Tag Archives: covid

Walking my way through ‘Lockdown’ 

Walking my way through ‘Lockdown’ 

By Daniel   

During this last year of ‘lockdown’ life has changed for everyone, with people working or studying from home, many activities being reduced, key workers being pushed to their limits, and the worry of what could happen. We’ve all had to find our own ways to relax, and cope with the stresses of life in ‘lockdown’.  

‘Lockdown’ has also opened our eyes to the mental health struggles that many people suffer from every day, such as depression and anxiety, and we can all relate to feelings of boredom, lack of focus, and loneliness.  

During lockdown I have managed to find some useful ways to help ‘control’ my negative feelings and try to make the most of ‘lockdown’, including reading all sorts of books, cooking and baking, and gaming (online and traditional).  

My favourite way to feel happier and more relaxed though, was/is to go long walks. I normally go my walks with my mum, or sometimes my dad at the weekend, and we chat about all sorts of things along the way. 

We have been going for walks all through ‘lockdown’, and in all weathers.  In Springtime we often walk in the countryside, and it is always good to see the Spring lambs in the fields. Summer walks are great, though it can get tiring if it is too warm, so I prefer when there is a slight breeze to keep us cool.  

Most of my countryside walks are around Stromness, often up behind my house or ‘round the Loons’.  

One of the downsides of walking in the countryside is when farmers are spreading slurry on the fields, and we have gone home a few times smelling a bit! The good thing about Autumn walks is walking


 through the fallen leaves – although we don’t have a lot of trees in Orkney there are some places with a few, like Hillside Rd in Stromness. In Autumn and Winter, the nights get dark sooner, so most of our walks are in the dark, and I have always loved looking up at the stars. Winter walks can be cold and windy, so I don’t always enjoy them so much, though it is still good to get some fresh air. 

Sometimes the weather in Orkney can suddenly change – one Spring day we set off on a walk, and it was quite mild and sunny, but halfway round, near the Waterworks, suddenly we got snowed on! It was a shock but also quite cool! Snowy winter walks can be fun – there is something satisfying about walking on snow, fresh snow, crunchy snow, slushy snow, all snow! 


Although we often walk in the countryside, we also go walks by the shore, along beaches, or to places like Happy Valley – I love going to the beach to walk on the sand and paddle in the water, especially in summer, and in Happy Valley it is fun to walk along the river or through the trees. Sometimes we just go a walk down the street and back, which I enjoy, but it can get a bit repetitive if you do it too often. At Christmas it was nice to walk along the street at night and see the houses all lit up.

The walks are even more fun when I discover a new route or go somewhere that I have not been for a while. During ‘lockdown’ we found a few new routes, including one from ‘the Loons’ down past the Waterworks and to Outertown – we didn’t know exactly where we would come out, so that made it more exciting. More recently, in the snow, we went this walk again but in the opposite direction.

As well as getting fresh air, brisk walking is also good exercise, and although we walked more on some days than others, I got out most days, and covered at least a few miles on each walk. A brisk walk can wake you up, or a slower walk can also help to relax you, and walking in the fresh air often gives a better night’s sleep too.  

I often see others out enjoying the fresh air too, walking, running, or cycling – I did go cycling at the start of lockdown, and really enjoy that too, but I need a bigger bike as I have outgrown mine. When we are out, we often bump into folk and have a catch-up chat about what we have been doing – we can still feel connected even though we cannot be together.   

After ‘lockdown’ is over, I’m looking forward to visiting my family on the Scottish mainland, and going some walks with them, through the urban areas and different countryside.

COVID – an overview 

COVID – an overview 

By Sarah-Jane 

COVID-19 has been the most talked about subject on the news since March 2020 and since the first lockdown I think we all wanted it to go away.  

Unfortunately, when the COVID cases went down the occasional group of people somewhere in the world would have a party and things would start up again 

Then a few months of staying inside and online school later the Corona virus vaccine was made by a very smart group of scientists, so here we are having people getting the vaccine all over the world.  

Here in Orkney, we are very lucky to not have as many people as some places like London. Having fewer people and sea borders makes it easier to prevent infections from coming into the county, and it is easier to track and contain the virus when there have been cases. 

Coronavirus vaccinations rolled out across Orkney 

Coronavirus vaccinations rolled out across Orkney 

By Lucy K

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, there is a chance things will return to normal soon. The vaccines are meeting their targets and Orkney is ahead of the rest of the United Kingdom, offering vaccines to all people over the age of 34. The number of cases in Orkney remains at 74 and the total deaths is 3.

