Event took place in Scotland.
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Ring of Brodgar

From the Dark Skies of North Ronaldsay to the Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar

In August we ventured to North Ronaldsay, the northernmost island in the Orkney Islands for a very special evening with the local community. A few days later we travelled to the Orkney Mainland to make a journey to the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness.

On a remote beach on North Ronaldsay, our Geolights formed a series of constellations to highlight the island’s dark sky status. Residents and Just Dance Orkney created patterns of movement in and around the constellations at dusk.

Inspired by the neolithic heritage at two of Orkney Mainland’s iconic monuments – the Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar – Lumenators joined together to encircle the stones in light.

Poem by Merryn Glover

Event Notebook

We cannot live fully without the treasury our ancestors have left for us.

George Mackay Brown
Scottish Poet

Our Lumenators at Ring of Brodgar carried Geolights changing colour from red to orange to represent the sun, led by our movement co-ordinators Jo and Tara from Just Dance Orkney.


The Lumenators heard talks from the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) at Basecamp located at Stromness Community Centre, along with storytelling from Lynn Barbour from Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre. Our musicians, Willie Campbell and Kapil Seshasayee also performed live music sets, including Ancestors, a song they wrote as The Dalmar Chorus during COP26 about considering what we are leaving behind on our planet.

An image of a lighthouse shot from below

The Lighthouse on North Ronaldsay is the UK’s tallest land-based lighthouse.

Orkney’s northernmost island, North Ronaldsay has long been associated with dark and clear night skies. However, it was only in 2021 that the island was officially recognised as a ‘dark sky island’. When conditions are right you may even see the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) dancing in red and green. This remote part of Scotland is also home to the famous seaweed-eating sheep and the UK’s tallest land-based lighthouse.


Our Lumenators were made up of local North Ronaldsay residents. Just Dance Orkney choreographed them to create movements along the shoreline and around the images of star constellations laid out on the beach using our low impact Geolights.

Colour and Cold/Scapa Flow

With this track we hoped to convey some of the awe and wonder that a clear, dark sky can fill you with.

The timpani drum near the beginning is the first flush of the Northern Lights appearing in the perfect sky.

We wanted to represent renewable energy by replicating the whomping sound of wind turbines cutting the air, waves crashing on the beach and finally bringing in an Orcadian reel to represent the Northern Lights dancing ( the Mirrie Dancers ).

Some 5,000 years ago, the prehistoric people of the Orkney Islands began building extraordinary monuments out of stone. Each of the four Heart of Neolithic Orkney sites is a masterpiece of Neolithic design and construction in itself. But together they represent one of the richest surviving Neolithic landscapes in Western Europe and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Two musicians, one with a guitar and another with bagpipes

The series of important domestic and ritual monuments gives us incredible insights into the society, skills and spiritual beliefs of the people who built the monuments.

The Standing Stones of Stenness circle and henge is a very early example of this type of monument. The surviving stones are enormous, standing up to 6m tall.

The Ring of Brodgar is a great stone circle 130m across. Surrounded by a rock cut ditch, it is set in a spectacular natural amphitheatre of lochs and hills.

Seaweed-eating sheep on North Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands

About Orkney

The Orkney Islands off Scotland’s north coast boast 5,000-year-old sites in the UNESCO Heart of Neolithic Orkney, 500 miles of dramatic sea cliffs, coastline and idyllic beaches and the opportunity to see wildlife up close.

North Ronaldsay is the furthest north of the Orkney Islands and is a designated Dark Sky reserve. It’s famous for its seaweed-eating sheep, is a hotspot for rare birds and now houses a bird observatory, as well as the tallest land-based lighthouse in Britain.


Images: Sands of Evie & North Ronaldsay seaweed-eating sheep, Visit Scotland, Paul Tomkins

We’d like to thank all the groups who participated:

  • The People of Orkney and North Ronaldsay
  • European Marine Energy Centre
  • Just Dance Orkney

Thanks to our partners who supported this event:

  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Orkney Islands Council
  • North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory
  • North Ronaldsay Dark Sky Park
  • RSPB

Photography by Mark Ferguson