The second Orkney Viking Week is going ahead 9th – 19th September 2021. It will be a blended online and face-to-face outdoor festival in collaboration with Orkney Archaeology Society. Face-to-face events will be kept within current Covid restrictions. If you have an event that you want included on the programme, email


More events will be added when they are confirmed

Falconry in the Viking Age

 Once again, Skaill House Falconry, Sandwick, are putting on Viking themed falconry for Orkney Viking Week. See their website for times and tickets.

Meet Odin the eagle owl and the other birds of prey at Skaill House, and learn about how the Vikings used trained birds for hunting. The display will consist of a talk about the folklore involving owl, hawks and falcons. A demonstration of how the Norsemen used hawks and falcons to hunt in their every day life as Falconry is mentioned in the Sagas numerous times. Includes owl handling.

For more details and booking, see Skaill House Falconry’s web page.

Viking sheep and wool

Viking sheep and wool with Jane Cooper, Orkney Boreray

More info, times and booking on Orkney Boreray’s website

As part of Orkney Viking Week, Orkney Boreray invites you to visit our flock of Boreray sheep in West Mainland.  These little short-tailed sheep were vital for Viking life and exploration. For the Vikings, the Short-Tailed sheep were extremely important.  Their unique double coated fleece had properties essential for the sails that powered their boats and longships, as well as providing clothing that could withstand the wet and cold.  Work reproducing woollen sails has shown other qualities of the wool of these tough little sheep that made it possible to have woollen sails.  Calculations of the work involved in making these sails and the number of sheep required give insights into Viking life.

Lint & Yarn, living history event

Living history event with Orkney Time Travel.

Sunday, 12th September, 2 pm

Hands-on workshop on how to make linen textiles from 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. In this event, you will try your hand at some of the process required to transform flax plants into linen. You will learn about how Norse people used flax and linen and hear some of the stories they told. There will also be ballad singing and you will learn a traditional Orkney toast mentioning linen and flax.

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

Colleen Batey: Tour of The Earl's Bu, Orphir

Tour of the Earl’s Bu and Round Kirk site with archaeologist Dr Colleen Batey.

Colleen Batey is an archaeologist and author of numerous works on the Viking Age, including Vikings in Scotland: An Archaeological Survey. She has excavated major Viking Age sites both in Orkney and elsewhere, such as Brough of Birsay and Birsay Village, Earl’s Bu Orphir, Westness Rousay, Jarlshof in Shetland,  Freswick Links in Caithness, and Hofstađir in Iceland.

On this tour, you will get a chance to hear first hand from Colleen Batey about her excavations at The Bu in Orphir, site of the Earl’s hall and Round Kirk, with associated buildings and mill.

Birsay whalebone and Brough of Birsay

Chris Morris: Tour of Birsay Bay

Tour of Norse Birsay with archaeologist Chris Morris.

Chris Morris is Emeritus Professor of Archaeology at Glasgow University. Morris excavated for many years at Birsay Bay, and the last volume of a three-volume set presenting results from his work has just come out:

The Birsay Bay Project Volume 3: The Brough of Birsay, Orkney: Investigations 1954-2014

This tour will give you a chance to see the site and hear about it from Chris Morris first hand.

Sunshine on the nave of St Magnus Cathedral, Orkney

Viking walking tour of Kirkwall

Viking themed walking tour of Kirkwall with Dr Ragnhild Ljosland (Orkney Time Travel).

Duration: c. 1 hour

Starts from Kirkwall VisitScotland iCentre (Tourist information).

A walking tour of Kirkwall, from its beginnings as a Viking harbour to a Norse medieval trading town and capital of Orkney. See the Viking harbour, follow the old shoreline where Norse traders would have operated, hear the dramatic story of Rognvald Brusason the dashing young Earl of Orkney and founder of Kirkwall as the Orkney capital and his deadly enemy Thorfinn the Mighty, visit the old “thing” assembly site, and view the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral, home to Orkney’s Norse patron saint (outside view only). Finally, find out how Kirkwall played a part in Norway’s losing control over the Western Isles, and how Orkney itself finally ceased being part of Norway and became part of Scotland.

Online programme

Prof Judith Jesch: Telling the Orkney Story - Reflections on Orkneyinga Saga

Thursday 9th September, 7 pm British Summer Time.

Judith Jesch is Professor of Viking Studies, Nottingham University, specialising in Old Norse language and literature, runology, and interdisciplinary Viking Studies.

In this online lecture, she will share her recent research on Orkneyinga Saga.

Martyrdom of St Magnus, re-enacted, April 2017, Egilsay, Orkney, for Magnus 900.

Nikolaus Frenzel: Legal customs in Orkneyinga Saga

Sunday 12th September, 7 pm British Summer Time.

Nikolaus Frenzel completed his Master’s degree in Viking Studies at Nottingham University in 2020, with a research project looking at Orkneyinga Saga and what it can reveal about legal structures and procedures among the Norse. In this talk, he will share some of his findings.

What makes an outlaw and how were outlaws treated?

What constitutes a transgression of the norm?

What are the consequences of norm transgressions for the offender and their family in Norse society?

Meet the author: Lexie Conyngham, Orkneyinga Murders

Meet the author of the Orkneyinga Murders book series!

Date & time to be confirmed

Tomb for an Eagle:

A man lies under the tawny earth, hands still clutching the knife that killed him.
Thorfinn Sigurdarson, Earl of all Orkney and Caithness, has made a mistake, and he won’t let himself forget it.

Now rumours have started in the Norse lands that he might be getting a second chance – but should he take it, when it means that dead men are walking?

A Wolf at the Gate

Ketil had not intended to return to Orkney, but when you work for Thorfinn Sigurdarson, you obey orders. Thorfinn wants him back to help with a visiting Abbot from Saxony, escorted by an old colleague of Ketil’s. Then people who know the Abbot start dying, and Ketil must once again work with his friend Sigrid to find out why – and to face dark memories from his own past.

Pilgrimage St Magnus Way: Time to think on a rainy day in April.

Annie Thuesen: Viking tourism in Orkney

Friday 10th September, 7 pm

Annie Thuesen is a PhD candidate with the University of the Highlands and Islands Institute for Northern Studies.

In this online talk, she will share her research into Orkney’s potential for tourism to the lesser visited Viking/Norse sites.