In August 2013 we set sail from Stromness on our second Sea Change expedition, aboard Lerwick community boat The Swan, with a crew of 27 artists, scientists and informers. More ›

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The expedition crew of 27 includes a wide range of scientific and creative folk.
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Farewell to the Swan as she sails past my window

Swan leaving orkney

Farewell to the Swan as she sails past my window


Well, I am all unpacked and the washing machine is on…  I’ve looked at my photos on the computer.  But inside my head I still have plenty of thoughts, ideas and images to process.   Who would have thought that four days in the company of a group of artists and scientists could be so stimulating for an archaeologist?  On the face of it we have nothing in common – we all work in different fields.  But at the heart of things, of course, we have one over-riding mutual concern: we are all human and as part of the world of the twenty-first century we are thinking to the future.  I enjoy life, but I am very aware that my generation is living through a golden age of resources; what sort of life will future generations enjoy?  What do others think about this?  How do those who live in the geographical margins of the UK (of whom I am one) respond?  So I boarded the Swan for a weekend of talking, listening, watching and walking.



At the Neolithic tomb of Taversoe Tuick in Rousay


As an archaeologist I believe passionately that by understanding past lifeways we can look for some of the keys to the future.  In Westray we visited the house of an ordinary family and were able to look at some of their household goods.  They lived by the shore at Links of Noltland and life got more and more difficult with the impact of sand and salt blow on their fields.  Sadly they left long ago so we were not able to ask them for their opinions: the house was last occupied around 2800BC.  Elsewhere we entered the tombs of the dead from that time, redolent with the echoes of those who venerated the bones of the ancestors.  Finally: a trip to the supermarket: shelves stacked high with goods flown in from all corners of the world, what did we really need?


Now the Swan has sailed on, as I write she is moored up on the tiny island of Fair Isle.  I’ve moved on too, I have been enriched and that will influence my future path.


Author: Caroline Wickham-Jones


Joins the expedition for week 2 Caroline Wickham-Jones is a lecturer in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen. She lives in the islands of Orkney.
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James Brady’s expedition blog for ecoartscotland

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See James Brady’s blog here:   http://ecoartscotland.net/    

Leaving Fair Isle

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Andy Crabb’s Sea Changes Part 1 now on vimeo

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Sea Changes, part 1 featuring Karine Polwart from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. Part 1 of a film about Cape Farewell’s Northern Isles expedition, on board the Swan LK243. The Swan is a traditional Shetland fishing sail boat, restored and operated by a community based trust in Shetland swantrust.com/. She is a truly beautiful boat. The film... Read more ›

Carbon Cycle

1.carbon sink
CARBON/SINK Site-specific organic drawing, North Haven pier, Fair Isle (peat and fresh water / 12” x 120”)     A musing on the ecology of the Carbon Cycle and the human intervention within it’s system: the symbiotic links between the entropy of organic matter – moorland as a carbon sink – fossil fuels – carbon... Read more ›

Wind, stone

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Wind, stone: by Teresa Elwes

Fish For The Table

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FishForTheTable 03 vimeo from Tam Treanor.

Microcosms: Eons, Tides and Dreams

‘I go to the rockpool at the slack of the tide to mind me what my poetry’s for.’ –      Jen Hadfield (from the poem, Daed-traa*)           ‘The parent materials were gathered together as volcanoes poured them out in fiery streams, as waters running over the bare rocks of the continents wore... Read more ›


bunk and deck
quota n 1. the proportional or part of a whole that is due from, due to, or allocated to a person or group 2. a prescribed number or quantity, as of items to be manufactured, imported, or exported, immigrants admitted to a country [from Latin quota pars how big a share?, from quotus of what... Read more ›

Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013.

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“Freedom Come All Ye” performed by Karine Polwart in The Italian Chapel, Orkney August 2013. from Andy Crabb on Vimeo. In August 2013 members of Cape Farewell’s “Sea Change” project explored the landscapes, history and future of the Orkneys whilst sailing on board The Swan, a beautifully restored Shetland Fifie. The group consisting of artists,... Read more ›

Pelagic Gannets

When the seas calmed and I was no longer confined to my sick bunk, it was wonderful to be on deck and to observe my new watery surroundings, I saw gannets flap and glide past the Swan and was amazed to see their large wingspan for the first time. They truly are a majestic bird!... Read more ›

Sea change See change

Go  2
Poet. Climate change.  Environmentalist.  Scientist. Carbon economy. (Ex-)soldier. Renewables. Conservationist.  Fishing quota.  Artist. Sustainability. Writer.  Everyday words susceptible to our own interpretation, predisposition and characterisation.   Words that can be polarising and divisive.  So what happens when you mix them with a few associated ingredients?  On the one hand there is the potential for an explosive... Read more ›

Big words + Lumpy times

scalloway map
LUMPY adj lumpier, lumpiest full of or having lumps (Transport / Nautical Terms) (esp of the sea) rough confused seas We headed south on ‘lumpy’ seas from Scalloway towards Sumburgh Head.  Our direction towards the East side was guided by the weather forecast and I was pleased to be moving at last. I have been... Read more ›