The Orkney Nature Festival is an annual celebration of all the nature and wildlife found across the islands. From photography workshops to nature cruises, the event gives both visitors and locals the chance to experience Orkney's wild side at its very best.

Launched in 2013, the Orkney Nature Festival has given thousands of people the opportunity to enjoy, and be inspired by, the magnificent Orcadian wildlife. It's run by the local RSPB Scotland team on behalf of partners around Orkney, including businesses, community groups and individual volunteers, with everyone coming together to showcase the natural attractions of the islands.

The programme for the 2022 Orkney Nature Festival has been announced, with four days of activities taking place across the islands from Thursday 19 – Sunday 22 May 2022.

RSPB Scotland coordinates the festival, which began in 2013, alongside Orkney Field Club, Historic Environment Scotland, and the Orkney Native Wildlife Project. After two years without the Orkney Nature Festival due to COVID-19, the organisers are delighted with the response from local groups, businesses, and individuals, all eager to get involved in celebrating Orkney’s unique wildlife and natural heritage. A packed programme sees events taking place on islands from Westray to South Ronaldsay, covering everything from snorkelling to storytelling, rockpooling to rambling.

Stewart Bain, RSPB Scotland’s Communications & Events Officer in Orkney, said: “I’m really pleased the festival programme has now gone live. There is a real variety on offer this year, and there are several groups doing a nature festival event for the first time. It is really encouraging to see the continued support for providing locals and visitors opportunities to connect with nature in Orkney.”

Amongst the highlights this year are a trip to Graemsay with Orkney Native Wildlife Project on Thursday 19, while on Saturday 21 St Magnus Way are offering a guided walk in Egilsay. Participants can gain a Stewards of the Sea certificate during a short course with Orkney Marine Mammal Research Initiative, or if land mammals are more your thing, you can find out all about the Orkney vole with an introduction to wildlife recording in Rousay. If you know your Taylor Swift from your Nick Drake, you might like to take part in the RSPB’s Big Bird Quiz at The Sound Archive, and bairns can get involved with the Peedie Pals nature hunt & photo competition.

Stewart said: “The 2022 Orkney Nature Festival has something for all ages and abilities. There are lots of introductory events for people wanting to become more familiar with the nature we are so lucky to be surrounded by in Orkney. COVID-19 means a couple regular festival fixtures are absent from the programme, but we have a really strong line-up this year and will be announcing details of two additional special online events soon. The steering group is also thinking of how to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Orkney Nature festival in 2023.”