Orkneyology Podcast Show Notes

Orkneyology Podcast - Ower wi' the moon, Orkneyology.com, Tom and Rhonda Muir, Orkney Islands, Scotland


Season 1 Ep. 1: 
"Ower wi' the moon"
~ Mulled wine and introductions ~

Tom and Rhonda Muir of Scotland's Orkney Islands - the Orkneyology Podcast


In this first episode of the Orkneyology Podcast (with the encouragement of some steaming mulled wine for Rhonda's sake) we introduce ourselves:

Tom Muir - Orcadian traditional storyteller, historian, author and publisher; and Rhonda Muir - an American expat who moved to the Orkney Islands to marry the love of her life (yes, Tom), writer, roamer in the wilderness of Orkney and publisher.

We tell the story of our delighted surprise in finding each other from across the Atlantic later in life, and how we eventually came to build a life together in Scotland's Orkney Islands.

We talk a bit about our website, Orkneyology.com, which explores Orkney life, travel, history, stories and archaeology. And we reveal a little about our plans for the Orkneyology Podcast, where we will be chatting with some fascinating folk in Orkney and elsewhere.

Mentioned in the this episode:

Rhonda's Moving to Orkney ebook

You can also listen on Youtube, with a few photos for context.

Check the platform where you normally listen to podcasts if you like. We're on Spotify and a few others, and we're working on adding more.

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Season 1 Ep. 2: 
"The Magic of Stories"
~ Orkney and Beyond ~

Full moon and storytelling on the Orkneyology Podcast


Well, it's a full moon again and time for another cozy moonlit blether coming to you from the Orkney Islands.

This month, we talk about:

  • the difficulties of childhood dyslexia (before there was a name for it)
  • beloved childhood storybooks that help overcome traumatic school years
  • stumbling into storytelling and overcoming fear (terror, really) of public speaking
  • how the Orkney Storytelling Festival first began
  • warm reminiscenses involving some of the amazing storytellers and other people that Tom met through international storytelling opportuities (Lawrence Tulloch from Shetland, Bob Pegg, Donald Smith, David Campbell, Hjörleifur Helgi Stefánsson, Joseph Naytowhow, Stanley Robertson, Duncan Williamson ... and many more beloved friends)
  • advice for newer storytellers
  • Tom tells a local Orkney story that took place in a mound site he once dug as an archaeologist!

Other places to listen:

You can also listen on Youtube, with a few photos for context.

Check the platform where you normally listen to podcasts if you like. We're on Spotify and a few others, and we're working on adding more.

Drop by on the next full moon ...

We'll be having a blether with award-winning Scottish bothy ballad singer, Scott Gardiner.

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Season 1 Ep. 3: 
"A Blether with Bothy Ballad Singer Scott Gardiner"
~ Scottish bothy ballads; traditional music; the Orkney Folk Festival and more! ~

Traditional bothy ballad singer Scott Gardiner talks with Tom and Rhonda Muir on the Orkneyology Podcast


Tonight we have a moonlit chat with our very dear friend, Scott Gardiner. Tom and Scott have a lovely, wandering blether across the bothy ballad and traditional Scottish song scene, touching on:

  • the history of this unique music and how it stands today
  • the culture and lifestyle that created the bothy ballads
  •  a bit about the bothy system in the Orkney Islands 
  • reminisce about "Bothy Nichts", an old Scottish bothy songs television show 
  • reminiscences aboyt the sad passing of many of the great old singers and songwriters they both admire, including recently Orkney's own Billy Jolly
  • Scott tells of some of the singers who inspired him and he even favors us with a few of his favorite bothy ballad songs, including one of his own!


In this episode, we're treated to these traditional songs:

  • Guise o' Tough (traditional), 1890s
  • Generations of Change, by Matt Armour, 1975
  • Princie and Jean, by George Corrigall, 1959
  • ... ending with a tongue-in-cheek song that Scott wrote for the Out of Doors Radio Scotland programme!


So pull up a chair, pour yourself a dram and settle in for a good, old-fashioned blether among friends.


Drop by on the NEXT full moon ...

Tom will tell us a bit about unique aspects of Scottish coastal culture and the coastal stories of Scotland. And he'll tell a few tales from his upcoming book with History Press, Scottish Folk Tales of Coast and Sea, coming out in April 2024.

Other ways to listen:

You can also listen on Youtube, with a few photos for context.

Check the platform where you normally listen to podcasts if you like. We're on Spotify and a few others, and we're working on adding more.

