The third Orkney Viking Week is going ahead 8th – 18th September 2022, with a prelude on the 3rd. It will be a blended online and face-to-face outdoor festival, jointly organised by Orkney Time Travel and Orkney Archaeology Society. If you have an event that you want us to consider including on the programme, email


Events during Orkney International Science Festival

Site visit: Where the Earls feasted

(Orkney International Science Festival event)

Saturday 3rd September, 10:30 – 12:30

A tour of the Earl’s Bu site in Orphir, from the Round Church to the site of a horizontal mill, accompanied by archaeologist Dr Colleen Batey and rounded off by a brown bag lunch of Orkney fare, with the kind of items that might have been enjoyed by the Earls themselves!

Book via Orkney International Science Festival

The Round Kirk, Orphir. 12th Century. Believed to have been commissioned by Earl Hakon Palsson, killer of St Magnus, after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
The Round Kirk, Orphir. 12th Century. Believed to have been commissioned by Earl Hakon Palsson, killer of St Magnus, after a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Workshop: Lint & Yarn

Saturday 3rd September, 2 – 5 pm

Join Dr Ragnhild Ljosland and Mark Cook for a hands-on workshop on how to work flax. Textile production was a major part of Viking women’s daily responsibilities. Flax (known locally as lint) was grown for linen production used in finer textiles. Flax fibres can also be used in production of rope and string. In this event, you will try your hand at some of the processes required to transform flax plants into workable fibres, and make a cord. You will learn about how Norse people used flax and linen and hear some of the stories they told. Together we will learn a traditional Orkney toast mentioning linen and flax.

It’s an outdoor venue (Mark Cook’s garden), so you need to dress appropriately. The gathering-point is the car park at Stenness school where Mark will collect you at 2 pm prompt and take you there.

Book via Orkney International Science Festival

From Lint & Yarn workshop 2021

Viking Feast on the Beach

Friday 9th September, 7 pm – 9 pm, Scapa Beach

£20 adults, children under 12 free

Book your ticket on Eventbrite

Take part in a Viking feast on the fabulous sandy beach of Scapa just 2 miles south of Kirkwall. Food, storytelling, crafts, games, fun.

About this event

Join Orkney Time Travel for a Viking Feast on the Beach at the fabulous sandy beach of Scapa just outside of Kirkwall. Living history guided tour with historical food, storytelling and activities around the campfire.

There will be a warm basic meal. Together, we cook over open fire and eat the Viking way. And drink from a drinking horn, naturally. You will also get the opportunity to bake your own Viking bread and make your own butter to go with it.

When arriving at Scapa you will be met by a Viking expert and storyteller, and an outdoor cook and craftsman, both in costume, who together give insight into everyday life in Viking Orkney. Around the campfire you will enjoy storytelling, play a Viking game, and learn Viking craft skills.

Practical information

We meet at the car park by the beach toilets at Scapa.

Booking is essential to allow us to bring the right amount of food. Please book at least 24 hours in advance. The earlier you book, the easier you make it for us – thank you!

Health and safety information

We follow food hygiene standards and regulations and are food hygiene certified.

The meal consists of a soup or stew containing meat or chicken and vegetables, with bread and butter. The recipe used may vary on different dates. You can request a vegetarian/vegan and/or gluten free option.

We are accredited by the Scottish Tourist Guides Association and covered by their insurance.

Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult, who is responsible for them at all times, as there will be open fire and water nearby.

Strictly no dogs allowed.

The Viking Feast on the Beach goes ahead in all weather except if the Met Office has issued a weather warning. We are, after all, Vikings. It is important for your own comfort to come dressed for the weather on the day, including warm and waterproof clothing.

Theme: Runes

Medieval Rune Magic

Online talk via Zoom

Thursday 8th September, 7 pm

Join Dr Ragnhild Ljosland for this online talk on rune magic. How was runic writing used as part of practices aiming to effectuate magic in the Middle Ages? Do we have any examples of medieval rune magic from Orkney?

Register for free on Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link.

Although this talk is free, we would be grateful for a small donation to Orkney Archaeology Society.

Rune Round

Sunday 11th September – bring your own car

This is an event for ‘runatics’ who love runic inscriptions! Guided tour of Orkney’s runic inscriptions with Dr Ragnhild Ljosland, author of The Orkney Book of Runes. With an element of scavenger hunt, so bring your own car. You can choose to do morning, afternoon, or both.

The event is free of charge, though donations to Orkney Archaeology Society are welcomed. There is no need to book except you are required to book your own entry to Maeshowe.

