ORQUIL BURN, the

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Places:

  • Orkney Islands

Subjects:

  • Environment, the
  • Landscapes and seascapes
  • Agriculture

Genres:

  • Experimental
  • Women film makers

People/organisations:

  • TAIT, Margaret

Decade:

  • 1950s

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Related biographies

Please read Understanding catalogue records for help interpreting this information and Using footage for more information about accessing this film.

Overall rating:

Title: ORQUIL BURN, the

Reference number: 6221

Date: 1955

Director: filmed by Margaret Tait

Sound: sound

Original format: 16mm

Colour: col

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 35.40 mins

Description: Starting from its source, this film tells the story of the Orquil Burn, Orkney. Narrated by Margaret Tait.

See also Additional Information file at 11/1/455. Paper Archives 4/5/119, 4/11/651, 4/5/92.

The Tait papers are deposited in Orkney Archives. Currently being catalogued. For any enquiries please contact Principal Archivist.

Time Out, No. 522.18. April 1980, p45

Listed in a short season of Tait's films screened at the London Film-Makers' Co-op.
[Source: Film Index International, Copyright 1993 - 1997 BFI]

Tracing a little stream on the island of Orkney back to its source.
[Source: taken from on online resource. No longer available. 3/4/2008]

The British Artist's Film and Video Study Collection at http://www.bftv.ac.uk/avantgarde based at Central St. Martin's College of Art and Design holds an artist's file on Margaret Tait.

The British Film Institute National Library http://www.bfi.org.uk holds many of the published articles on her and her work.

In 1979 Margaret Tait was the subject of a BBC Scotland 'Spectrum' arts programme.

Credits: Orquil Burn by Margaret Tait
m. The Orkney Reel & Strathspey Society
piper Eric Sutherland

Shotlist: [shotlisted from timecoded VHS dub from DV0079]

REEL 1
(00.00.41.00) title (0.57) burn running to sea by waterfall, gvs rocky beach with waves lapping shore, gvs stream (2.37) source of Orquil Burn, shots of farm buildings, a shot of waterwheel for machinery in use at Scapa Distillery, exts same (3.42) shot of burn running [commentary by Margaret Tait 'This is the burn that used to flow / Over the fields as it happened to go' / 'They changed its course but the flowers still grow' / 'Mimulus and Meadowsweet / a recognisable Orkney Burn / the wonderfully useful Orquil Burn'] (5.33) shot of the main road to Orphir over burn, shot of fence marking boundary of Orquil Farm, shot of hens feeding, exts farm (6.29) Jean Maxwell feeding chickens at Orquil Farm, shot of pet dog 'Tito' , shot of Peter the farmer walking (7.27) boys fishing for brown trout on bridge using rods, pan down to look at burn, shot of farmer with dog in field (8.54) farmer in field of cattle, his dog alongside (9.37) inspecting ripening cereal crop [wheat?] (10.06) c/u water running across rocks (11.00) shot of windmill on Orquil Farm [used to drive water pump], gvs red roofed bungalow and farm cottages, shot of water pipes feeding new smaller waterwheel [used when wind power fails](12.25) water returning to burn (13.09) view of now redundant mill dam used to make reservoir for mill wheel, gvs boys playing in it (14.39) shot of older dam and sluice still used to drive some minor machinery on farm (15.08) water from dam running into horse trough , shots of most of mill stream returning to burn (15.43) shot of bridge where young boys stand using penknives to shape sedge leaves into 'seggy boats', they then 'launch' boats and help them along using sticks (18.13) wind rippling water under arched bridge, c/u stones blackened with lichen, views of farm (19.21) shot of deep and rather stagnant, foamy water (20.27) burn runs along quickly - shallow stretches, shot of straight channel made by farmer for drainage, flowers growing alongside (23.00)

REEL 2
Bridge over burn at boundary of Orquil Farm, shot of newest bridge built by army to serve Caldale Camp, gvs same, now derelict (25.08) gvs rubble left by army, including makeshift hearths on landscape, derelict buildings, concrete etc (26.00) shot of old boat [used to belong to Tommy Clouston] (26.17) Caldale Bridge (26.27) l/s another farm [Longhouse?] (26.35) c/u burn (27.27) gvs burn, fields with wild flowers (29.08) c/u flagstones making narrow bridge surrounded with wildflowers such as 'Ragged Robin' and 'Meadowsweet' (29.40) drinking place for Caldales cattle panning across to field (30.14) a boggy ford [used by carts which go collecting peat] (31.12) shot of bird flying in sky, flowers, and a final wooden plank across ditch which is the last of the bridges, leading to peat banks (31.39) gvs peats left to dry on their edge in field, gvs flowers (32.54) an owl flying, flowers with water from roots dripping into Orquil Burn (35.29) c/u bright plants and flowers (36.04) view over hillside, panning l/s showing Caldale Camp, Orquil Farm [eventually bound for sea at Scapa] (36.33) ecs (36.48)