This site was created by my father, the late David Sinclair, and was first published in June 2011. Nine years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and his health deteriorated gradually as the disease took hold; eventually his shaking hand prevented him from operating his computer keyboard and that was a source of great frustration to him as he loved writing. On 1 June 2019 he passed away peacefully at home, aged 84, leaving a huge gap in our lives. I have posted his friend Richard’s eulogy on the site. As Richard says, we remember him with a smile.

I have left his original Home page below and hope to continue to publish new items occasionally – he would expect it!


My name is David Sinclair and I am one of the few indigenous islanders left on Flotta.  Many people who have never visited the island are under the impression that there is nothing here but an oil terminal and hundreds of acres of moorland.  Admittedly, that is the impression you get when looking towards Flotta from the Scapa Flow side but I will be using this website to promote this little island as a place worthy of a visit whether your interest is wartime history, natural history, family history, or you simply want to bag another island.

And now a word about me.  (Well, it’s my website and I can say whatever I like.)  I was born on Flotta in 1935 and therefore my schooldays were spent on probably the most heavily fortified island around Great Britain but which to us children was one huge adventure playground.  I left school at fifteen with no qualifications, became a shopkeeper, did my National Service in the Royal Artillery, got married to Marina Simison, and became the father of David and Phyllis.

After a short spell working in the Thurso Co-op’s first self service store, I returned to Flotta and became the island’s sub-postmaster in 1965.  When construction of the Flotta oil terminal began in 1974 I was in the right place at the right time to make a pound or two off the oil company and yet be a nuisance to them and the local authority when, in our view, they stepped out of line.  I’ve been a community councillor off and on since those days and am a founding member of the Flotta Heritage Trust.  I was also a founding member of the Flotta Freedom Fighters and, contrary to what the Establishment believes, they were not disbanded but are ready to spring into action if our homeland is theatened in any way.

On a lighter note, I must warn you that I have given over part of this website to a friend and sometimes adversary of mine who is locally known as Willick o’ Pirliebraes.  I must also make it quite clear that I am not responsible for anything that he posts as I am rarely in agreement with his views.


  1. Hi Kate, my father’s response when he was asked about having more copies printed was always, ‘Stop when you’re winning!’ It is something we have spoken about as we are often asked about a reprint but no immediate plans at the moment, although this might change. Dad certainly didn’t expect his book to be sold out within a few months of publication.

  2. Hi it’s Kate at windbrake, so I’m very fortunate to have obtained a copy of tomorrow is a whole new day but now the whole island wants to read it too? Will there be any more copies printed at any point because I’m wary of not getting it back again and it seems a popular book amongst the locals

  3. Happy New Year, Shay! And thanks for the card and photos which arrived a few days ago., which I haven’t had time to look at properly yet. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Flotta, and hope we’ll see you all again sometime.

  4. Hi Phyllis,

    Hope you get our Christmas card and photos. Cant thank you and Marina enough for sharing part of your day with us. We never expected to meet family there on Flotta, so what a great and unforgettable surprise. You gave us what we came for and more. We hope to visit again in the coming years.

    Shay Garriock

  5. Hi, thanks very much for your replies, it’s really nice to know where the plates came from and it sounds like he was a great character and obviously a very talented artist.

  6. Hi again, Janet
    I should have asked my mother before replying – she assures me the ferries, the Old Man of Hoy and the cathedral were all done by Harry Berry.

  7. Hi Janet
    Pleased to see you enjoyed your visit to the Heritage Centre. I’ll have to leave it to someone else to tell you more about the hand-painted plate, though. It looks similar to ones we have of the former South Isles ferries, Hoy Head and Watchful, painted by Harry Berry in the 60s/70s, but I’m not certain he did the others, although I think he might have. See https://hoyheritage.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/seaview-harry-berry-exhibition/ for some info on the late Harry Berry, who was well known in Orkney for his paintings and story-telling. I’ll let you know if I find out more about the plate.

  8. Hi, we visited the Heritage Centre recently while on holiday and found it fascinating, so much to see and all set out so beautifully. One thing we did notice was a hand-painted plate on the wall of Stromness (titled Venice of the North) and we’d love to know more about the artist as we’d bought a pair of plates in a charity shop before our visit to Flotta (Old man of Hoy and St Magnus Cathedral) and they’ve obviously been done by the same person. Would love to know if anyone knows anything about the artist, how old the plates are etc.

