The Lyth Arts Center will present works from the Northern Stories Festival – A new international festival celebrates Scotland’s links with Scandinavia and North America


The Lyth Arts Center has announced that its upcoming Northern Stories Festival (NSF) will include an international lineup of speakers and events across all venues in Caithness.

From October 7 to 16, NSF will present stories from the Far North. An exciting hybrid program of online and in-person events includes international programming from artists and storytellers from the Highlands, Scandinavia and Canada. Between conferences, workshops, films and exhibitions, there will be something for the whole family.

Highlights include Circo Rum Ba Ba’s The Whale’s Tale at Rosebank Playing Fields which will see a 50ft sperm whale beached in the heart of Wick. Families will be welcomed into the belly of the beast to hear stories of pirates battling plastic and explore mermaid museums.

Tale of the Whale.

Drawing on Caithness’ local heritage as a Pictish ‘painted people’, there will be a series of specially commissioned photographic portraits by award-winning photographer Susie Mackenzie in a new exhibition at the North Coast Visitor Center in Thurso. The personal stories of local people and the pride and prestige of Pictish body art combine with contemporary inking to celebrate the rich history of Caithness’ tattoo culture.

Exhibition of painted figures.
Exhibition of painted figures.

Musical events include the Highland/Shetland Trio Salt House, Mairi Campbell and a special performance of ‘Cattachs and Gallachs of the Gray Coast’ by Gordon Gunn, Andy Thorburn and George Gunn. Performances take place in village halls, distilleries, heritage centres, cafes and even a disused salmon in Dunbeath, the home of prolific novelist, critic and playwright Neil Gunn. A special event “Where Rivers Rise: Neil Gunn’s Dunbeath” will mark the life of the famous author and the continued cultural significance of the landscape that inspired him.

festival poster
festival poster

In a series of online events, the public is invited to hear readings by acclaimed Norwegian and Canadian writers and poets. With a focus on writing about place and nature, special events include Orcadian authors Linda Gask (author of “Finding True North”) and Samantha Clarke (“The Clearing”) discussing the healing power of place and from the north with Bergen poet Marta Engevik Fjæreide. The festival will end with a special online reading by former Edinburgh Makar Christine De Luca.

Charlotte Mountford, director of the Lyth Arts Center which produces the festival, said: “We are really delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. Caithness has very strong links with our neighbors to the north and that has been a great opportunity to work with partners and colleagues in Norway and Canada. We hope that our local community will find something to enjoy on their doorstep, and that our online program will attract national and international audiences. This is an excellent opportunity to share our stories and celebrate international relations.”

The Northern Stories Festival takes place October 7-16. For more information on the program and tickets, visit

The Northern Stories Festival is supported by EventScotland.

Do you want to react to this article ? If yes, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.


Comments are closed.