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.

Freebie Weekend

Historic Scotland’s annual free weekend will take place on April 12 and 13 – allowing visitors access to some of Orkney’s best-known historic sites completely free of charge.

Over the weekend, admission charges will be dropped at the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palaces, the Broch of Gurness, Hackness Battery, Maeshowe and Skara Brae.

Visitors will have the opportunity to sign-up for annual membership for Historic Scotland over the weekend, with a special offer of three months free.

Tesco's are coming

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco last week extended its retail dominance to every corner of Scotland.

The company now has a store in every Scottish postcode area. The firm has just snapped up properties in the last Tesco-free' areas with the purchase of six stores from rival company Somerfield.

It means Tesco will now have a presence in Paisley and Wester Ross and also Orkney, The Shetland Isles, and Lewis, despite campaigns to block the store chain moving to the islands.

The supermarket giant said 470 jobs at the six stores would be safeguarded and confirmed there would be further investment and jobs in each store. It would not reveal what it had paid for the Somerfield stores.