23 NOVEMBER 1991, Page 32

No Gaelic spoken here

Sir: Impenetrable the Orkney accent may be, but Christopher Howse's informant ('Et in Orcadia Ego', 9 November) cannot have heard native Orcadians singing in Gaelic. No Gaelic is or ever has been spoken in Orkney. Even a brief visit (how long did Mr Howse spend there?) will confirm that the islands' traditional culture is not even Scot- tish, let alone Gaelic, but Norse. But at least Mr Howse avoids the usual southern solecism of referring to 'the Orkneys'.

George Chamier

Bradfield College, Berkshire