1949 March 1 Orkney Herald
100 M.P.H. GALE LEAVES TRAIL OF DAMAGE. – The 100 m.p.h. gale which burst upon Orkney on Tuesday evening left a trail of overturned hen-houses, razed stacks, missing slates and innumerable instances of minor damage, but, fortunately, Orkney weathered well this biggest blow of the winter, and no major incident is reported.
Kirkwall’s new Cruden houses suffered. Stripped tiles left gaps in the roofs, and in one the ceiling was slightly damaged. Roofing at the Balfour Hospital was blown off.
In the country, straw in the telegraph wires, drunken electricity poles, and overturned hen-houses bear witness to the fury of the gale.
Waves swept Kirkwall pier, and the Earl of Zetland on her crossing from Scrabster to Stromness encountered huge seas. She was stormbound at Stromness on the following day. Seas sweeping over Ayre Road, caused traffic to make a detour round the Peedie Sea.
PERSONAL INJURIES: The high wind was responsible too for several personal injuries though none was of a serious nature. The gale blew up comparatively suddenly late on Tuesday afternoon, from the west. At 5.30 p.m. gusts of 90 m.p.h. were recorded at Hatston aerodrome, and about the same time the Admiralty anemometer at Holm logged 100 m.p.h. News of minor damage comes from all districts. Typical is this report from Evie.
Fortunately the highest velocity did not continue long, and only minor damage was done – such as roof slates flying and old walls crumbling. Through this long orgy of gales, seas responded in great fury and have been spectacular at Scabra Head, Rousay, where mountainous Atlantic rollers thundered in the caves and against the cliffs. Eynhallow Sound has been seldom at rest, and often all surf, preventing the transport of the mails to and from Rousay.
A fall of snow yesterday delayed the arrival of newspapers and malls by air.
1949 March 8 Orkney Herald
EVIE – SPOOT EBB. – The first spoot ebb of the year occurred on Wednesday afternoon, fourth day after the new moon. There were a few fishers on the sand but not so many as usual owing to the bitterly cold wind.
SEASON. – The green grass fields of our open winter have been quickly disappearing of late under the action of the tractor plough, and now a large acreage of brown furrow is signalling the approach of seed-time.
Though winter still holds sway spring is not far behind, as many vernal signs indicate. Flowers are again appearing on the earth. In the gardens snowdrops have made a fine show and have been followed in quick succession by crocuses, while bulbs of every kind are very much in evidence. In the fields a number of early lambs are skipping round their mothers. In the air the bird orchestra is tuning up.
1949 March 22 Orkney Herald
SPRING UP NORTH. – “The wildest Spring in memory” – that is the verdict of nearly every Orcadian questioned on the subject .
For the past few weeks, to go over the door mat has been to be whipped by sleet, to tramp ankle-deep through soft slushy snow, or to be blown off your feet by the gales.
The stormy weather plunged Stromness into darkness for two hours the other Sunday night, and buried the place under a foot of snow two days later. Monday and Wednesday last saw the “Ola” confined to her pier.
With a kind of pleased bewilderment people are noting that the spring flowers, punctual in spite of everything, are raising their heads in the gardens.
1949 May 17 Orkney Herald
EVIE – PROTRACTED SEED-TIME. – All spring work on the land has been greatly hampered by the prevalence of unfavourable weather, and sowing has occupied a long period from start to finish. All the cereals have at last been committed to the soil, and the earlier sown fields are showing a healthy braird. Potato-planting has been late but is now almost completed. On several farms the laborious preparation for the turnip crop is in progress.
FISHING. – Owing to the continued severity of the winter and spring weather no fishing was possible in the past months, and the lobster fishermen allege that the violence of the ever turbulent seas will have expelled their quarry from its strongholds, thereby shattering their prospects of a good summer fishing.
Cuithes are now here, and having got “three drinks of the May flood” are now in fit condition for consumption. Doubtless they will be in great demand this season and will be ardently fished in these times of greater austerity and highly appreciated for the table.
1949 June 7 Orkney Herald
NORTH ISLES COUNCILLORS CO-OPTED. – Orkney County Council co-opted last week at their first meeting since last month’s County Council election, members for the island divisions of Rousay and Sanday, which failed to submit nominations within the prescribed time. The co-opted members are Mr Robert Stevenson Mainland, Nears, retiring member for Rousay, and Mr George Cutt, Kettletoft, for Sanday.
