Orkney Museum on Broad Street, Kirkwall

Orkney in February 2014

For those planning to visit Orkney this February there’s a vast amount of things to do. The events on offer this month cover all aspects of Orkney – the arts, agriculture, tourism and natural history of the islands!West Mainland Ploughing Match

On February 8th, the West Mainland Ploughing Match takes place with prizes for Vintage Shortboard, One Way and Reversible. The competition is open to local farmers but it’s great for spectators too. In the evening there will be a Dance to Genuine Draft in the Birsay Hall!

A must-see event in February, from the 10th to 15th is a production of CATS by the Kirkwall Amateur Operatic Society (KAOS)! This great musical will be at the Orkney Theatre at Kirkwall Grammar School at 7.30pm with a matinee on Saturday 15th, at 2pm.

Papay Gyro Nights Art FestivalOut on the remote island of Papa Westray from 15th to 22nd February is the Papay Gyro Nights Art Festival. This unique event sees the island transformed into art space – artworks are screened and exhibited in old farm buildings, boat house, workshops, ruins and the open landscape. We recommend dressing warm and rain proofed with sensible boots and a torch.

Keen fishermen can take their rods, waders and nets out of winter storage this month as the Brown Trout Season starts on February 15th (until October 16th, 2014) and the Sea Trout Season starts on February 25th (until October 31st, 2014 – Sundays excluded)

There’s an Orkney Zerowaste exhibition entitled ‘See the Wood for the Trees‘ at For Art’s Sake from 15th Jan to 22nd Feb which is focused on the reuse and recycling of wood, card and paper! This is a celebration of trees, which are rare in Orkney!

Finally there’s an illustrated talk from John Crossley (Orkney Botanical Recorder) 28 February 2014 at St Magnus Centre on 28th Feb at 7.30pm. Entitled ‘Orkney’s Wild Plants and Places‘, John will look at the most attractive plants in Orkney and where they grow – a fascinating event!Burrian CarvingsTankerness House Gardens

If you’re looking for somewhere to go in Orkney in February, why not visit the Orkney Museum in the beautiful Tankerness House, a rabbit warren of a building with an amazing garden, located across the street from St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall? The Orkney Museum tells the story of the islands from the Stone Age, to the Picts and Vikings, right through to the present day. It was opened as a museum in 1968 and here’s a few interesting facts about Orkney Museum you maybe didn’t know.

  • The museum was the home of the Baikie family of Tankerness for three centuries. The Baikie Skara Brae artifactsLibrary and Drawing Room gives the visitor an idea of how the house looked when it was a family home.
  • The relics that can be seen date back 5,000 years, with finds from the earliest house in Europe – the Knap of Howar on Papa Westray as well as other archaeological sites around Orkney.
  • The Orkney Museum has an exhibition about the Ba’ game which is played on Christmas and New Year’s Day through the streets of Kirkwall. Included in the exhibition is the Ba’ which was used in the women’s Ba. This was played in 1945 and 1946!
  • Scar PlaqueThere are stunning Viking runes to see here including the plaque from the Viking boat burial at Scar on Sanday, combs and a collection of gaming pieces
  • Orkney Museum also has the wooden box which was found in a St Magnus Cathedral pillar, which contained the bones of the martyred St Magnus.
  • There are lots of activities for kids at Orkney Museum including rubbings, a morse code machine, and reconstructing broken Neolithic pottery!

Entrance to the Orkney Museum is free and the museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 1030 to 1700 (closed for lunch from 1230 to 1330). The staff at the Orkney Museum are very knowledgeable and friendly and will be happy to answer any questions you have! Visiting the museum is a great way to get an understanding of all the history you’ll see during a holiday in Orkney!

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