Orkney: When the Boat Comes In

Orkney: When the Boat Comes In


The rain is pounding and the mist has settled, but the people of Orkney must radiate sunshine for the thousands of cruise passengers about to disembark a tower-block-sized ship.

This breezy little film shows how the tiny town of Kirkwall does a roaring trade as huge numbers of mainly American tourists flock to spend their money on all things tartan. The cruise ships are massive moneyspinners for the community. Although not for the food retailers; most visitors return to the ship for their inclusive-package lunch.

But it’s not just big spenders who flash their money. Cruise-liner crew crowd into Orkney’s charity shops to buy cheap bedding and – to keep out the cold – body warmers.


The small island chain off the north-eastern tip of Scotland will be visited by more than 120,000 passengers from cruise liners, and on its busiest days the capital Kirkwall will see its population of 7,000 almost double. As part of the Our Lives strand, this documentary focuses on the impact of these tourists on the lives of Orcadians, with their arrival bringing much-needed revenue but also a growing concern about the environmental impact and for Orkney's world famous Neolithic sites, including Skara Brae.

Cast & Crew

Director Alison Pinkney
Editor Bill Gill
Executive Producer David Strachan
Executive Producer David Harron