The council decided to co-opt members for the two divisions in preference to ordering new elections there.
It was stated that nominations for Mr Cutt had in fact been received from Sanday, but too late for last month’s election. He was the sole nominee for Sanday.
Mr Mainland had expressed his willingness to continue as Rousay’s representative.
EVIE – FARM. – During last week the farmers were busy in the turnip fields, and have now sown a good part of the crop. The welcome rain has copiously watered the earth, refreshing all vegetation. Warmth and sunshine are now badly needed to speed the growth of the cereals which have been so long retarded by constant dry cold winds. Pastures have improved except where exposed to the spindrift driven in by the persistent gales of the winter and spring.
1949 July 5 Orkney Herald
EVIE – TURNIPS. – Occasional light showers of rain in the past week have saved the life of the turnip seedlings which were likely to perish from the drought, and they are now ready for singling. Hoes will be in good demand this week, and a regiment of hoers will appear on a field of Aikerness on Wednesday evening.
PEATS. – The turves are now dry and being transported from the moors to the homesteads to stack for winter fuel. Though cut much later than usual they have been perfectly cured through the agency of exceptionally suitable weather conditions.
HIGH SUMMER. – Nature has daily become more lavish with her gifts during the last fortnight and summer has now reached its full pride. The earth is clad in great beauty with colours of every hue and the countryside is a striking picture.
STROMNESS – TRIPPERS GALORE. – This past fortnight the town has been invaded from several different points in Orkney…..The trippers who stayed longest came from Rousay. They were mainly composed of golfers and that evening a friendly match with the Stromness Club – four foursomes – took place at Ness. It was two years since the Rousay golfers had been in Stromness. Supper was provided in the Golf House after the match by Mrs Flett. The Rousay contingent left for home, after an enjoyable evening spent by both sides, late in the evening.
1949 August 16 Orkney Herald
ROUSAY’S TWO HORSE SHOW
A last minute arrival in the horse section just saved Rousay agricultural show on Tuesday from being dubbed a “one-horse show”; for in Rousay the general trend of falling horse entries reached its lowest level, only two horses being forward.
Entries in other sections were slightly down on previous years, but quality was as good as ever. In fact, a feature of the show was the high standard of the stock and the evenness of the quality. On two occasions the judges – Mr Wm. Learmonth of Pow, Sandwick, and Mr P. Davidson, Skaill – had to call in a third opinion to help them decide.
Supreme award in the cattle section went to Mr R. Johnston’s cow from Trumland, and to Trumland too went the highest award in the sheep classes.
Much credit for the smooth running arrangements must go to the energetic secretary, Mr Ronald Shearer, Curquoy.
SPECIAL PRIZES – Horse Section. – Silver Vase, presented by Messrs Wm. Shearer, seed merchants, Kirkwall, for best gelding – 1 Inkster Brothers; reserve, James Marwick.
Cattle Section. – Silver Cake Basket, presented by Messrs J. & W. Tait, Kirkwall, for best animal in cattle sections – 1 R. Johnston, Trumland; reserve, Mrs Cormack. Cup, presented by P. C. Flett, Kirkwall, for best cow in yard – 1 R. Johnston; reserve, W. Alexander. Silver Coffee Pot, presented by Mr R. Johnston, Trumland, for best four cattle drawn from any sections – Inkster Bros.; reserve, W. Alexander. Cake Basket, presented by Mr A. Harcus, Knapper Cottage, for best pair of yearlings showing calf teeth – Inkster Bros.; reserve, R. Johnston. Fruit Stand, presented by Mr D. Moar, Saviskaill, for best cog-fed calf – Mrs Cormack; reserve, Inkster Bros. Cake Basket, presented by Mr Jas. Lyon, Ervadale, for best calf excluding pure-breeds – Mrs Cormack; reserve, Inkster Bros. Cup, presented by Messrs T. Smith Peace, for shorthorns under 21 years old – T. Donaldson; reserve, W. Alexander. Cup, presented by Messrs Cumming & Spence, Kirkwall, for best cow with two offspring – R. Johnston; reserve, James Seator. Fruit Stand, presented by Mr W. Inkster, Woo, for best pair in cattle sections confined to farms of £30 rental and under – A. Harcus; reserve, James Seator. Trophy, presented by Mr J. Foulis, Kirkwall, for best butcher’s animal – T. Donaldson; reserve, James Seator. Cup, presented by Mr John Sclater, draper, Kirkwall, for best animal in cattle sections, confined to farms of £20 rental and under – Mrs Cormack; reserve, Mrs Grieve, Falldown. Cup, presented by Mr J. Linklater, North Tofts, Egilshay, for best animal in cattle sections, confined to farms of £12 rental and under – Mrs Cormack; reserve, Mrs Grieve. Department of Agriculture special prize for two-year-old heifer in calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 and 3 Inkster Bros.
