I have been involved in Orkney tourism for over 25 years – I managed the north islands archaeological and historic sites for Historic Environment Scotland, including Skara Brae, Maeshowe, The Ring of Brodgar, The Stones of Stenness, The Broch of Gurness, The Bishops and Earls Palaces, The Brough of Birsay and The Martello Tower in Hoy.
I was also responsible for the Historic Scotland sites on Barra, The Outer Hebrides and Shetland. These included Kishimul castle, The Stones of Callanish, The Black House and Jarlshof Viking site. In this role I was responsible for all visitor services, the recruitment and training of staff including tour guide training at all my sites.
I am a qualified and registered World Host Customer Service trainer and have trained staff from businesses across Orkney equipping them to deliver excellent customer service.
As an oral historian I spent 10 years working to establish The Orkney Sound Archive, the first of its kind in Scotland. The story of this achievement is told The Orkney Sound Archive Project published by The Scottish Council for Educational Technology and in an article I wrote entitled The Orkney Sound Archive : building Scotland’s first local oral history collection published in The New Orkney Antiquarian Journal, Volume 5. by The Orkney Heritage Society. In my role as Sound Archivist I collected many stories of Orkney’s past and I will enjoy sharing this knowledge and experience with you when we meet!
Recently I have published a full length book, ‘North Ronaldsay Voices’, and it is an oral history of Orkney’s most remote island. (The Orcadian (Kirkwall Press, 2020, 167 pages, £23.75).
For the past 3 years I have produced and presented a series of radio programmes entitled The Wey Hid Wis for BBC Radio Orkney. These tell the story of a past way of life in these islands and celebrate our unique Orkney island culture and heritage. They can be can be accessed online by visiting www.mixcloud.com/radioorkney/the-wey-hid-wis. My research using the stories of the past and oral history continues and at present I am working on the the social and economic history of one of Orkney’s most remote islands, North Ronaldsay. Other areas of research include Women’s work in Orkney which was the subject of a television programme in the Time Quines series filmed by Caledonia TV Productions and shown on STV in 1992.
I studied Art History for my Honours degree and I have worked in the Arts in Orkney since I graduated. I curated a series of exhibitions for The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, the most notable being a celebration of 5000 Years of Orkney Art, the accompanying catalogue for the exhibition contains a foreword by the eminent archaeologist Lord Colin Renfrew. I contributed to the international St Magnus Festival by compiling literary exhibitions on ; Five Orkney Writers : Eric Linklater, Edwin Muir, Ernest Marwick, Robert Rendall and George Mackay Brown, Eric Linklater’s Art Collection and The Story of Edwin Muir. I was the Curator of the Pier Arts Centre for two years and I served on the funding body for the arts in Scotland, the Arts Council ( now Creative Scotland) for six years.
Currently I am a Board member of The Orkney Heritage Society, The Orkney Local Access Forum and am a Director and past Chair of The Orkney Tourism Group.