At the weekend I went over to Flotta to have a more detailed look at the house and take measurements etc. It is beginning to feel like the move will really happen! I was taken by my friend Rhoda, who lives on Burray but who had never been to Flotta. So as well as looking at the house we had to do the Grand Tourl! Arrival is by ferry – the Hoy Head. It takes some cars, or a lorry and fewer cars… and plenty of foot passengers. Here she is at the Flotta Pier:
We went straight to the house. It is not easy to photograph. Here it is the left hand one of the right hand pair – the one which needs a new roof! (That will be done later!):
The house needs a lot of work fairly soon, but very little before I move in. Kenny Gee had cut the grass for me – that is typical of him and Flotta folk in general – so very kind! Having taken that pic, I turned 90 degrees to look North and then round to face South:
As you can see, it was full sun where we were, but rain and rainbows to the north over Kirkwall. The island isn’t very wide, and you can see the sea on both sides at the same time.
After making lots of notes and taking some pix we decided it was time to take the dogs a walk, so we started the Grand Tour. Flotta’s highest point is West Hill, and there is a road at sea level round most of it. As Flotta (Norse for ‘flat’) is in the middle of Scapa Flow, the views are spectacular all round, here looking over to Hoy (Norse for ‘high’):
In various places on the island are metal pieces, which would be called sculpture further south. The gun in the pic is one of them – Flotta was home to many thousands of troops in WWII, and there are the concrete founds of many living huts and gun emplacements all over the island…
Rhoda’s dog Geordie ran and ran….
while Scottie, of course, rolled…
Having explored various roads on the island we came back to Burnside and took the dogs down to the beach, a walk that I used to do every day with my dog of the time when I was last living there, and which I will doubtless do with Scottie come December. When the tide is in (which is was) the beach is all shingle, but when it goes out it leaves rock pools and sand. This was one of several rainbows we saw during the day:
The buildings at the rainbow’s end are those of the oil terminal. It is here that one of the pipelines from the North Sea oil fields makes land fall, and there are several huge holding tanks, mainly underground. Here in Orkney most people think of the terminal when you say the word Flotta – they don’t realise what a beautiful little island it is….
After coffee with Marina and Young Davie, we headed back to the ferry. I had hoped to have time to take pix of the seals by the pier, but she was in early and we had to welly it down the hill and up the pier, straight into the jaws (see the two eyes and the teeth on the bow??). The pic gives a good idea of the size of the boat…