Sheep Section – Special Prize, presented by Messrs Cooper, McDougall and Robertson for best sheep in yard – R. Johnston; reserve, R. Seatter, Banks. Department of Agriculture special prizes for best ewe, any breed, which has raised a lamb this season, 1 and 3 R Seatter, Banks; 2 R. Johnston.
Poultry Section – Bowl, presented by Mr W. B. Firth, Finstown, for best fowl – Mrs Inkster, Woo; reserve, D. Moar, Saviskaill.
SHEEP – Leicester Ewes – 1 R. Seatter, Banks. Cheviot Ewes – 1, 2, 3 and 4 R. Johnston, Trumland. Half-bred Ewes – 1 and 2 R. Seatter. Half-bred Iambs – 1 and 3 R. Seatter, 2 and 4 R. Johnston. Cross Ewes – 1 and 2 R. Seatter, 3 and 4 James Seator, Brendale. Leicester Rams – 1 and 2 R. Johnston. Cross Lambs – 1, 2, 3 and 4 R. Seatter.
CATTLE-POLLED – Calf (calved after 1st October) – 1 and 2 Inkster Bros., 3 Wm. Grieve, Digro; 4 A. Harcus, Knapper, 5 and 6 R. Seatter. Calf (calved after 1st March) – 1 Mrs Cormack. Polled Bulls – 1 T. Donaldson. Cows in milk or in calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 and 6 W. Alexander, 3 and 4 W. Corsie, 5 R. Grieve. Three-year-old Cows – 1 and 4 W. Alexander, 2 R. Johnston, 3 W. Corsie, 5 R. Seatter. Three-year-old Steers – 1 T. Donaldson, 2 Jas. Seatter. Heifers in calf – 1 R. Johnston, 2 W. Corsie, 3 W. Alexander, 4 R. Seatter. Two-year-old Heifers – 1 R. Seatter, 2 W. Corsie, 3 R. Johnston, 4 and 5 Jas. Seator. Two-year-old Steers – 1 and 3 Inkster Bros., 2 R. Seatter, 4 R. Johnston, 5 and 6 T. Donaldson. One-year-old Heifers – 1 W. Corsie, 2 R. Johnston, 3 R. Seatter, 4 Inkster Bros. One-year-old Heifers (1st March) – 1 A. Harcus, 2 R. Johnston, 3 James Seator, 4 R. Seatter. One-year-old Steers – 1 Mrs Grieve, 2 J. Seator, 3 R. Seatter, 4 R. Johnston, 5 W. Alexander. One-year-old Steers (1st March) – 1 A. Harcus, 2, 4 and 6 Inkster Bros., 3 R. Johnston, 5 W. Alexander.
SHORTHORNS – Cows in milk or in calf – 1 W. Corsie, 2 W. Alexander. Three-year-old Cows – 1 T. Donaldson, 2 A. Harcus. One-year-old Steers – 1 T. Donaldson, 2 W. Alexander.
PURE-BREDS – Heifers in calf – 1 and 2 Inkster Bros.
HORSES – Draught Geldings – 1 Inkster Bros., 2 James Marwick, Innister.
POULTRY – Wyandotte Cock – 1 Mrs Inkster, Woo. Wyandotte Hen – 1 and 3 D. Moar, Saviskaill, 2 Mrs Inkster. R.I.R. Hen – 1 Mrs Inkster. Cross Hen – 1 and 2 Mrs Inkster, 3 and 4 D. Moar.
ROUSAY PRESIDENT SETS THE PACE
Rousay Industrial Show prize list on Tuesday fairly bristled with the name “Mrs Gibson,” for in Rousay there are two Mrs Gibsons – sisters married to brothers – who fairly swept the board in practically every section of the show.
