, Cruannie; scarf – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Fancy knitting (not Fair Isle) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Inkster, Woo, 3 Mrs J. Grieve, Burnside. Luncheon set (crochet) – Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Handicrafts – 1 Mr Mickie, 2 Mrs J. Grieve, Burnside. School writing – 1 Ruth Miller, 2 Edna Clouston, 3 Anita Craigie.

VEGETABLES: Cabbage – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Cauliflower – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Peas – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Beet (globe) – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Carrots (long) – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness, 2 Mrs R. Shearer, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Carrots (short) – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Turnips – Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Leeks – Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Rhubarb – Mrs W. Craigie, Corse. Shallots – I, 2 and 3 John Petrie. Onions – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Parsley – 1 and Mrs Gibson, Lopness, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Lettuce (cos) – 1 Mrs R. Shearer. Potatoes (round white) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs R. Shearer. Potatoes (long white) – 1 and 2 Mrs Harcus, Knapper, 3 Ivor Donaldson. Potatoes (round coloured) – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs R. Shearer.

FLOWERS: Gladiola – 1 Ivor Donaldson. Canterbury bells – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Wild flowers – 1 Ronald Shearer, 2 Gladys Gibson. Tom Thumb – 1 Miss Eva Wylie. Marguerites – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Double Iceland poppies – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Sweet peas – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Stocks – 1 Mrs Hourie, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Dahlias – Mrs H. I. Gibson. Marigolds – 1 Miss Eva Wylie, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Corn-flowers – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Candytuft – 1 Mrs Hourie. Phlox – 1 and 2 Mrs Hourie. Tricolor Chrysanthemums – 1 and 2 Mrs Hourie; do., (double) – 1 Mrs Hourie. Shirley poppies – 1 and 3 Mrs Hourie, 2 Mrs R. Shearer. S.A. Daisy – 1 and 2 Mrs Hourie. Escholtzia – 1 Mrs Hourie. Sweet William – 1 Ivor Donaldson. Garden flowers – 1 Mrs Hourie. Roses – Ivor Donaldson.

BAKING: Bere bannocks – 1 Miss A. Gibson, Faraclett; 2 Mrs Gibson Faraclett; 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Oat bannocks (thick) – 1 and 2 Mrs R. Shearer, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Oat bannocks (thin) – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Flour bannocks – 1 Miss E. Wylie, 2 Linda Grieve, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Oven scones (flour) – 1 Mrs Harcus, Knapper, 2 Mrs R. Shearer. Oven scones (treacle) – 1 Mrs Gibson, Faraclett, 2 Miss A. Gibson. Drop scones – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness, 2 Mrs Harcus, Knapper, 3 Mrs Seator, Brendale. Fruit cake – 1 Mrs R. Shearer, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Sultana cake – 1 and 2 Linda Grieve, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Madeira cake – 1 Mrs R. Shearer, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Mrs Seator, Brendale. Gingerbread – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Harcus, 3 Mrs R. Shearer. Victoria sandwich – 1 Mrs R. Shearer, 2 Mrs Gibson, Faraclett. 3 Mabel Grieve. Scotch bun – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Fruit tart – 1 Mrs R. Shearer. Cheese cakes – 1 Mrs Gibson, Faraclett; 2 Miss A. Gibson; 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Queen cakes – 1 Mrs R. Shearer, 2 Mrs Gibson, Faraclett; 3 Mrs A. Gibson. Rock cakes – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Melting moments – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Shortbread (thick) – 1 Mrs Hourie, 2 and 3 Mrs R. Shearer. Shortbread (thin) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Miss Eva Wylie, 3 Miss A. Gibson.

DAIRY PRODUCE: 1 lb. salt butter – 1 Mrs R Shearer, 2 Mrs Cormack, 3 Mrs Alexander. 1 lb. fresh butter – 1 Mrs Alexander, 2 and 3 Mrs Cormack. Table butter – 1 and 3 Mrs R. Shearer, 2 Mrs Seator. 6 eggs (hen) – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs R. Shearer, 3 Mrs Gibson, Broland. Sweet milk cheese – 1 and 3 Mrs Alexander, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson.

