Pilgrim's Progress - A Walk on the Wild Side in Egilsay

Where: Egilsay. Meet at the ferry pier.      logo of a cross on waves

When: 9.30am - 1pm Saturday 20 May

With: St Magnus Way

Cost: Free event. Donations welcome.

Booking required: Yes. 20 people maximum. Email to book.

You will also need to book your own journey with Orkney Ferries

Contact: St Magnus Way - Email: [email protected]

The St Magnus Way is a long distance 58-mile pilgrimage walk from Egilsay to Kirkwall following in the footsteps of Orkney's patron saint St Magnus, Our walk is on the island of Egilsay - the first of six sections of the St Magnus Way – where we will be discovering the wildlife of this beautiful isle and learning about the story of St Magnus.

Our 3.5 mile walk is on easy tracks and minor roads. If you are travelling from Mainland Orkney, you will need to book a return ferry ticket in advance with Orkney Ferries online or by phoning 01856 872044. The outward ferry will depart Tingwall at 0840, arriving in Egilsay at 0930. The return ferry will depart Egilsay at 1335, returning to Tingwall at 1440. There are toilet facilities at the ferry piers. Bring your own food, drink and wear warm, waterproof clothing and footwear. Please note anyone joining the walk does so at their own risk and is responsible for their own health and safety and ferry travel. Anyone under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. Unfortunately no dogs can join us, as we are walking close to farming livestock.


Birdwatching for Beginners

Where: The Loons hide       a man looking through binoculars at a body of water

When: 10am - 1pm Saturday 20 May

With: RSPB Scotland

Cost: Free event

Booking required: No. Drop in at any time during session.

Contact: RSPB Scotland - Email: [email protected] 

If you are new to birdwatching, drop in for some tips from our Guide in a Hide. Mike will help you identify the birds you see and answer any birding queries you may have. If you are a more advanced birder, come along and spend some time birdwatching with us.


Needlefelt Landscape Workshop

Where: 15 Victoria Street, Kirkwall    a needlefelt picture of standing stones and flowers

When: 10am – 4pm Saturday 20 May

With: Arts a Flutter

Cost: £75 per person

Booking required: Yes. Limited places available. Email to book.

Contact: Catherine Wells - Email: [email protected]

We will have a fun day making a small needlefelted landscape.

All materials supplied. Suitable for beginners. Light lunch and refreshments included. Please inform of any special dietary requirements.


Impressions of Nature FULLY BOOKED

Where: Cottascarth hide, Rendall   

When: Saturday 20 May

Session 1 - Families: 10.30am – 12.30pm

Suitable for families with children over 5 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult and no more than 2 children per adult.

Session 2 - Adults & Young People: 2pm - 4pm

Suitable for ages 16+

With: Soulisquoy Printmakers 


Session 1: £10 per child, £5 per acccompanying adult. All materials provided.

Session 2: £20 per person. All materials provided.

Booking required: Yes. Limited places available. Email to book, indicating which session.

Contact: Soulisquoy Printmakers - Email: [email protected]

A morning or afternoon printmaking session with Magda Choluj, working with collected plant material to create mono and off-set relief prints


Brodgar Bug Basha group of children and adults searching for bugs with nets

Where: Brodgar. Meet in car park.   

When: 11am - 12.30pm Saturday 20 May

With: RSPB Scotland

Cost: Free event

Booking required: No. Drop-in session.

Contact: RSPB Orkney - Email: [email protected] 

Join us at Brodgar where we will be searching for all the bugs we can find by using nets and pots. Equipment will be provided or bring your own to use. Staff will be on hand and full of fun facts. Ages 5+, parent/guardian supervision required.


Can We See What Countrywoman Saw?

Where: Meet in the Ring of Brodgar car park bessie grieve

When: 2.30pm – 4pm Saturday 20 May

With: RSPB Scotland 

Cost: Free

Booking required: Booking by email advised but not necessary

Contact: RSPB Scotland – Email [email protected] Telephone 07554 331138

Countrywoman, Bessie Grieve, was one of Orkney's foremost nature writers. She published 5 books and wrote weekly columns in the local newspaper spanning the 1950s to the 1990s where she described the nature she encountered in her everyday life and on Orkney Field Club outings. Much of her writing focusses on the West Mainland and in particular the end of the Harray Road, where she lived. Her columns provide a unique insight of nature's comings and goings over 40 years. Sarah Jane Gibbon has collated some of Bessie's observations from published columns to create a list of plants, flowers, birds and animals that Bessie saw in Mays gone by. In this wildlife spotting walk we will see if we can see what Bessie saw and there will be selected readings by Bessie's family members. Suitable for all ages. The walk will be a circuit around the trail at Brodgar and will last approximately 1 hour. Appropriate footwear advised.

We will have the list of what Bessie saw available as a handout on the day, but if you would like to have it in advance to print off or have on your phone, you can download it here. Not everything on the list will be spotted at Brodgar, but see how many species you can tick off as you visit sites around Orkney.


Making the Connection with Marine Wildlife: An Evening with Steve Truluck 

Where: Friends Room, St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall   orca jumping out of ocean

When: 7pm - 9.30pm Saturday 20 May

With: Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative 

Cost: £6

Booking required: Yes. Book here

Contact: OMMRI - Email: [email protected]

Join Steve’s presentation and film screening of the award winning documentary, ’TRULUCK,’  to discover the life changing events that led Steve to escaping his mundane life and to discovering his purpose: connecting people to marine life and in particular killer whales.

Steve Truluck is one of Scotland’s leading whale watching skippers. Steve is one of the co-authors of the Scottish whale ID catalogue so knows the Scottish orcas well. Most recently Steve has been working in the Falklands on a Sei whale tagging project. He has also travelled to Norway for the last 6 winters and has worked for Norwegian Orca Survey.The evening will include plenty of killer whale talk plus some of the highlights from Norway and the Falklands.


The Effect of the Moon on the Natural World

Where: North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory       birds flying in front of the moon

When: 8pm Saturday 20 May

With: Henry Memmott, Science/Biology Teacher, Kirkwall Grammar School

Cost: Free event

Booking required: No

Contact: Henry Memmott - Email: [email protected]

The Moon is the brightest object in the night sky, and has been admired throughout history. But what effect does the moon have on the earth, and the organisms that live here? This talk will look at the impact of the cycles of the moon on tides, animal navigation, eclipses and other phenomena. This will be followed by the chance to view the moon through the North Ronaldsay Community Telescope (weather permitting!). 


If you attend any of the Orkney Nature Festival events in 2023, it would really help us if you could take a minute to complete the very brief feedback form here. Thank you.

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