One of the real attractions of the spring months in Orkney is the chance to get outside and experience the wonderful range of wildlife that can be seen across the islands - from seabirds to seals, with the possibility of puffins and an orca sighting or two.
The Orkney Nature Festival offers an excellent opportunity to take it all in with a packed programme of activities, often with expert guides on hand to help you point your binoculars in the right direction.
Now in its tenth year, the festival returned to the local events calendar in 2022 after a covid-enforced break. Although the traditional curtain-raiser, the NorthLink Ferries Nature Cruise, has had to be cancelled this year, there is a lot more to come during the week-long festival.
There are scheduled events across Orkney, from North Ronaldsay to South Ronaldsay, with trips to islands including Egilsay, Shapinsay and Wyre featured. Other highlights include the popular snorkelling safari at the Churchill Barriers, offering the chance to see some of the wildlife underneath Orkney’s waves.
Birdwatching for Beginners and Guide in a Hide events give budding ornithologists the opportunity to learn from local experts when it comes to catching a glimpse of the beautiful birdlife available to see here. There’s a guided bike ride and nature walk at Brodgar and a fascinating shoreline ramble in Stromness to enjoy, and young folk will love the return of the rockpooling session at the Brough of Birsay.
There are Shorewatch events in the company of Whale and Dolphin Conservation experts, and a drop-in seabird-watching session at Marwick Head. To top it all off, there are also cinema showings, nature and wildlife-inspired art classes and fascinating talks planned.
Since the Orkney Nature Festival began in 2013, thousands of people have enjoyed over 200 different events across the islands. The festival is coordinated by the local RSPB Scotland team alongside local groups, businesses, and individuals. Stewart Bain, RSPB Scotland’s Communications & Events Officer in Orkney, said: “Everyone involved in organising the 2022 Orkney Nature Festival was delighted with the response we had, and we cannot wait to get going again this year.”