Many people have been affected by the pandemic with one in eight adults (12.9%) developing moderate to severe depression and children suffering with not being able to socialize and see their friends. Now many pupils have started to return to school. 

People’s jobs have been affected by the pandemic. My dad who is self-employed and is in the fire service “My work was affected because the demand (for scallops) has decreased because of lockdown. The way we work at the fire station has also changed due to covid-19 restrictions.”   

My mum said, “I have got to spend more time with my family in my household, but I have not been able to see my mum and my sister.”

In Orkney they have given out different types of the vaccine. My dad who got the AstraZeneca vaccine on the 18th of February said he had an achy arm for the rest of the day. My mum got the Pfizer vaccine on the 21st of March and she said she had a sore arm which felt heavy and was tired. Many people are reacting differently to the vaccine some are unaffected, but some have been throwing up and not been very well. 

Lots of people have different opinions on the vaccine. Some people have said that they trust the vaccine because it is a tried and tested process which has been used to create other vaccines. Others also trust the doctors and scientists who are help keeping people safe.

Others who disagree with the vaccine have come up with many different conspiracy theories but a lot of people who refuse to get vaccinated say that not enough testing has been done and they think it was rushed through.  

The NHS website reassures people that “the vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).”

“Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.”

If I am offered the vaccine I will definitely accept the offer and go get it because I think, by getting the vaccine, I would be helping others and helping stop this pandemic.

Pfizer or AstraZeneca… Our way out of this pandemic? 

Pfizer or AstraZeneca… Our way out of this pandemic? 

by Olivia

The first vaccine in Orkney was given out on the 9th of December and Orkney has managed to speed along and give the first dose to over 34s who have wished to have the vaccine.  So which vaccine is better?

Dorothy Scott, who is retired, got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine back in February.

“To start with I was unsure about having the vaccine as I felt that the vaccine safety had been rushed through,” she said, “however, I decided to accept the vaccine because I hoped it would give me more freedom.”

“I got my vaccine done at the hospital and the process was very efficient. There were stewards guiding you around so you knew where to enter. I did have to queue for about 45 minutes but I felt that given the circumstances this was acceptable.”

“The vaccine did not hurt at all and I got no side effects whatsoever although the spot where the needle entered my arm was uncomfortable for a few days but that was all.”

“I definitely do feel safer now after getting the first vaccine and I am hopeful that life will slowly return to normal, providing the vaccines are effective against the new variants.”

Pamela Scott, her daughter, got her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week.

“I was slightly hesitant to start with about getting the vaccine however I felt that it was required for my role as a teacher. I wanted to get the AstraZeneca vaccine as I have allergies so I wouldn’t be able to get the Pfizer one. I felt a bit worried about getting the vaccine because every time I turned on the TV it was on the news.”

“My vaccine was given to me at The Pickaquoy Centre and everything was very quick and efficient, all the staff were excellent and it didn’t hurt at all. The day after, I felt like I had the flu. I was bone sore, had chills, a fever, awful headaches, poor appetite, felt nauseous and was absolutely exhausted. I was off work for a whole week.”

“Nine days later and the awful symptoms are just beginning to lift. At the moment I certainly don’t feel any safer and I’m not sure if I even want to have the second dose since I’ve been so ill with the first dose.”

The NHS information acknowledges that “some people may experience side effects after the vaccine” but they say that “these are usually mild and are much less serious than developing coronavirus or complications associated with coronavirus. Any side effects usually go away within a few days.”

Pamela continued, “I hope life will slowly get back to normal however I think Orkney should try to get back to normal first before the tourists come to the islands. All teenagers need to get back to school, see their friends and be able to socialise. I also want to be able to visit my granny who is 94. We’ve not seen each other for over a year!”

So clearly there is a difference between both vaccines, how each work and the different potential side effects. The AstraZeneca vaccine is now deemed safe after some countries initially stopped using it. The vaccine is 79% effective and should cause no serious side effects.

The AstraZeneca vaccine works by using a harmless adenovirus to deliver a protein into your cells. Then your cells make that protein, and your body activates an immune response to protect you from further infections. The AstraZeneca vaccine uses an adenovirus that normally causes the common cold in chimpanzees as it cannot replicate in the human body or make you ill.

The Pfizer vaccines works by introducing a molecule to cells around your body which is known as the messenger. The molecule teaches cells to make a protein from the virus that causes COVID-19. As the protein is made the body detects it and makes an immune response which creates antibodies so that it will protect you from COVID-19.

