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  • Orkney Islands


  • Agriculture
  • Arts and crafts
  • Fish and fishing
  • Ships and shipping
  • Tourism and travel
  • Transport


  • Documentary
  • Sponsored


  • Campbell Harper Productions
  • Films of Scotland Committee
  • HARPER, Alan James
  • MacLEAN, William J. ‘Mac’


  • 1950s

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Overall rating:


Reference number: 2009

Date: 1957

Director: d. Alan Harper

Sponsor: Films of Scotland

Production company: Campbell Harper Films

Sound: sound

Original format: 35mm

Colour: bw

Fiction: non-fiction

Running time: 17.38 mins

Description: Life on the Orkney islands seen through the eyes of a mail boat skipper, a farmer and a civil air-service pilot. Film includes brief shot of German fleet in Scapa Flow prior to scuttling in 1919 and an aerial shot of the Churchill Barriers.

Production commenced 1950 by Central Office of Information in association with the Department of Agriculture, but not completed. Project picked up by the newly formed Films of Scotland Committee after 1954. See Paper Archives files.

Credits: w. Robert Kemp
comm. s. Moultrie Kelsall
cam. Gordon Mackay
ed. David Hanley
sd. rec. W. J. MacLean

Shotlist: No opening credits. Map of Great Britain (0.15) title (.22) Orkney Islands coastline at Hoy. Shot of the Old Man of Hoy (.52) shots from and on deck mail steamer "St. Ola". Entering Hamnavoe. Shots from boat to Stromness (2.00) passengers disembark from "St. Ola". The mail is unloaded. Skipper talks to harbour master (2.45) street scenes in Stromness. Fishermen taking lobster pots out to sea in a small boat (3.11) lifeboat made ready on slipway (3.28) memorial stone at well where seamen took on last fresh water before sailing across the Atlantic (3.42) map of Orkney Islands (3.57) inter-island cargo and passenger boats, including the "Earl Sigurd" (5.00) pre-historic sites at Stenness (standing stones) and Skara Brae (6.06) ruins of the Palace of Birsay. Ext. of Earl's Palace of Kirkwall (6.35) German fleet in Scapa Flow prior to scuttling in 1919 (7.00) regatta in Scapa Flow. Aerial shot of the Churchill Barriers [indistinct shot of the Italian Chapel] (7.26) a farmer drives his tractor across the Barriers (7.46) farmland (8.06) farmer tilling soil, removing stones (9.00) gathering seaweed on the shore (9.40) farmworker busy with harvesting, tending cattle, etc. (10.23) cattle auction (10.43) county show with horses, cattle, bulls, farm equipment (11.42) Kirkwall egg grading station (12.01) Orkney airfield as BEA plane lands (12.52) map of Orkney mainland (13.04) Kirkwall quayside and cargo of whisky, cheese and livestock being loaded onto ship (13.35) tracking shot of Kirkwall streets (13.51) int. of Orkney tweed mill and workers - weaver Tommy Shearer working at loom (14.17) Highland Park Distillery (14.31) members and premises of the Orkney Federation Scottish Women's Rural Institute (14.44) the local library (15.08) local artists mount exhibition of paintings (15.27) members of Kirkwall Strathspey and Reel Society playing fiddles. Solo penny whistle (16.08) member of amateur orchestral society (16.16) ext. and int. of St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall (17.01) aerial shots of Kirkwall (17.19) ecs (17.38)