Every now and again, a novel, article or poem based in Orkney describes the ‘treeless’ landscape. In an idle (and rather perverse) moment, the woodland project officer has started recording these quotes and would love further contributions to the collection. Please send in any you come across with the full book title and author.


Thess treeless islands set

Where the wild goose flies

Lest men should e’er forget

The sea and the skies

Robert Rendall


Orkney has no trees. That’s the thing that seems to blow first-time visitors away. Orkney, yeah, it’s got no trees.

Luke Sutherland ‘Venus as a Boy’


We’ll give you one of our free trees. You need trees in Orkney; now you’ll have two.

Presenter on Radio Scotlands ‘Out of Doors’ programme to an Orkney caller.


But it’s all relative :

In the town of Kirkwall and its neighbourhood, where houses afford shelter, trees readily attain a height of 35 and 40 feet, and by their numbers add not a little to the picturesque appearance of the place; so much so, that not very long ago, the Prince of Orange, who had been on a visit to Iceland or the Faroe Islands, and on his return touched at Kirkwall, remarked, much to the surprise and gratification of his hearers, that it was delightful to get back to a well-wooded country once more.

Traill, Dr William. (1868) ‘On Submarine Forests and other Remains of Indigenous Wood in Orkney.’


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