The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored at room temp however the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at sub-zero temperatures. Both vaccines should be effective for up to four months.

So, one year on and with vaccines things seem to be going well, hopefully soon we’ll be able to get life back to normal, and see the people we haven’t seen at all in this last crazy year.


(Image from pixabay.com)

Returning to School after Second Lockdown 

Returning to school after second lockdown 

By Mia 

The Orkney secondary school Stromness Academy went back on the 15th of March as a phased return. All the junior classes were split into three groups that would each go in on different days. One group would go in on Monday and Thursday, another group would go in on Tuesday and Friday and the last group would only go in on Wednesday. These would change each week so that every pupil would get at least a week of school at the end of the three weeks.  

There are certain restrictions that must be carried out by schools. Some of these include: 

– two metre social distancing where possible  

– masks to be worn at all times, except whilst eating or drinking 

– pupils not to attend school if they show any symptoms of coronavirus  

– frequent washing/sanitising 

– for pupils to wipe down their desk/chair or any equipment they were using before leaving the classroom  

This is all subject to change after the Easter Holidays. Currently, plans are in place for pupils going back to school full time after Easter, though this will be confirmed towards the end of the Easter break.  Some of the restrictions like social distancing will ease slightly, but ventilation will most likely increase because of the number of pupils in the school. 

Vaccine experiences

Vaccine experiences  

By Ryan 

Many people in Orkney have now had their first dose of the covid vaccine, and some people have had both doses.  I spoke to some people that have had the vaccine and here are some of their experiences.  

The first person asked said that they had the Pfizer vaccine and they said that the felt fine and the only side effect that they had was a sore arm. 

The second person asked said that they have had the AstraZeneca vaccine and they had also said that they were fine at first but a few hours after they were suddenly cold and shivery and couldn’t get out of bed.  They were fine two days after.   

Overall vaccination is a good thing but there will always be side effects and some people are lucky and some people aren’t with the side effects.  

If you would like to know more, there is NHS information about vaccinations at www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/ 



By Noah

For just over one year, we have all been in lockdown in Scotland.  It has been a year now and I have quite enjoyed it. Many people have really not enjoyed it and others have loved it.

I feel like lockdown is coming to an end we have a few vaccines and 30,444,829 people have had at least their first dose. Orkney is well underway with vaccines and many people in Orkney have had their first dose; even quite young people have had it.

The reasons I have enjoyed lockdown is I could do my own things during the day and not have school take up the whole day. I would usually have all my schoolwork done in the morning and then do something I enjoy in the afternoon like go for a cycle.

S1-S3 have been going to school for a few weeks now for two days a week which is good in my opinion.

In my opinion lockdown has been an alright thing which I and many people have quite enjoyed.

COVID-19 mass vaccinations in Orkney

COVID-19 mass vaccinations in Orkney
By Erin


In March the Pickaquoy centre held a mass vaccination clinic for 42–64-year-olds over the course of a week. The clinic was in the arena hall. It is believed that this is the largest mass vaccination, run by the NHS, to ever happen in Orkney.

I spoke to my mum and dad, who have both had their vaccine. They both told me they thought the clinic was “well organised and efficient.” My mum went on to say “I was met by marshals in the car park, instructions were clear on where to go in and where to sit down, however I felt that remaining in the same seat in the waiting area would have made more sense and reduce the amount of cleaning needed.” She then went on to say that “in the booth the NHS staff were clear and precise with the questions that were asked and made me feel relaxed while receiving my injection.” My dad thought the same and also “there was ample parking, plenty of room in the arena and there was a one-way system in place.”

After some speculation about supply issues all over the national news they both did get their first dose of the vaccine. Mum said “I wasn’t worried about not getting the vaccine because as a small island I believe I would not have been offered it, had there been any possible shortages at that time.”

My Dad told me some of the symptoms he experienced, “I had a slightly sore arm, a slight headache, sore legs, a slight fever and fatigue.” Although my Mum had fewer symptoms they were just as unpleasant. She told me she had “quite a sore arm and a really sore head.”

The NHS website says: “Most side effects of the COVIV-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week.”

The total number vaccinated at the mass clinic was 3992, which brings Orkney to an approximate total of 13,800 first doses. A few days after this age group were done, age 34–41-year-olds were welcomed to the clinic as well.

This means that over half of the adults in Orkney have been vaccinated. This contributes to Scotland’s total number of 2.4 million first dose vaccinations against COVID-19.