One of the sisters, Mrs H. I. Gibson, is president of the Society.
[The brothers were Hugh Inkster Gibson, Bigland, and John Stanley Gibson, Lopness. Their wives were the sisters Jessie Alexina (Cissie) Craigie and Alice Craigie, Furse.]
Teas for spectators at the industrial show and at the nearby agricultural show were served throughout the day by ladies of the S.W.R.I.
VEGETABLES – Judge – Mr Charles Leslie, Kirkwall. – Cabbages – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Cauliflower – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, Bigland. Beet (globe) – 1 and 2 Mrs T. Sinclair, 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Parsnips – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Carrots (long) – 1 Mrs Gibson. Lopness, 2 and 3 Mrs Harcus, Knapper. Leeks – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Shallots – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Onions – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Parsley – 1 Mrs Harcus, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Cabbage Lettuce – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson, 3 Mrs T. Sinclair. Potatoes (long white) – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Harcus.
FLOWERS – Catmint – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Virginian Stock-1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Honeysuckle – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Larkspur – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Poppies – 1 and 2 Miss Eva Wylie, 3 Mrs Gibson. Hollyhocks – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Chrysanthemums – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Gypsophila – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Marguerites – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Cornflowers – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Sweet Peas – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson.
HANDICRAFTS – Judge – Mrs Margaret Reid, Kirkwall. – Plain Knitting – Lady’s Jumper – 1 Mrs Grieve, Furse; 2 Mrs Gibson, Lopness; 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Ladles’ Gloves – 1 Mrs Gibson, 2 and 3 Miss Eva Wylie. Gent’s Socks – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Mrs Gibson. Gent’s Sleeveless Pullover – 1 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Fair Isle Knitting – Gloves – 1 Mrs Gibson, 2 and 3 Miss Mabel Grieve. Fancy Knitting – Scarf – 1 Mrs Gibson, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Embroidered Teacloth – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Luncheon Set. (crochet) – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson. Craft Exhibit – 1 and 2 Mrs Gibson, 3 Miss Eva Wylie. Girls’ Knitting (jumper) – 1 Freda Grieve.
DAIRY SECTION – Judges – Mrs Corse and Miss Findlay. 1lb. Salt Butter – 1 Mrs Cormack, Daisy Cottage; 2 Mrs Russell, 3 Mrs Cormack. 1lb. Fresh Butter – 1 Mrs Cormack. Table Butter – 1 and 2 Mrs Shearer, 3 Mrs Seatter, Brendale. Six Eggs (hen) – 1 and 2 Mrs Shearer, 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson. Sweet Milk Cheese – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson.
PRESERVES – Marmalade – 1 Mrs Gibson, Lopness; 2 Miss Corsie, Glebe; 3 Mrs Craigie, Briar Lea. Rhubarb Jam – 1 Mrs Sinclair, Banks; 2 and 3 Mrs Craigie, Corse. Strawberry Jam – 1 Mrs Russell, Old School, 2 Miss Corsie. Gooseberry Jam – 1 Mrs Sinclair, 2 and 3 Miss Corsie. Any Mixed Jam – 1 and 3 Mrs Sinclair, 2 Mrs Craigie. Plum Jam – 1 Mrs Sinclair, Banks.
BAKING – Judge – Mr Argo, Kirkwall. Bere Bannocks – 1 and 2 Mrs T. Sinclair, 2 Mrs Harcus. Oat Bannocks (thick) – 1 and 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Mrs Shearer. Oat Bannocks (thin) – 1 Mrs Harcus, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness. Flour Bannocks – 1 Mrs Shearer, 2 Mrs Craigie, 3 Mrs Grieve, Cruannie. Oven Scones (flour) – 1 and 3 Mrs R. Marwick, Tou; 2 Miss Edna Clouston, Tou. Oven Scones (treacle) – 1 Mrs Shearer. Drop Scones – 1 and 3 Mrs Gibson, Lopness; 2 Mrs Craigie, Corse. Pancakes – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Gibson. Fruit Cake – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Craigie. Sultana Cake – 1 Mrs T. Sinclair, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Miss P. Corsie. Madeira Cake – 1 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 2 Mrs Shearer. Gingerbread – 1 and 3 Mrs Shearer, 2 Miss Corsie. Sponge Sandwich – 1 Miss E. Donaldson. Victoria Sandwich – 1 Mrs Shearer, 2 Mrs Grieve, 3 Miss Edna Clouston. Scotch Bun – 1 Mrs T. Sinclair, 2 Mrs H. I. Gibson, 3 Mrs Shearer. Fruit Tart – 1 and 2 Mrs Shearer. Cheese Cakes – 1 and 2 Mrs Shearer, 3 Miss Gibson, Faraclett. Queen Cakes – 1, 2 and 3 Mrs Cormack. Rock Cakes – 1 and 3 Miss Hourie, Post Office, 2 Miss Gibson. Melting Moments – 1, 2 and 3 Miss Corsie. Doughnuts – 1 and 3 Mrs Hourie, 2 Miss C. Donaldson. Short-bread (thick) – 1 Mrs Cormack, 2 Mrs Craigie, 3 Miss Mabel Grieve. Short bread (thin) – 1 Miss Edna Clouston, 2 and 3 Mrs H. I. Gibson.
