Yuri Blast Off

One of Scotland's most famous Neolithic sites - Skara Brae in Orkney - has commemorated a defining moment in the space race.

The pathway to the prehistoric village is lined with carved stones that form a time trail of major events in history.

A new stone was unveiled on Saturday, marking the anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin orbiting the Earth on 12 April, 1961.

Despite bad weather, a number of locals turned out for the event.

Historic Scotland created the pathway to emphasise changes which have taken place since the settlement was inhabited 5,000 years ago.

Doreen Grove, Historic Scotland's head of access and understanding, said: "Uri Gagarin's mission was a defining moment in human history.

"At Historic Scotland we are delighted to commemorate an event of such importance by including it in the Skara Brae timeline."

The idea for the new stone was suggested by Russian Alexander Korobko, who visited in 2006 in search of his Orcadian roots.

Mr Korobko said: "I am delighted that Historic Scotland is commemorating the space flight of Uri Gagarin at Skara Brae."

Tatiana Danilova, trade marketing executive at VisitScotland for Central and Eastern Europe, said: "Russia is an important emerging tourism market for Scotland, thanks to its growing economy.

"I hope that the stone will be something Russian visitors enjoy seeing and will talk about when they return home."

Fishy Story

TOP rabbis have been flown in from America by a Scots herring company - to make sure their fish is 100 per cent kosher.

The Orkney Herring Company landed a deal to send 54,000 pots of the fish to the States every month.

But to meet strict Jewish religious laws, its preparation must be scrutinised by a leading rabbi - who makes sure it has not touched non-kosher fish such as sharks and eels.

Managing director Ken Sutherland said: "The first two rabbis flew in from New York, the third was from Germany and next week we'll be welcoming one from Glasgow

"It's for the whole Jewish-American market, so we have to cater for the more orthodox branches too. That means we'll be getting visits every few weeks, instead of just at Passover."

Herring is popular in Jewish cuisine, eaten with crackers on Friday evenings or for the Sabbath dinner on Saturdays.

The Stromness-based firm were set up in 1987 and produce sweet-cured herring from a secret family recipe which is hidden in a safe at a secret location.

They have produced herring for the UK market for more than 15 years and have once-a-year checks from a local rabbi.


Orkney-born Raymond Besant has won first prize in a worldwide wildlife film festival, with a documentary charting the life of an Atlantic seabird, the albatross family Fulmar.

Ray worked for three years on his film, The Flying Dustman, which examines the challenges that pollution and climate change are posing for the Fulmar.

Filmed in Aberdeenshire, Orkney, St Kilda and the island of Texel - off the Dutch coast - the documentary won the amateur section of the International Wildlife Film Festival in the USA, and picked up a merit award for scientific content.

As an amateur filmmaker - this is his first film - Raymond said it was difficult to judge how well he was doing. “You’ve only got yourself as a reference. You don’t know if you are really doing the right thing.”

He will attend the awards ceremony in Missoula, Montana, next month.

Skyline Concern

Orkney Skyline Concern have gone online. Visit them to register.

Airport Parking

KIRKWALL Airport now has 40 extra car parking spaces.

Kirkwall Airport manager David Blackman said that he was delighted the first stage of the development is now complete, taking just four weeks of construction.

He added that the next stage, creating an additional 18 or 19 spaces, should be finished in another couple of weeks, depending on the weather.

The car park extension is expected to make a massive difference to the parking situation at the airport, which in the past has seen travellers complaining that spaces were in such short supply that they had to park on grass areas so they would not miss their flights.