  9. Hi Shona
    Good to hear from you. I am Secretary of the Flotta Heritage Trust and so will send you a separate email. Phyllis

  10. Good morning, I am Fred Buchanan’s great granddaughter and would love to get in contact with the people who run the Flotta Heritage Trust. We have some items which they may wish to include in their collection, I am currently in Orkney with my father Angus Buchanan (Fred’s Grandson) and we are thinking of visiting Flotta this weekend to see the Heritage Centre and the Buchanan Battery. Perhaps someone can suggest who to contact? Many thanks, Shona Buchanan

  11. Thanks for your response. Sadly my mother Margaret and father David (Dave) are no longer with us. They got married at St Magnus cathedral in 1962 – Mac Robertson was on the pipes.

  12. Hello, David
    You still have Robertson cousins in Flotta and I’ll mention your message to them so that maybe one of them will help you with who was who. I’ll send you a separate email when I’ve spoken to them. When I mentioned your message to my mother, she said Margaret Robertson used to visit when our family lived for a year and a bit in Thurso in the early 60s and she remembered Margaret coming in to tell us she’d just got engaged to David Stevenson! Regards, Phyllis

  13. Hello,
    my grandfather was Peter Robertson of Banks, brother of Willock and Bella. So Willock’s sons, young Peter and young Willock, are my mother’s cousins. My “gaga” moved to Thurso in the 50s to take up a job at Dounreay and Bella emigrated to Canada. I remember visiting Flotta in 1974 and staying at Banks. We had great fun playing in an old car that was up on bricks. No mains electricity in those days – the generator went off at 9 or 10 at night and that was it until morning. I remember visiting a lot of Robertson cousins and have a photo which looks remarkably similar to some I’ve seen on this website. I’ve lost track of the who was who on the Flotta side of the family – I would be interested in learning more to help piece together the family tree.

  14. Hello Neil
    Yes, we still have Dad’s Lambretta collection and Kenny is currently working on one of them, but no point in asking me for details!

  15. Good Evening. Just a question about David’s Lambretta collection. Have you kept them? I came over from Stromness to have a look at his Stable and was very impressed with his 57 ld. Also verified that all his ladies were indeed Italian! Always remember Marina making Lasagna for our lunch that day and David taking me a tour of the island.

  16. Dear folk, 20200729 Ah. It is the name “Norquay” my grandmother’s name that ties me to Orkney and Flotta. She died before I was born. Grandfather John Duncan Thompson (hails from Orkney)had a cousin Gavin McKay on Flotta who was photographed about 1947 with his new grandson, the photo of “Granddad in chair outside house with wee new grandson” I remember. Thanks for the site. My mother was Edinburgh born named as “Janet Norquay Thompson” Married a local McDonald from Edinburgh. His father was a MacDonald from Speyside but hailed from Skye moved to Speyside by employer thence to Edinburgh, hence my misspelt Skye spelling of “Eion” as my first name.

    Eion MacDonald (Culcheth, England)

  17. Hi Margaret
    David (my father, who set up this blog) passed away last year and his father was Donald Sinclair, a younger brother of your Tom Sinclair. There are photos of Tom and his wife (Violet?) in my grandparents’ photo box, and they often spoke of him. Good to hear you’re enjoying reading about Flotta. Coincidentally, if you read the latest story published, you’ll see that Tom’s father, John Sinclair, met up with fairies too, allegedly. All the best, Phyllis

  18. Hi there David and greetings from Spain. Have just spent a lovely time reading all the comments on Flotta. I just googled it out of interest as my former father-in-law was Thomas Hutton Norquay Sinclair and was from Flotta. Apparently he ran away to sea when he was 14 but was brought back. He did, however, join the navy when old enough and ended up a Lieutenant Commander. His ship put into Milford Haven where he the lady who was to become his wife. Known as Fairy she was 5feet tall against his six feet four! He eventually married her and set up his own boat business in Milford. They had four sons one of them my former husband. Pop Sinclair was a well known figure in Milford. A real character and a lovely man. He will be remembered with affection.
    Margaret Noden.

  19. so sorry to read your last message, Phyllis…..it was all a long time ago but the memories live on.

  20. Good Morning Allan
    Thanks for your kind comments regarding Dad. I thought he was wonderful (not biased at all!) but it’s always good to hear that other folk appreciated the things he did. I remember your visit in 2011, and you are correct in saying that your wife is a cousin of mine, as my great-grandfather’s (Dave Sutherland) sister Mary married John Sabiston of Little Blowmuir. I’m afraid the Lurdy blog has been neglected for some time but I hope to have a look at it again soon.
    Best wishes to you and your wife.

