Snorkelling Safari Morning Session Fully Booked

Where: Churchill Barriers. Exact site tbc.     a starfish on a rock

When: Two sessions available. Morning 10am start & afternoon 1pm start. Sunday 21 May.

With: Kraken Diving

Cost: £50 per person. Price includes photographer. 4th person free for group bookings.

Booking required: Yes. 8 places per session. 

Contact: Kraken Diving - Mobile: 07933 492349 Email: [email protected]

The underwater world is one of the final unexplored areas on the planet, with almost 80% of it yet to be investigated. On this special Orkney Nature Festival snorkelling safari we will show around one of Orkney's finest and safest snorkelling areas to try and find wonderful underwater creatures in the comfort of their own home. Whether it is the hypnotic sway of the kelp gardens and seaweed, or the numerous anemones, starfish and crabs, there is a huge range of different creatures and colours to see. We do our snorkel at the same location as WW1 and WW2 shipwrecks, so you can even spend time exploring historical sites which now act as artificial reefs, making them a haven for sea life and birds.

All equipment will be provided, including dry suits, to keep you warm and dry. No previous snorkelling experience is required. You can take the session at your own pace, with close support from PADI Instructors and Divemasters. There is no need to be a strong swimmer as the Churchill Barriers are very sheltered, although you do need to be comfortable around the water. It should be possible to spend up to 60 minutes in the water.


Wildlife from the Water FULLY BOOKED

Where: TBC. Meet at Kirkwall Kayak Club compound at Hatston slip, where launch site will be decided

When: 11am Sunday 21 May   

With: Kirkwall Kayak Club & Seasearch    

Cost: £8 to be paid on the day

Booking required: Yes. Maximum 8 people. Download form here and return by email.

Contact: Kirkwall Kayak Club - Email: [email protected]

Join Kirkwall Kayak Club for a unique opportunity to explore an area of Orkney's coastline with experts on hand to talk about the wildlife you will see. Kayak and clothing provided. Footwear not provided, bare feet is fine, or bring footwear you don't mind getting wet. Participants should bring dry clothing, towel and snacks/drink. No experience necessary, this event is suitable for complete beginners. Age 18+.


A Hands-on Look at the Evolution of Bird Beaks

Where: North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory   a selection of bird skulls on a table

When: 11am - 3:30pm Sunday 21 May

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

Cost: Free event

Booking required: No. Drop-in session.

Contact: Henry Memmott - Email: [email protected]

The history of research on evolution has been heavily influenced by the study of bird’s beaks since the 1800s. This research has continued into the modern day, making use of digital technology such as 3D modelling. This session will provide some background to this research, an explanation of current thinking on evolution, and a chance to get look at and handle skulls from some of Orkney’s native birds to understand why they differ so much.


OMMRI Family Fun Day CANCELLEDommri logo

Where: The Gloup, Deerness     

When: 11am - 4pm Sunday 21 May

With: Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative 

Cost: Free event

Booking required: No. Drop-in session.

Contact: OMMRI - Email: [email protected]

A relaxed family event with marine themed activities, information about what can be seen from our coastlines and the opportunity to find out more about volunteering as a cetacean surveyor.

Mapping Sanday’s Seagrass and Human-Ocean Interactions

Where: Sanday, Heilsa Fjold Sunday 21 May seagrass in the ocean

When: 2pm - 5pm (with a repeat from 9am - 12pm on Tuesday 23 May)

With: Joe Boyle (University of Oxford)

Cost: Free

Booking required: No

Contact: Joe Boyle, questions encouraged by email: [email protected]

As part of a research project on local knowledge and marine mapping, Joe Boyle will be running workshops to co-produce some sketched maps of Sanday’s seagrasses and how people interact with and value the sea. Views of all residents of Sanday over 18 are encouraged, and you’re welcome to bring children of all ages along to the session. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions or would like to attend but the timings don’t work for you.


Wild Walking - Brodgar

Where: RSPB Brodgar reserve, near Stenness    

When: 2.30pm - 4pm Sunday 21 May

With: Species on the Edge Orkney

Age: All welcome – anyone under 16 should be accompanied by an adult.  

Cost: Free event

Booking required: Yes. 20 places available. Email to book.

Contact: Sam Stringer - Email: [email protected]           

Join us for a 2-mile nature walk in the heart of Neolithic Orkney.  Our circular walk follows the nature trail around the RSPB Brodgar reserve – an incredible haven for wildlife between the Lochs of Harray and Stenness.  This reserve is one of the best spots to see the rare great yellow bumblebee on mainland Orkney and a great place to hear babbling curlews and see displaying lapwings.  We will be walking on level grassy footpaths at a gentle pace, stopping to see wildlife along the way and trying out some mindfulness to connect us to nature in this special place.  

This event is being run by Species on the Edge, an exciting new conservation project working across Scotland over the next four years.  Species on the Edge will be working with communities, local initiatives, and land managers to improve the future of 37 of the rarest and most threatened species on Scotland’s coasts and islands. 

Species on the Edge is a partnership of NatureScot and seven nature conservation charities supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund: Amphibians and Reptile Conservation; Bat Conservation Trust; Buglife; Bumblebee Conservation Trust; Butterfly Conservation; Plantlife; and RSPB Scotland.


Seabird Watching at Marwick Head  

Where: Marwick Head, Birsay.     marwick head cliffs with sea and sky in background

When: 7pm - 9pm Sunday 21 May

With: RSPB Scotland & Orkney Nature Youth Collective

Cost: Free event

Booking required: No. Drop-in session.

Contact: RSPB Scotland - Email: [email protected] 

Members of the RSPB Scotland team will be on hand to help you spot the different species at this amazing seabird site. Come along and see Orkney’s newest gannet colony, plus learn a bit more about the lives of the seabirds on Marwick’s bustling cliffs. You might be lucky and spot a puffin! 

Drop in at any time. Appropriate clothing and footwear is advised. This event will be weather dependent, so check this site or social media for any updates.

Aged 16 - 30? Members of the Orkney Nature Youth Collective will also be there to tell you about why you should get involved. The group meets monthly (more or less), to take part in a range of outdoors and nature-based activities. Past examples include foraging for wild garlic, a beach clean-up, and camping out on Hoy. While most of what they get up to takes place under the vast Orkney skies, the group do occasionally venture indoors. When they do, this usually entails some kind of nature-related crafting. Since the start of 2023, the they have experienced the aurora together, spotted golden eagles and watched killer whales cruise along the coast! Orcas cannot be guaranteed for every occasion, great company can.


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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