1949 August 23 Orkney Herald
NEW BOOK REVIEW
“EYNHALLOW: THE HOLY ISLAND OF THE ORKNEYS,”
by John Mooney. (Mackintosh, Kirkwall, 10/6).
Eynhallow, the tiny island lying between Evie and Rousay “with a roaring roost on every side,” might claim to be the most delightful spot in Orkney. Certainly the name itself is the most beautiful of all Orkney place-names. Anyone coming on it for the first time is bound to feel its enchantment, even as the monks of an older day felt it, and perhaps too long for information about a place where sweetness and ferocity are so memorably blended.
As a matter of fact, his wants will be quickly satisfied, for Mr John Mooney’s exhaustive book on the island, of which this is the second edition, first appeared in 1923. Here legend and history are woven into a most satisfying texture, and the book is rendered more exciting by one or two of the bold speculations which make Mr Mooney outstanding among Orkney historians. His brilliant research into the historical ownership of St Magnus Cathedral is known to everyone, and his conclusions are more or less accepted as proven.
In the case of the Eynhallow monastery, which Mr Mooney accepts as being Cistercian, his conclusions are still open to doubt, especially since the Report of the Ancient Monuments Commission (1946) took the side of Mr Mooney’s critics in the matter. Time, however, may well uphold the conclusions of the local historian. Whatever emerges Mr Mooney’s work in his chosen sphere make him, without doubt, the Sherlock Holmes of Orkney history.
In this new edition of the work, Mr Mooney defends his conclusions of 1923 in two additional chapters of considerable force and eloquence.
St Magnus, the Cathedral, Eynhallow – the very names breathe of place and sanctity. It was a noble life’s work to seek to elucidate the mystery abiding in the heart of each, and only Mr Mooney of modern writers could have done it. His success lies in the fact that though the mystery remains (and who would have it scattered?) our holy men and our holy places are better known to Orcadians than ever they were before. – G.M.B.
1949 September 6 Orkney Herald
EVIE – DRY CONDITIONS. – There is still a shortage of water in this district. Burns have dried up again and springs are not yielding, many households having to carry their water supplies from a distance.
FISHING. – Lobster fishers are still busy. They have had to contend with heavy seas this season which has baulked their efforts to make a profitable fishing. There have been some catches of haddocks. Sillocks are now on the shore grounds and have ousted the cuithes.
HARVEST OPENING. – The countryside has been gradually changing colour with the approach of maturity, and various signs of autumn are in evidence all round. The recent dry, warm weather spell has hastened the ripening of the grain fields and most of the earlier sown patches have fallen to the reaper. While there are several good heavy crops, there are many light and short, and fodder is not likely to be abundant.
1949 October 18 Orkney Herald
EVIE – PAGEANTRY OF THE SKY. – Many here witnessed the spectacular display of the Aurora last Saturday night over the southern and eastern sky. Near midnight the starry dome was brilliantly lit up by long streamers darting and shooting from the horizon to the Zenith. The play was fascinating to watch. A fragment of moon ascenting from behind the Rousay hills shone with great effect, enhancing the splendour of the show.
HARVEST ENDING. – The toils of a protracted harvest are about ended at last, all the grain crops having now been in-gathered. Huge stacks studded round the farm steadings is a fine sight. In a few cases, from long standing on the fields, the grain and straw have been damaged and given cause for some complaint, but on the whole the harvest has been fairly good. Potato-lifting is now going on apace.