  21. Good morning Phyllis

    I had not read the Lurdy blog for a long time and was sad to discover today that your father had died. He and your mother made us very welcome when we visited the island in May, 2011. It was my first visit to your lovely island home and my wife’s second visit after a gap of fifty years. She is the daughter of David Sutherland Sabiston of Little Blomuir and, I believe, is related to you via the Sutherlands. Since then I have enjoyed reading the blog and feel a real connection to the island. We had hoped to visit again but age and infirmity make that highly unlikely. Your father has left a wonderful legacy in his writings of island life.

  22. Thanks for your kind words, Stewart. Those were the days …

  23. I found this site completely by accident while sitting on a beach with my dogs: reading Davie’s intro took me back to 1976/95 when I worked in Flotta Terminal and to some hazy memories of a couple of meetings with a living legend who lived “up the Island” ,was held in great regard by all my Oxy colleagues… and who just oozed authority. I was never more than a moment in his life, but with you, I mourn his passing…..

  24. Sorry to read about your Dad’s passing. We hope sometime to visit you again.

  25. Thank you, Cindy. I’ve always known Dad was special and it”s comforting to know other folk think so too.

  26. Dear Phyllis, I am so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. I am a descendant of Flotta, and following posts on this site makes it very easy to see that he was truly a very special man. My thoughts are with you and your family. Cindy Brokens

  27. Thank you , Sue. Your father’s memorial bench is looking okay. We keep an eye on it , and put it inside over the winter months. If anything needs doing to it, it’s sorted then. Unfortunately, that’s why it wasn’t where it should have been when your brother was here some time ago!

  28. Thanks, Jackie, to you and the Simpson clan. I miss Dad so much but so many good times and laughs to remember. We saw a lot of my Orkney cousins yesterday at the funeral, in the pouring rain.

  29. Phyllis..I’m writing to Marina but wanted to send you our condolences. He was a wonderful kind hard working gentle man.
    While I’m messaging you I wanted to ask (for another time)if I need to do anything about my Dad (Donald Sinclair Flett)’s memorial bench which David very kindly looked after every year for us. If it needs and work doing on it etc please please do let me know. Kind regards and best wishes Sue (Flett) Bright

  30. Dear Phyllis & Marina:
    So sorry to hear of your father’s passing. All Rellies in Canada send their love. Thinking of you all at this so very sad time.
    Jackie Miller & the Simpson Clan

  31. Thanks, Marjorie. We hope to see you in August. Phyllis

  32. So sorry to hear your sad news about your dad Phyllis I am coming to Flotta the first week in August for my annual visit so hopefully meet you.
    I am going to say hello to the family in Mounthoolie who found a letter from my great uncle Robert Taylor and kindly donated it to the Flotta museum
    Marjorie Manson

  33. Condolences Phyllis, to all the family. From Heather & Malcolm in Colchester.

  34. Thanks, Mally. I’ll put something on the site soon, but right now still coming to terms with losing my fun-loving, witty, caring Dad, the best in the world. For those who haven’t heard, he passed away peacefully in his bed last Saturday morning, 1 June 2019. Phyllis.

  35. RIP Davy

  36. Hello Allan
    It’s good to hear from people who enjoyed their experience of working on the terminal and travelling to Flotta by boat, although we found it somewhat trying at times with all the congestion at the pier. Alfie Sinclair was a larger than life character and someone folk would remember for a long time. I’ll try to find some pictures of the boats at the pier.
    PS I’m sure I wouldn’t have been overcharging you for your bootlaces!

  37. Hello there Mr Sinclair,
    I take it you are the same Mr. Sinclair who ran the Post Office / shop during the middle ’70s. I was one of the first who arrived to construct the terminal & always remember how ‘brooding’ the island was. I lived in the Stromness Hotel for my entire stay & travelled each day back & forth. At the start up, there was no accommodation for the workforce on Flotta, so each morning, around 5 – 5.30 am, the Stromness harbour resembled Dunkirk – so many vessels carrying the men to work ! My favourite skipper was Alfie Sinclair, who was also the Skipper of the Stromness Lifeboat.
    I had a wonderful time whilst there & remember arguing with you over the price you were charging for a pair of leather bootlaces !!!!
    Thanks for opening this great record Blog.

