Famous Orcadians
John Rae
In the north east corner of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall is a memorial to a man whose name ought to be familiar to schoolchildren and history buffs alike. Yet the name of John Rae is likely to raise no more than a puzzled eyebrow from most observers. Rae travelled over 25,000 miles through the Canadian north, most of it on foot, yet he never received the acclaim accorded to his contemporary fellow explorers. Learn why: John Rae biography >>

Henry Sinclair
Sinclair, 1st Earl of Orkney, may have 'discovered' America nearly a century before Columbus. There would appear to be some evidence to suggest that Sinclair reached Newfoundland in 1398. For details of this controversial hypothesis, see the book Sword and the Grail by Andrew Sinclair (ISBN: 1841583960). Andrew Sinclair is a descendant of Earl Henry, so he can be said to have an axe to grind with this account of the Earl's travels. Be that as it may, its a compelling read.