Orkney is getting into the festive spirit with the annual tree lighting season starting this week.
Christmas trees from Norway arrived at Hatston Pier on Monday (25 Nov) – a traditional gift at this time of the year.
The trees that will stand inside and outside the St Magnus Cathedral are from Grimstad and Hordaland respectively.
This year, the delivery also included a second tree from Grimstad for the new Balfour Hospital.
“For more than 30 years the generosity of our Norwegian friends across the North Sea has underlined the longstanding links between their country and our islands,” said Orkney Islands Council Convener Harvey Johnston.
“It was a great honour to be invited recently to cut down the tree that will grace the interior of the cathedral. It was also a rare opportunity for me to thank in person those involved in sending the trees we so look forward to seeing at this time of the year. The importance people in Norway place on their historic and cultural links with Orkney was all too apparent throughout my visit.”
The trees were delivered initially to Aberdeen, courtesy of the Norwegians, with transport to Kirkwall courtesy of Serco Northlink Ferries and Northwards.
The Cathedral Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Saturday 30 November from 16:30 onwards and will include a performance by Kirkwall City Pipe Band.
Three ambassadors will be present for the occasion – Wegger Strømmen, Ambassador of Norway to the UK, Torbjörn Sohlström, Ambassador of Sweden to the UK, and Stefan Haukur Johannesson, Ambassador of Iceland to the UK.
Taking part from Hordaland will be Tor André Ljosland, leader of the Committee for Culture , Sports and Regional Development, Ronny Skaar, head of development, Department for Culture and Sports, and musicians Alexander Aga Røynstrand and Maria Skjeldrum Toppe. Both are fiddle players and will be visiting local schools this week.
Six guests will be present from Grimstad - Per Kristian Finstad, chair of Fjære Historielag, Ove Bach, retired director of parks with Grimstad Kommune, and Bjørn and Reidun Bergshaven and Erling and Aslaug Vik, members of Fjaere Historielag.
Tree lighting ceremonies take place on:
Wednesday 27 November
- Stromness Town House: 18:00.
Friday 29 November
- Cromarty Square, St Margaret’s Hope: 18:30.
Saturday 30 November
- St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall: from 16:30.
- Community Garden, Kalisgarth Care Centre, Westray: 19:00.
Sunday 1 December
- Orphir Community School: 16:00.
Wednesday 4 December
- Stenness Community School car park: 18:30.
Friday 6 December
- Across from Dounby Co-op: 18:30.
- Firth Car Park, Finstown: 18:30.
- Shapinsay School: 19:00
Saturday 7 December
- Old Burray School corner: 17:30.
- Holm Community Hall, St Mary’s: 18:30.
- Sanday Community School: 18:30.
- Lower car park, Burnside, Flotta: 19:00.
Monday 9 December
- Rousay Heritage Centre: 18:00.