  38. Hello David,
    My great grandmother Margret Sinclair was born in the Orkney lsles. Her father was a sea captain, master marriner and ship owner. She moved to london married a Mr. Roberts. They had one daughter who married a Dr. Henry Andrews-Speed. As a young woman l met Margaret a few times should like to know more about her and make with contact any family members.

    Frances Andrews-Speed

  39. Hi Andrew
    I’ve had a look at the photo in the OIL and I’m almost 100% sure it was taken at the Hillhead, Flotta, where James and Mary Simpson lived and died. If you email me a copy of the photo (to flottarian@aol.com) I’ll put it on the blog as a separate item and see what else we can find out from the Fletts and Simpsons. Thanks.

  40. hi my name is Andrew Simpson my great Grandad came from flotta his name was james simpson and he married cathrine ross on hoy and lived at upper setter I have a picture of what we think is 4 James simpson and the picture was taken on flotta and wonder if anybody had any info on this the picture is loaded onto the Orkney image library

  41. Hi John
    Good to hear from folk who have fond memories of their time on Flotta. It’s 45 years today since the earth-movers, JMJ, landed on the island and construction began. We’ve seen a lot of changes since that time but, on the whole, the terminal and the rest of the island have worked together reasonably well. All the best.

  42. Hi David. My name is John Bullen and I worked on the island for some months at the start of the terminal construction. I can well remember you and often recall that you would deliver my post to my desk and include cigars when ordered. A good time on a lovely isle – I do hope we didn’t spoil it.

  43. Hi Selina
    There are several children on the island and some are home educated. Our school is currently ‘mothballed’ but, theoretically, could re-open if required. Most of the time we don’t notice noise from the oil terminal, probably because we’ve got used to it over the past 40+ years!

  44. Are there many children on the island? Do you know if any are home educated and does the power station may noise, hum etc?

  45. Hi Sheralee
    Your nearest relatives here don’t live on the island but return for holidays at times. I think D Irvine Flett and Hazel Sinclair (nee Flett) will be your father’s 2nd cousins. I think you and I are 5th cousins, through the McKay side of the family, as you’ll find that the Flottarians who’ve been here for generations are mostly connected in some far distant way. The houses the Fletts and McKays lived in were Roadside, Damhouse and Hunger-him-in. The last one is in ruins and the others are no longer inhabited but were occupied within the past 20 years. (Our family owns Roadside, which is in need of renovation.)
    I’ll have a look around for further info and perhaps Irvine and/or Hazel will provide you with some detail.
    Hope you manage a trip to Orkney and to Flotta.

  46. Apologies, I have my previous relationships mixed up. My farthers farthers mother was Mary Ann Flett. It’s too complex for me haha

  47. Hi, my name is Sheralee Cromer and I am wondering if you are able to advise on any current long distance family members that may still live on Flotta. A friend of mine did some digging for us as we knew my farthers side of the family came from the Orkneys and as my farther recently turned 80 I thought it would be good to know. I live in Australia and am visiting home in the UK, (Grimsby & Cleethorpes) in August so a trip with my father to Orkney may be on the cards depending if he is up for it. My farthers mother was Mary Ann Flett. Her mother was Mina Sinclair McKay and farther, Alexander Flett. There are a good few other names but these may be the most recognised on Flotta. Any info would be of use.
    Regards, Sheralee

  48. Thanks for your reply David yes the memories you will never forget flotta
    Say hello to all your family

  49. Hello Mick
    Good to hear from you. The construction of the oil terminal is a time a lot of folk will never forget and we often speak about the people we met back then. I saw a picture of you and Billy recently, in a Flotta Jotter, I think. All the best.

  50. Hello David,marina,hope you are well spoke to Phyllis a few years ago and lost touch again,glad I found your website brings back a lot of great memories of the flotta people and their great kind nature anybody that has met and spoken/lived with flotations will understand why it is such a great island (not meaning the terminal) best years of my life
    God bless
    Mick Mullin

  51. Hello marina and David,how are you both, it’s mick Mullin construction phase 1975-80 (Lindsey scaffolding) believe it or not I have been thinking of you both for the last 35 years how I miss flotta not the construction but the island and the people it was a pleasure to to have known you both and young David and marina ,I’ve learned all my family of the history of flotta before the oil times still miss that wonderful island,give my regards to your family and god bless them, sadly jack probers,and billy Ritchie have passed anyway I’m the last man standing Ha ha look after yourself.
    Mick mullin

  52. Hello Paul

    You’ll find information on John Sutherland on the Kirkwall Royal British Legion website – http://www.rbls-kirkwall.org.uk/memorials/Flo/SutherlandBrothers.pdf. This was compiled by Brian Budge, who has done a tremendous amount of research on those commemorated on the Orkney war memorials, and I’m sure Brian will be delighted to help you with further info. It sounds like an interesting project, visiting some of the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries, and I wish you all the best.