9.30: Meet at Newark car park, Deerness (take a right turn by Deerness shop and follow the road down to the shore). After a tour of Newark, we drive together past Quoys where a runic lead amulet was found, and onwards to the Gloup car park. From there, we walk to the viewpoint where we can see across to the Brough of Deerness clifftop settlement where another runic metal amulet was found.

11.30: Meet in the Orkney Museum, Kirkwall. Guided tour of the runic inscriptions exhibited in the Norse gallery.

12.30 – 13.30: Free time in Kirkwall to have your own lunch.

Scavenger hunt!

1)  What do the runes on Sheila Fleet’s logo say? Hint: You can find them on the shop door in Kirkwall, or on the door of the larger shop/cafe in Tankerness.

2) Who can find some modern runes in Unstan Cairn and photograph them?

14.30: Meet at Point of Buckquoy car park, where winners of the Scavenger Hunt will be pronounced. From there, we head across the causeway to the Brough of Birsay. (Low tide at 15:54)

15.40: Meet at Maeshowe visitor centre for the 4 pm tour. With its 33 inscriptions, Maeshowe holds the largest assemblage of runes outside of Scandinavia. Guided by Historic Environment Scotland. Ragnhild Ljosland will be on hand to answer additional questions about the inscriptions. NB – You are responsible for booking your own entry to Maeshowe. Please book directly with Historic Environment Scotland for the 4 pm tour. (£9.50 per adult)

The Rune Round finishes at 17.00 after the Maeshowe tour.

Runestone from Breckness, near Stromness, Orkney
Runestone from Breckness, near Stromness, Orkney

Day of Grain

Sunday 18th September

Cost: £5 plus buy your own lunch and book your own brewery tour ticket (£11).

Book on Eventbrite

NB remember to book your brewery tour (2.15 pm) as well, directly with Orkney Brewery

A day out on the theme of grain, milling, bread, and brewing. Bring your own car. 

Map of where to meet

10 am: Meet at Orkneyinga Saga Centre car park. Guided tour of the Earl’s Bu and Round Kirk where we will see the remains of a Norse mill, followed by campfire on the beach where we bake ‘Birka Bread’ and ‘Leiv’ and make our own butter to go with it. Storytelling around the fire: ‘The Magical Millstone’ and ‘The Mead of Poetry’.

12 noon: Meet at the Clickmill near Dounby. We see a working clickmill similar to those used by the Norse people.

1 pm: Lunch at The Orkney Brewery. You are responsible for buying your own lunch. We will reserve a table. The Orkney Brewery is a modern micro brewery producing beers such as ‘Skull Splitter’, ‘Dragon Head’ and ‘Raven Ale’.

2.15 pm: Tour of The Orkney Brewery. You are responsible for booking yourself onto the brewery tour if you wish to take part in this. (£11 per adult) Those who do not wish to go on the tour have the option to enjoy dessert/coffee in the cafe meanwhile.

3.30 / 4.00 pm: Tour of Barony Mill, Birsay. This is a working watermill which produces Bere Meal, from an ancient type of barley. The mill can take 8 adults at a time, so we will spread ourselves over two slots. The tour takes half an hour and costs £5 per adult, which is included in the Day of Grain ticket. While waiting our turn we can see St Magnus’s Well nearby.

Barony Mill, Birsay

Viking Sheep Experience with Orkney Boreray

By Jane Cooper

As part of Orkney Viking Week we invite you to visit our flock of Boreray sheep in West Mainland.

Viking Sheep Experience, Talk, Demonstration and Boreray products for sale.The visits will last at least 1 hour and we normally accommodate up to 12 people to give you the best experience.The visits must be pre-booked.

We don’t make a charge for the visits but welcome any donations you may like to give.

If demand is greater than the number of places available between the listed days below, we may be able to add visits on other days between 8 and 18 September.

Sat 10 September 10.30 am

Tue 13 September 10.30 am

Thu 15 September 2.30 pm

Sat 17 September 2.30 pm

Sun18 September 10.30 am

More info and directions to the farm

To book, phone 01856 761331

Scandinavian Scotland: A Changing Picture

Dr Colleen Batey

Online talk

Monday 12th September, 7 pm

Register on Eventbrite to receive a Zoom link

In recent years our understanding of Scandinavian Scotland has been greatly expanded by new discoveries. New settlements, new graves and even new areas of presence within areas of Scotland have all changed our perspective . This session will consider aspects of this evidence and show how it changes understanding of the region in general. From the spectacular – such as the Galloway hoard from  SW Scotland – to the seemingly more mundane, such as animal bones, all aspects of the evidence have much to offer this developing storyline.