PRESERVES: Rhubarb jam – 1 Mrs W. Craigie, 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Strawberry jam – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Blackcurrant jam – 1 and 2 Mrs R. Shearer. Gooseberry jam – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs W. Craigie. Any mixed jam – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Plum jam – Mrs Inkster.

Judges were: Flowers and vegetables – Mr John Sclater; dairy produce – Mrs Corse; baking – Mr MacGillivray; industry – Miss Bain. Show secretary was Miss Peggy Corsie.

1948 September 7 Orkney Herald

56 YEARS POST OFFICE SERVICE. – On Wednesday last, the 1st Sept., Mrs Robina Cooper retired from her post as Sub-Postmistress of Egilshay, a position she had held with faithful diligence for the long period of over 46 years. Prior to her appointment as Sub-Postmistress she acted for 10 years as assistant to her father – Mr Thomas Craigie, who was Sub-Postmaster from 1881 to 1902. Mrs Cooper has thus given 56 years service to the Post Office, during which time there is no record of her absence from duty owing to illness.

She is succeeded as Sub-Post-mistress by her daughter – Miss Maggie Ann Cooper, who has acted as Postwoman on the island for over 19 years. It may also be mentioned that Mrs Cooper’s husband acted as Post-Boatman between Egilshay and Rousay for 17 years.

It is the earnest wish of all that Mrs Cooper may be long spared to enjoy her well earned retirement.

[Robina Grieve Craigie was the 5th oldest of eight children born to Thomas Craigie and Isabella Borwick, Mugly, Egilsay. Born on December 4th 1868, she was 23 years of age when she married James Craigie Cooper in 1891. He was the son of James Cooper, Pretty, Rousay, and Harriet Smeaton Craigie, Faro. Born on September 10th 1863, James Craigie Cooper was in his 65th year when he died in 1929. He and Robina had three daughters, Isabella, Maggie Ann, and Alexina.]

1948 September 21 Orkney Herald

EVIE – QUINOCTIAL GALES. – The worst gale of years, blowing a with gusts reaching a velocity of from 80 to 90 miles per hour, was experienced here last Friday. There was a good deal of damage done generally. Standing crops were badly shaken, causing a serious loss of grain. Gardens were completely wrecked and blackened. Henhouses were overturned and some carried away to the sea, where they were seen floating on the waves. A motor boat anchored off the Woodwick shore, belonging to Mr Hutchison, Laga, was sunk and still lies at the bottom. The wind continued to blow with violence over the Equinox – accompanied by cold showers of sleet.

FARM. – Harvesting has made good progress and now the greater part of the crop is in stook. Last Sunday would have been “Stooky Sunday” had the stooks not been overthrown by the gale. Whole fields were flattened. The cereal crops, in general, are heavier this year than last. Turnips and potatoes also give good promise.

1948 October 5 Orkney Herald

EGILSHAY IS ON THE PHONE – On Thursday, 23rd September, a telephone exchange was opened at Egilshay. The exchange, which is situated at Warsett Farm, is operated by Mrs Mary Craigie, who acts as exchange attendant. Eight private subscribers’ lines are connected to the exchange, together with the Public Call Office at Egilshay Sub Post Office. Provision of telephone facilities should prove a great boon to the farming community in this isolated area.

1948 October 12 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FISHING. – Lobster fishing is still prosecuted, but not with the summer ardour and regularity, less opportunity being granted by the shortening day and the frequency of gales. September was not a profitable month for the fisherman, prevalent high winds hindering them to get out to fish and turbulent seas destroying some of their gear. Sillocks are now on the inshore grounds and good catches have been landed.

