It was a glorious day – quite windy, but lots of sun. The brakes had been fixed on my car, so Scottie and I went out round West Hill, one of our favourites.
The ‘main road’ between the pier and the houses on the island goes over the east side of the hill. The light was lovely, so we stopped at the lay-by at the top of the rise for me to take pix and Scottie to mooch about.
One of the lovely things about Flotta is that, because it is in the middle of Scapa Flow, there are views all round. This shows the uninhabited island of Fara in the foreground, with the hills of Hoy behind:
And this one, taken from the same spot, but swung round a bit, show the lighthouse and Stromness in the distance. In the foreground is the Flotta plantation – something unusual on Orkney!
The north western side of West Hill has no houses. It is a ‘wartime road’, built in WWI, and now used by islanders for walking dogs, and for visitors for walking round the ‘Flotta trail’. It has views across to Hoy and Longhope, including this one looking over to the Lyness pier, once a huge naval base, and now one of the bases for marines renewables. The yellow and green ‘thing’ here is one of the devices, brought in for repair or waiting for deployment to one of the trial sites.
The road at this point runs close to the shore. If you look carefully you can see a couple of geese among the stones. These should have left for Greenland weeks ago, but more and more of them are staying through the summer, and causing problems for farmers, stripping newly planted fields as soon as the green shoots come above ground.
Most of the hill is covered in heather, but there are some areas of rough ground. One of these has long been used for dumping rotting hay and straw. And these often have self-sewn daffodils making use of the soil improvement this causes!
The wind is the force which dictates most of the flora of Flotta. If seeds find a sheltered hollow they can do well, as with these Primroses I spotted near an old hut….
… but just across the road was a group of willows which are way behind those in gardens near me.
And while I mooched about with my camera, Scottie was mooching about catching up on the local smells.
The end of the wartime road is at an abandoned farmhouse called Balaclava. As ever, there are daffodils along the roadside.