All Set for the 2nd John Rae Festival


John Rae by Stephen Pearce (1819 – 1904)

In 2017 the first John Rae Festival was held in Orkney. Due to its outstanding success the 2018 Festival will be held from 4th to 6th May .

John Rae Society Festival 5th – 8th May

You can read about John Rae, who grew up at the Hall of Clestrain, Orkney, here: Dr John Rae: Arctic Explorer

The 2017 festival was attended by over 400 people, Orcadians and visitors to the islands, raising over £4,000 for the John Rae society and the restoration of the Hall of Clestrain.

Key note speaker at the John Rae Festival will be author Ken McGoogan. He is a widely-travelled writer with an award-winning career as a journalist spanning two decades. A long-time literary editor at The Calgary Herald, he has also published three novels and Canada’s Undeclared War, a controversial work of non-fiction. While researching Fatal Passage, McGoogan travelled to England, Scotland and the Arctic, where he placed a plaque commemorating John Rae’s achievements on the shores of Rae Strait. His latest book is Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage.

2018 John Rae Festival Programme

Friday 4th May

  • Ken McGoogan public lecture at the Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall, at 7.30pm. Free but donations welcome.

Saturday 5th May

  • Hall of Clestrain Includes a rolling PowerPoint presentation about the history of the building and the Society’s plans, as well as a scale model of the Hall and various survey documents which will be available to view. Refreshments and a sales table.

Sunday 6th May

  • Hall of Clestrain all-day event.
  • John Walker’s 2008 documentary film Passage about John Rae’s search for Franklin at 7.30pm in Stromness Town Hall. Free event but donations welcome

For more information please contact

or visit

Hall of Clestrain

Handing over the keys (B Bell)


Categories: Uncategorized

Tagged as: , , , ,

Leave a Reply