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Orkney pilot to retire after chalking up 12,000 flights

A pilot who has chalked up more than 12,000 flights between the Orkney islands is set to retire after almost a quarter of a century in the job.

Stuart Linklater will fly the 1.5 miles between Westray and Papa Westray for the final time today - a journey believed to be the world's shortest scheduled flight.

Stuart Linklater with his Islander aircraft Credit: Loganair/PA Wire

The 59-year-old started flying for Loganair's inter-isle service in 1988 and has covered more than a million miles in the eight-seater 'Islander' plane.

He said: "Flying the Islander in some of the most challenging weather conditions in Scotland means I've had my fair share of turbulence over the years, but I've enjoyed every minute of it."

Read more on the STV website.

Rare walrus spotted asleep on Orkney island beach

A warden bird-watching on one of the Orkney islands had a surprise when he came across a walrus sleeping on a beach - hundreds of miles away from the Arctic.

Documenting the discovery on Sunday, the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory blog said: "Well out of its range this fantastic beast should be in the Arctic right know and from its scars and markings it appears to be the same individual photographed in the Faroes at the end of February.

The walrus was spotted sleeping on North Ronaldsay in the Orkney Islands. Credit: Kevin Woodbridge/

"We don't know much about Walruses and it could be unwell due to its approachability, but it does however appear to us to be a healthy animal and is presumably fairly tame having never encountered humans before?"

There have been no sightings of the walrus on North Ronaldsay so far today, but updates will be posted on the observatory's blog if the animal reappears.

Walrus are normally found near the Arctic Circle. Credit: Mark Warren/

The mustached and long-tusked walrus is most often found near the Arctic Circle, lying on the ice with hundreds of companions.

These marine mammals are extremely sociable, prone to loudly bellowing and snorting at one another, but are aggressive during mating season, according to National Geographic.


Orkney has world's highest rate of MS, study finds

The Orkney Islands have the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world, University of Edinburgh scientists said.

Researchers found the rate for probable or definite cases of MS in the Orkneys is now 402 per 100,000 - up from a previous high of 309 per 100,000 in 1974.

Dr Jim Wilson, of the university's Centre for Population Health Sciences, said: "Our study shows that Orkney has the highest prevalence rate of MS recorded worldwide.

"These findings may reflect improved diagnostic methods, improved survival or rising incidence. We are trying to work out why it is so high, but it is at least partly to do with genes."

The study appears in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.