HARVEST ENDS. – Last week improved weather conditions enabled the farmers to forge ahead with harvesting operations, and the most of the grain crop was gathered in and secured before the rain-storm of last Saturday. Despite the hostile nature of the elements during the ripening, comparatively little damage was done to the crops and few complaints have been heard. Potato-lifting is now in progress, and the main crop seems to be generally good.

1948 October 19 Orkney Herald

EVIE – FARM. – Owing to extremely wet weather conditions all through last week no work was possible on the land – so harvest lingers! Mostly all the potato crop is still in the earth and is now suffering badly in the water-logged soil except on high dry ground. The fields are covered with a beautiful fresh verdure which maintains good herbage for the cattle.

SEASON. – The summer has ended (what little there was), the day draws in, the night descends rapidly, the drought is past, it rains abundantly, the wind roars, the mud squelches on the pathway. Lamps to cheer are here – all heralds of the approach of winter.

1948 October 26 Orkney Herald

90 M.P.H. – A 90 miles-an-hour gust, recorded at Hatston Aerodrome just after 5 o’clock yesterday morning, climaxed a week of gales, which had held up sea and air transport and caused widespread minor damage.

No serious storm damage is reported, but from all quarters comes news of overturned stacks and hen-houses, flying slates and chimney-cans.

In the Willows, Kirkwall, a tree was uprooted, and in Holm Road a window was broken by an airborne sheet of corrugated iron. Worst traffic hold-up was on Friday, when wind blew strongly all day and topped 80 m.p.h. in the early afternoon.

There was no connection – sea or air – between Orkney and the mainland that day. All B.E.A. services were cancelled, and the mail steamer St Ola did not cross to Scrabster. The Earl Sigurd was unable to make her “round the North Isles” trip.

SHIPPING HOLD-UP. – The St Magnus arrived in Kirkwall bay on Friday morning, but had to anchor off the pier all day until the weather moderated.

The St Rognvald, which arrived from Aberdeen on Saturday morning, had to anchor in Kirkwall bay until 3 o’clock in the afternoon owing to lack of berthing space at the pier. Among the passengers held up was an army football team, 32nd Medium Regt., R.A. Their Army Cup game versus Orkney and Shetland Garrison had to be postponed from Saturday till yesterday, and then further postponed owing to bad weather until tomorrow afternoon.

Held up at Caithness on Friday was a party at variety artists due to give a series of concerts in Orkney. Friday night’s concert in Stromness had to be cancelled.

AIR SERVICES SUSPENDED. – Friday was the first day for many years at which all air transport to and from Orkney has had to be suspended. B.E.A. were able on the following day, however, to overtake all arrears of passenger, mail and newspaper traffic in addition to the normal traffic. Extra flights were made by Rapide aircraft, and a Dakota called at Kirkwall on Saturday.

High wind earlier in the week had twice caused the St Ola to land passengers and mails at Wick instead of Scrabster.

SHELTERING. – Battered by heavy seas, her lifeboat smashed, and running short of fuel, the 400-ton motor collier Resedene, on voyage from Seaham Harbour to Lerwick, had to turn back when off Fair Isle on Tuesday and run for shelter in Kirkwall harbour, where she remained throughout the week.

Also stormbound at Kirkwall was the Faroese ex-whaler Mary Margareth en route for Iceland with a cargo of coal. Several trawlers and fishing boats have sought shelter in Orkney waters.

WINTER. – As we went to press last night Orkney’s hills wore a thin mantle of snow – the first of the winter.

1948 November 9 Orkney Herald

A MAGNIFICENT AURORA. – Stromnessians witnessed a  magnificent display of the Aurora Borealis last Monday night, 1st November, between 10 p.m. and midnight. It must have been one of the best displays of recent years. The lower part of the northern sky was blotted out with immense dark clouds; but above them, and almost reaching the zenith, there were great undulating curtains of light.

It is commonly thought that bad weather follows a display of this kind. But the weather has been so atrocious lately that nobody discovered any difference. Indeed, the three days following this Aurora display almost persuaded us that the Peedie Summer had made a belated appearance.