News The new series of 'The Voice' got underway last weekend

ITV makes complaint in its submission into the Culture Committee's inquiry into the future of the BBC

Police launch hunt for killers of seal pups shot dead

Island massacre: Detectives begin house-to-house inquiries after 'horrendous and harrowing' attack on remote Scottish shore

Comeback for corncrake

One of Britain's most endangered birds, the corncrake, shows signs of coming back from the brink. For two years running its numbers have increased in the Hebridean islands and Orkney where it has made its last stand.

OBITUARY: Alastair Mackie

Alastair Mackie was a Scots makar; a skilled wordsmith and an incorrigibly restless and cross-grained literary archaeologist. Add to this an imagination that often saw the world as dark and foreboding, and we can glimpse something of what made Mackie an important Scots poet.

Orkney seafood too hot to handle

AS THE heat wave that covered much of Britain drew to a close yesterday, diners wanting to enjoy shellfish on the Orkneys became the latest victims of last week's high temperatures.

Orkney fears the perfect murderer

Crime/ 'Tandoori' killing

THE TWICKENHAM BATTLE FIVE NATIONS SHOWDOWN: England's talent and experience can tip the balance in key areas while Scots seek action replay of 1990

Pride revives the Flower of Scotland in its hour of need Ronnie Browne, artist, musician and celebrity supporter, explains what it means to be a bearer of the tartan

Abuse and the serial offenders

The Ayrshire report reveals familiar deficiencies in investigating child-sex cases, argues Allan Levy

`Ritual abuse' families tell of years of hell

Parents bitterly attack Ayrshire social workers whose reports robbed them of their children.

Nightmare is over for `ritual abuse' families

BY JOHN ARLIDGE

Looking towards Orkney from a warm Wiltshire bed

I was saying yesterday that writers are often a long way from the scene of their books when they get down to writing about them - that they have to withdraw a certain distance from an exotic locale to get it in perspective and feel the full effect of it. And that maybe the same is true of the way we should read books. That is, when you or I go to the West Indies, we shouldn't read a book set in the West Indies, we should read something set in Scandinavia. Which explains why I have recently spent a lot of time in Orkney.

Equestrianism: Boon guides Britain home: One mistake costs team leader another individual title

TERRY BOON led the British team to a second successive victory in the Young Riders' European Championships, which were part of the Blenheim Audi International Horse Trials. But Boon's chance of repeating last year's individual win disappeared when his mount, Vital Decision, dislodged a rail from the penultimate fence in yesterday's show jumping.

BOOK REVIEW / Thorfinn the thunder god: Beside the ocean of time - George Mackay Brown: John Murray pounds 14.99

GEORGE Mackay Brown's new novel, which was last week voted on to the Booker shortlist, begins thus: 'Of all the lazy useless boys who ever went to Norday school, the laziest and the most useless was Thorfinn Ragnarson.' This is pure Mackay Brown: an Orkney setting, an ugly duckling hero, the blindness of society to the qualities of the poet, a nudge of humour. The novel is obliquely autobiographical, the story of an unfolding imagination woven into an island's experience of change. It has the magic, but none of the fey rococo, of Virginia Woolf's Orlando.

Wild goose chase

SCOTTISH Natural Heritage is to recruit a human scarecrow at pounds 4 an hour to chase barnacle geese off farmland on the island of South Walla, Orkney.

Wildlife experts are baffled by deaths of seal pups

CONSERVATIONISTS are to investigate the deaths of 40 seal pups amid fears of an outbreak of a mystery virus.

Travel: A family guide to summer Britain: Scotland

IT'S NOT hard to conjure up the image of a perfect family holiday in Scotland: messing about in boats, scrambling up hills, spotting eagles, pony-trekking in the glens, and long days rounded off by spectacular sunsets. But it's easy to go wrong in practice. There is scope for a horror movie based on being rained-in on a midge-infested island for two weeks with a houseful of children - who then decide that Scrabble isn't the most exciting game on earth.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us