About Lynn and John - your hosts

At Via House, Lynn and John are pleased to offer you Island Retreat Breaks and Island Breaks at Via House.

Lynn telling Peatfire TalesLynn Barbour MA

Lynn Barbour graduated from Glasgow University in the 1970s with a MA degree in English Literature, Language and Drama. She then studied and qualified with British Association of Teachers of Dancing to teach Highland and traditional dance, classical ballet and jazz and physical theatre. Lynn moved to Stromness in Orkney to open the only Drama and Dance school north of Perth.

Using the stories, folklore and legends of Scotland and Orkney as the core of her work Lynn created and directed Folk Art Productions in the St Magnus Festival and revived, taught and performed 3 old Orkney traditional dances. She also choreographed, produced and cast for the video for the premiere of "Orkney Wedding with Sunrise" by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and the Boston Pops Orchestra.

Every summer for ten years Lynn directed exchanges with Noregs Undomslag (Norway's national youth organisation) and the young people in Orkney, teaching the traditional dance, story, music and song of Scotland. She also ran summer schools at Danish Folk High Schools, creating courses based on Orkney's Folk Tales, rhyme games, social customs and dances.

Having researched, explored and shared the folklore, legends, social customs and dances of Scotland and Orkney for 30 years + this was at the centre of her work when Lynn developed Creative learning and Communication Arts Programmes specialising in the field of those with special educational needs in language, literacy and communication.

Lynn then worked throughout UK, Scandinavia and Europe developing 'the Power of Storytelling' workshops, summer schools and staff development programmes for professionals working in the fields of Education, Mental Health and Additional Learning Support.

Lynn has always been based in Scotland, and has done outreach for schools and community projects - two of which were

1) The 300th anniversary of the Battle of Glencoe (a four month project)
2) The 100th anniversary of the Fourth Rail Bridge (a 6 month project)

In 1997 Lynn created and opened the Orcadia Creative Learning Centre for children, young people and adults with learning disabilities and educational difficulties (who had been excluded from education due to language, literacy and communication difficulties.) Lynn offered inclusive Communication Arts Programmes - this was a place where each student could tell their own story. She had 180 students on a weekly basis and Lynn was the artistic director until 2002, when she returned to Orkney.

In 2003 Lynn opened Via House and Folk Art Studio to run summer schools and Island Retreat Breaks, alongside evenings of Island Peatfire Tales, social customs, music and dance. Four years ago in 2007 Lynn developed Via into the Orkney Folklore and Storytelling Centre where she offers courses, summer schools and a venue for Storytelling and Folk Arts Events.

John on an Earth walkJohn Brooks - Heritage Attractions - Guided Walking Tours

John, a lifelong walking, nature enthusiast and bird watcher is well qualified to help you discover and explore the island coastal walks, seascapes and birdlife. John is a Bsc (hons) Graduate in Humanities. He is also a qualified yellow badge Scottish Tour Guide and offers Stromness Heritage Walks and guided coastal walks of Scapa Flow History and Orkney Wartime Heritage.

John's focus at all times is on our visitor's enjoyment. At Via House you can choose from simple relaxing breaks to special interest breaks - the choice is always yours.   


Escape from the mainland of everyday and travel to an island retreat.
Enjoy the freedom, safety and tranquility of Via House. Please contact us to find out more!!