1949 October 27 The Scotsman
MORE CASES OF FOWL PEST IN ORKNEY. – Two more cases of fowl pest involving the destruction of 400 hens have been confirmed in Orkney on the islands of Rousay and Eday. This brings the total number of cases confirmed in Orkney to 21 and the total number of birds destroyed to 7000.
1952 May 26 Aberdeen Evening Express
TRAWLER STILL FIRM ON ROCKS. – The Aberdeen trawler Unitia is still firmly wedged on a shelf of rock in Rousay Sound, Orkney. The vessel went aground at 10 p.m. on Saturday. Despite attempts by Stromness lifeboat to tow her off and fresh attempts made to-day by the island steamers, Earl Sigurd and Earl Thorfinn, the Unitia has not moved. The lifeboat returned to base this morning after a thirty-hour vigil. It is feared that as attempts to tow the vessel by two steamers have failed, the Unitia may be stranded until the next spring tides around June 10. The alternative is to lighten the vessel if she is to be freed now. The crew members are still aboard their ship. They are in no danger and as the vessel is close inshore they can be taken off whenever necessary by motor boat.
1954 May 11 Aberdeen Evening Express
4-MIN. MILE? IN LESS IF I HAD TAKEN OFF JACKET – Minister
“The four-minute mile? I did it fifty-two years ago in the Orkneys wearing my ordinary suit and shoes – and thought nothing of it!”
The speaker, was the Rev. Alexander Spark (71), 13 Dundonald Road, Glasgow. Are you sure about the distance? he was asked.
“Certain of it. Accompanied by my younger brother I ran between one mile post and another on the island of Rousay. I timed myself with my old iron-clad watch that never lost a moment in twenty years.”
“And I am quite sure,” he added, “that I could have done it in less than four minutes if I had taken my jacket off and really tried.”
Was he a trained athlete? – No.
“I never consciously trained in my life,” replied Mr Spark. “The life we young lads led in those days made us supple and fit – we didn’t need any scientific training.”
Mr Spark, who has been a Church of Scotland minister in Glasgow and Edinburgh for forty years, entered the feat in his diary at the time and only looked up the entry after he had read accounts last week of Roger Bannister’s record-breaking mile.
“I was nineteen at the time and a student at Edinburgh University,” he said. “I had gone back to the Orkneys for a holiday – to the place where my father was parish minister for thirty years.
I don’t know why I started the race, I suppose it must have been high spirits, but I felt none the worse afterwards.
“When I was a boy at school I used to race the schoolmaster along the mile between the schoolhouse and my father’s manse. He had his cycle, one of the early models, and I ran. He never passed me until we reached a slope running to the manse.”
1958 April 7 Northern Daily Mail
GROUNDED LIFEBOAT REFLOATED. – Stromness lifeboat was refloated today after being aground all night off the Evie Pier. The lifeboat was launched last night when flares were reported to have been seen between Costa Head and the north coast of Rousay. While searching in the area of Eynhallow Sound one of the crew, a man named Simpson, was taken seriously ill and the lifeboat had to turn back. Mr. Simpson was taken off by a small boat and taken to the East Bank Hospital, Kirkwall. The lifeboat, which was grounded on a sandbank on the falling tide, returned to Stromness after being refloated. Search parties at Rousay searched along the coast but found nothing.
1966 December 15 Aberdeen Press & Journal
ANOTHER ORKNEY ISLE SWITCHED ON. – Electricity reached the island of Rousay yesterday, making power and light available to 82 more Orkney premises. The switch-on ceremony was performed by Dr Helen Firth, the island’s county councillor, who expressed the hope that other outer isles in Orkney would soon be in the same position. This development required the construction of 33 miles of overhead lines, including nine miles of 33.000-volt transmission line on Orkney mainland, and a one and half mile submarine cable from the mainland to Rousay. The cable was laid in 1965 at the same time as the cable for Shapinsay, the first of Orkney’s outer isles to get power.
1969 June 30 Aberdeen Press & Journal
FAMILY LINK WITH ISLES P.O. ENDS. – In a further step towards a completely automatic telephone network for Orkney, four manual exchanges – at Rousay, Egilsay, Wasbister and Wyre – have been replaced by one automatic exchange on Rousay.
