• View over Scapa Flow - image by Colin Keldie

Scapa Flow to take centre stage

The scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow one hundred years ago will be marked across Orkney in the coming weeks.

Scapa Flow is set to be at the centre of a series of special events later this month, as the Scapa 100 programme is officially launched.

It’s all focused on marking the centenary of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow at the end of the First World War. On June 21 1919, 74 German ships sat interned in Orkney’s great natural harbour under the terms of the Armistice agreement.

But the calm of a summer’s day in the islands was shattered when the order was given to scuttle the fleet to prevent them falling into the hands of the Allies. Within minutes, water flooded into the German vessels, eventually sending fifty to the seabed of Scapa Flow.

After an incredible salvage operation, only seven ships remain beneath the waves, attracting divers to what is seen as the finest wreck diving location in the world.

Scapa 100 has been organised as part of the wider programme marking the centenary of the First World War. It’s hoped the events will highlight the scuttling itself, and look at the impact and legacy it has had on Orkney.

The schedule gets underway on June 15 with the opening of an exhibition in the Northlight Gallery in Stromness, followed by a showing of 1986 documentary on the scuttling, ‘With All Flags Flying’ in Stromness Town Hall.

Other events planned for the coming days include ‘Beneath the Flow’, an original theatre piece by the St Magnus Players, performances from German and Royal Navy musicians as well as a variety of talks and exhibitions. There will be a special service of commemoration over one of the German wrecks in Scapa Flow, and at the Lyness Naval Cemetery in Hoy too.

The scuttling will also form part of the St Magnus International Festival this year, with the annual Johnsmas Foy on June 21 looking back at the fateful events one hundred years ago.

You can find out more about the programme via our events page, with full details also available on the Orkney Islands Council website. Keep up to date on the Scapa 100 Facebook page too.

The Digital Orkney project has been part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014-2020

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