Posted by: Elizabeth Lovick | April 12, 2014

This is the post I intended to write on Thursday…

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:

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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!

Spring walk 002

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.

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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.

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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!

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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….

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… but just across the road was a group of willows which are way behind those in gardens near me.

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And while I mooched about with my camera, Scottie was mooching about catching up on the local smells.

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The end of the wartime road is at an abandoned farmhouse called Balaclava. As ever, there are daffodils along the roadside.

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Responses

  1. So precious, these memories. So raw and painful, it must seem like you will never enjoy another walk. My heart is with you.

  2. I did the route yesterday in the car. It was odd not having Scottie sitting up beside me before we stopped, and settling in to sleep after!

  3. Thanks for sharing that morning walk with us. I’m glad it was a pleasant one….. before the sadness of that afternoon. More hugs for you.

  4. I always remember reading in one of the James Herriot books what the best salve for the pain of losing a beloved companion is and it has always proven true for me….to find a new best friend. Peace, Liz.

    • Yes – one evening alone was enough to tell me that I will be getting another dog! The house is totally flat at present.

      • There is always room in our hearts to love someone new without displacing someone absent. Another dog would be very lucky to have you for a forever friend and companion.

    • I certainly agree Liz and there is always another dog (preferably a scottie) wanting a home with a loving owner.

  5. Thank you for sharing these very special memories with us. I hope you are able to rescue another wonderful companion soon. You live in such a lovely place. Best wishes to you, Dawn

  6. Lovely photos Liz and great to have the information about the scenes

  7. How I like to see the pictures you take and read the stories you tell! I feel sorry for you too, loosing a good walking companion like that. But I also agree with Vicki – in your heart there is room for a new love beside the old ones.

  8. One of the things that stands out for me in this post is how splendid a life Scottie had with you. May we all be similarly blessed with good companionship and good things to experience, all the way to the end.

    When Tussah died last spring, our family decided that she would have wanted us to give another dog-in-need a home as soon as possible. Because any addition would need to not only get along with but enhance the life of our dear Ceilidh (who, in turn, had had to have interviews with Tussah before she became part of the clan), it ended up taking us six months to find the right new family member. In the process, we fostered and tested and supported other dogs in finding their appropriate spaces. Now we have Tam. He isn’t an easy case, but he’s fallen into the right location.

  9. Wonderful pictures Liz and thanks for sharing that particular walk with us.

  10. LOVED YOUR PICTURES,MADE ME WISH I WAS THERE. SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT SCOTTIE HORST AND I HAVE WONDERFUL MEMORIES OF HIM WHEN WE OVER IN 2010.MURIEL & HORST PETER

  11. What a lovely last walk with your friend.


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