With the closure of Wasbister Exchange, a life-long association with Wasbister Post Office has come to an end for the Clouston family. Mr J. Clouston, sub-post-master for nearly 24 years, succeeded his father who was appointed to the post in 1898.
The old exchange on Rousay was opened in 1928 with two subscribers. Mr James Gibson, sub-postmaster for nearly eight years – he also operated the exchange – is leaving the island to take up a post as a postal and telegraph officer at the Head Post Office, Aberdeen.
Egilsay exchange was opened in 1948 and Wyre in 1953. Operator at Egilsay was Mrs J. Craigie and at Wyre Mr C. Craigie (no relation).
Operator service for the three islands is being provided by Kirkwall Exchange. It is hoped to provide automatic service and subscriber trunk dialling for Kirkwall subscribers late next year.
About the same time, STD will be provided at 14 of the 15 small automatic exchanges in the Orkney network. The remaining seven manual exchanges in the islands are programmed for conversion to automatic working by 1973.
1969 July 8 Aberdeen Press & Journal
BACK FOR DIG ON ROUSAY. – A party of 10 Norwegians from Oslo and Bergen universities have arrived in Orkney to continue their excavation of sites on the island of Rousay. The party, headed by Mrs Sigrid H. Kaland, last year uncovered on Rousay the grave of a Viking chieftain and found evidence of human sacrifice.
1969 September 13 Aberdeen Press & Journal
ISLANDERS’ AIR TRIP – TO SHOP IN CITY. – It was a day to remember for five Orcadians as they mingled with crowds in the busy Aberdeen streets…..and a moving experience for three who had never left the islands. For yesterday they made a special trip from their home in Rousay to the city. Taking a taxi for a shopping spree in Aberdeen does not mean much to those who live in the North-east – but the islanders took an air taxi to do just that!
They are the family group of Mrs Kathleen Harcus, widow, Burrian; her brother Mr David Gibson (45) and wife Edith, Hullion; Mrs Gibson’s nephew Sinclair Taylor (21) and her brother Mr Alfred Gibson (50), both farmers from Avelshay.
And there won’t be much shopping done in the little shop at Hullion, Rousay, this morning, for the customers will be too busy asking Mr and Mrs David Gibson all about the trip.
With depopulation, Rousay is inclined to have just one of everything these days – school, post office (in a grocer’s shop) and pub, The population is about 170 – and the party saw more than that the first time they crossed a busy city junction.
From the moment they flew into Aberdeen Airport in a twin-engine Piper Aztec of Loganair they were determined to see as much as possible of city life.
The plane was piloted from Kirkwall by Mr Andy Alsop, and the return trip cost the five £12 each. But they thought the charter well worthwhile.
Mr and Mrs Gibson and Mr Alfred Gibson have never been in a train, never flown, and it was their first time on the mainland.
Traffic lights proved a novelty to the party. But Mrs Gibson’s first impression of Aberdeen was not the granite buildings or the size of the place, but the apparent lack of policemen! “We don’t have any in Rousay – we don’t need them – but there seems to be one at every corner in Kirkwall,” she said.
It was an early start for the five to get a boat to the main island and a quick car trip to Kirkwall to catch their plane. They were met at Aberdeen Airport by Mr R. D. Anderson, manager of an Aberdeen firm of printers and stationers, who has known Mr and Mrs Gibson through business for many years, but met them for the first time only two days before the trip.
A highlight of the trip to Aberdeen for Mrs Harcus and Mrs Gibson was, of course, “a look round the shops.” “It’s mainly clothing we want,” said Mrs Harcus, “but neighbours have asked us to get them buttons, ribbons and wool we cannot get at home. The shops are good, but Kirkwall has a good shopping centre too.”
While the women were shopping, Mr David Gibson and Mr Alfred Gibson decided to look up an old friend – Mr Jim Gibson, who was postmaster at Rousay and is now a postal and telegraph officer at the George Street branch of Aberdeen Post Office.
Mr Gibson, a distant relative of the men, moved with his family to Aberdeen earlier this year when the telephones at Rousay became automatic.
After their exciting day in the city the party, tired but happy, left by plane for the journey home…..with plenty to tell their friends in Rousay.
[That ends my research for any and every mention of Rousay in newsprint.
In the latter years the island was hardly mentioned at all,
hence including stories and glimpses into the Orcadian
way of life from slightly further afield.]