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Season 1 Ep. 4: 
" Scottish Folk Tales of Coast and Sea "
~ When we pose the burning question, "Are you a bookworm or a bookdragon?" ~

book-Toms-Coast-folktales-shortened


Tonight Tom and Rhonda Muir have a moonlit blether from their home in Scotland's Orkney Islands inspired by the publication of Tom's latest collection of folk tales: Scottish Folk Tales of Coast and Sea.

We wax lyrical about:

  • life lessons embedded in all good stories
  • Orkney and Shetland: Vikings at a cultural crossroads
  • tips for storytellers and other creatives on finding old folktales, and how to make them your own
  • respecting the tales, and keeping the meaning true
  • the devil as trickster
  • Travellers' stories and Tom's memories of "the tinklers"
  • of mermaids and selkies
  • stories of the perils of the sea
  • Rhonda's favorite movie, "I know Where I'm Going"
  • and Tom tells a really fun story from the book at the end! 


So pull up a chair, pour yourself a dram and settle in for a good, old-fashioned blether among friends.


Drop by on the NEXT full moon ...

We'll be having a blether with Scottish storyteller, researcher, author of Angus Folk Tales and our dear friend, Dr Erin Farley of Dundee.

Other ways to listen:

You can also listen on Youtube, with a few photos for context.

Check the platform where you normally listen to podcasts if you like. We're on Spotify and a few others, and we're working on adding more.

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Season 1 Ep. 5: 
"Angus Folk Tales and Big Big Big Worms!"
~ Join us to find out why Erin loves giant worms of destruction ~

Dr Erin Farley of Dundee, Scotland, author of Angus Folktales speaks to Tom and Rhonda Muir on the Orkneyology Podcast


Tonight, Tom and Rhonda talk with a favorite moonlight visitor - our very dear friend, author, researcher and storyteller Dr Erin Farley of Dundee.

Those who love stories and Scotland will find much to chew on in tonight's visit, among these:

  • Erin's strange and abiding passion for worms: especially giant worms causing creation and destruction; the The Muckle Mester Stoorworm; Jörmungandr the world serpent, Ragnarök ... and a bonus - a charm against the worm in your tooth (toothache)!
  • Looking at the landscape from a seafaring position
  • Researching and preserving oral history in Scotland
  • Stories of the old lighthouse keepers, including our mutual friend, Lawrence Tulloch of Shetland
  • The Grey (bearded) Lady; and deep storytelling
  • Sir Walter Scott in Orkney
  • Acedemic writing as energy vampire vs. stories of the people
  • Dundee roots: slavery; sufferagettes; carving out a place through poetry; William McGonagall; and stories around the Tay Bridge disaster
  • Storytelling and the pressure to achieve; the rewards of taking things slowly
  • A telling of the story of Jockie Barefoot from Erin's book, Angus Folktales - a tragic Angus tale of an evil landlord
  • The Twins of Edzel as performed by Tania Allan - A BSL interpretation of a Scottish folklore tale, inspired by ‘Angus Folk Tales’ by Erin Farley. The Twins of Edzell is the story of a dedicated mother of deaf twin brothers and the hearing world that is unable to accept them. Filmed on location at Balvaird Castle, Perthshire.

So come thee wiz, pour yourself a dram and settle in for a good old-fashioned blether among friends.


Drop by on the NEXT full moon ...

When, truthfully, we don't yet know who we'll be talking with, as Tom's been under the weather for a while. But that it will be someone interesting you can be sure!

Other ways to listen:

You can also listen on Youtube, with a few photos for context.

Check the platform where you normally listen to podcasts if you like. We're on Spotify and a few others, and we're working on adding more.

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You might be interested in these pages too!

  • Books by Tom Muir - Orcadian Folklorist, Storyteller and Historian

    Books by Tom Muir - The Orcadian storyteller and folklorist tells traditional tales from his native Orkney Islands. His humorous delight comes through the stories. Tom wears another hat, as well - that of historian. Visit Orkneyology.com to discover Tom's world of stories.

  • Orkney Storytelling Lives Again

    Not that long ago, traditional Orkney storytelling was breathing its last. Today, an acclaimed "little festival with a big heart" is going strong, welcoming storytellers from all over the globe. How did the storytelling revival begin, and how can you take part?

  • Orkney Folklore Trail - Explore Orkney Through Legend, Myth, Folklore

    Download our free, self-guided Orkney Folklore Trail. Drive Orkney's beautiful west coast with stories by native Orcadian storyteller and folklorist, Tom Muir.

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