August can be one of Orkney’s hottest and busiest months – you’ll really see the best of the islands if you visit this month!
Outwith the public sector, the agricultural industry is the most significant employer in Orkney, and so the start of August is a celebration of that industry. The Agricultural show week runs from Friday 4th August to Saturday 12th August and the running order is as follows:
Friday 4th August 2017 – Sanday Agricultural Show, Sanday
Saturday 5th August 2017 – East Mainland Agricultural Show, Toab
Tuesday 8th August 2017 – Shapinsay Agricultural Show, Shapinsay
Wednesday 9th August 2017 – South Ronaldsay and Burray Agricultural Show, St Margaret’s Hope
Thursday 10th August 2017 – Dounby Agricultural Show, Dounby
Saturday 12th August 2017 – County Show, Bignold Park, Kirkwall
Come along to a Agricultural Show; as well as some amazing animals, there will be food, drink, entertainment, fairground rides and much more. It’s a great day out for all of the family!
The day after the County Show, it’s the annual Orkney Vintage Club Rally at Kirkwall Auction Mart. Running from 10:00 until 17:00 on Sunday 13th August 2017, there will be old vehicles, tractors and motorbikes on display. Indoors will be an exhibition of smaller artifacts and displays. In all it’s a lovely celebration of machinery and the dedication of collectors and enthusiasts!
Also on Sunday 13th August 2017 it’s The Riding of the Marches; a traditional event where horses, riders and carriages carry a standard around the old boundary of the town. The event begins in front of St Magnus Cathedral at 14:00, and we recommend seeing the horses when they reach the water at Scapa Beach!
If you are interested in archaeology there are two great Orkney Archaeological Society talks at the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall during the month of August.
Karen Wallis, the Artist in residence at the Ness of Brodgar in 2016 and 2017 will give the talk ‘Drawing in to the Ness of Brodgar: An artist’s residency seeking a role for perceptual art in archaeology‘ at 1930 on Wednesday 9th August 2017.
On Wednesday 16th August 2017, Dr Mike Copper, from the University of Bradford will focus on Neolithic pots and pottery in ‘Tracing Lines: Pots, Feasts and Islands Large and Small in Neolithic Atlantic Scotland‘ Entry to both talks is free, though there will be a raffle and donations are welcome!
One of Orkney’s most unique festivals is the Festival of the Horse and Boys’ Ploughing Match. This year it takes place on Saturday 19th August 2017. The day begins in St Margaret’s Hope with the girls of the Primary School dressing in traditional ‘horse’ decorations. Later on the boys of the village must compete in a ploughing match in the sand on the nearby beach; the Sands O’ Wright.
The archaeological excavation at the Ness of Brodgar comes to an end on Friday the 25th August 2017 with the last day of entry for the public being on Wednesday 23rd August 2017. We’d highly recommend attending one of the Ness of Brodgar Open Days. One of these takes place on Sunday 20th August 2017 between 11:00 to 16:00. As well as activities on site there will also be a café with sandwiches, homebakes and refreshments in the Stenness Community School.
We love the island of Rousay, and there’s a great event taking place there on 26th August 2017 from 12:00. The Rousay Lap is a half marathon run, cycle or walk around the main circular road of the island. With quite a steep hill to climb this is a challenging but fun event in aid of the RNLI – both serious racers and families are welcome! For more info follow the Rousay Egilsay & Wyre Development Trust on Facebook!