  53. David, my name is Paul Turner and I am an adult instructor with Caithness Company, 1st Battalion, the Highlanders, Army Cadet Force. in June of this year we are taking a group of cadets to visit some of the WW1 battlefields and cemeteries, including Tyne Cot. I decided I would like to visit an individual soldier from the Seaforth Highlanders and while searching on the Commonwealth War Graves website I came across Private John Sutherland.

    The only information I have about him is as follows:

    S/12231, 8th Bn., Seaforth Highlanders who died on 22 August 1917 Age 23
    Son of Donald and Christina Sutherland, of Windbrake, Flotta, Orkney.

    I was wondering if you knew of any further information or could point me in the direction of somebody who might know. Any information or help would be greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards

  54. Hi Rhonda
    I’ll have a look in the next day or so and see what we have. If anyone else has any pictures of Princess Alexandra’s visit, then please send them to flottarian@aol.com and we’ll publish them on the blog, maybe along with other pictures of royal visitors to the island.

  55. hi have you any pictures from mid 70s when princess alexandria visited me and my brother met her near the pier

  56. Hello Debbie
    Good to hear from you. We remember you and your sister, and of course your father was here for several years. Thanks for offering to donate a copy of the Flotta Jotter and an ink drawing for our archives. We do have a complete set of Flotta Jotters but would be happy to accept the ink drawing, as we’re always on the lookout for display items/photos. I think I saw you recently in the September 1976 Flotta Jotter with a group of ‘departing Bechtel staff’.

  57. Hello David, I Just found your site. I used to work in Flotta, my father was Allan Harris. I found an original copy of the Flotta Jotter and an ink drawing.would you like me to send these to you for your archives?

    Also, hello Peter O’neill, I used to work for Bechtel with your dad, in the office with Marion Scott.

    I also recognised Maureen Shearers name, in another post on your site.

    Best wishes Debbie Harris

  58. Hello Peter
    Good to hear you have happy memories of the time you spent in Flotta. We’ve kept in touch with your parents at Christmas over the years and so have had some updates on the family. Look forward to seeing you if you visit Flotta.

  59. I am Peter O’Neill son of Jim who worked for Bechtel back in 1974 – 1976. My memories of your hospitality and the beautiful times spent on your special island will remain with me forever. Flotta is a very special place. Will return so

  60. Hello Rachael
    I’m glad you’ve enjoyed viewing our site. i hope you find that Flotta is everything you wish for, but please bear in mind it’s not all a bed of roses. The weather is often challenging, and it can take time to get used to living in a small community where a bit of give-and-take is required if everyone is to live in harmony in a fairly small area! Having said that, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, and wish you luck in your move to the island.

  61. Hello David
    Firstly I would like to thank you for sharing your site, it is informative and I have loved reading and looking at the pictures posted.
    My husband and me really wanted to extend a long hand shake and a big hello because we are moving to flotta a week next Monday. We are so excited and come arms wide open to embrace our new life and community! We have wanted to move to Orkney for such a long time, even though we have never visited it as felt like a calling of sorts to be there.
    We are looking forward to seeing the pictures in real life, seeing some of the faces and names into our reality and sharing your wonderful Island.

    All the best

    Rachael and Graham

  62. Hi Marjorie
    I tried sending the email from flottarian@aol.com and so I hope you’ve received it this time.

  63. Hi David

    Thanks for getting back to me. I didn’t get your email so just in case you have the wrong address you can get me at marjoriemanson@hotmail.com

    I look forward to hearing from you



  64. Hello Marjorie
    It’s good you are able to make this visit. You will probably have noticed by now that I’ve replied to you by email.

  65. Hello David
    I’m going to visit my great uncle Rober Taylor from Mounthoolie grave in Belgium on Tuesday 24th October It is 100 years to the day since he was killed aged 24 at Passchendaele. I’m wondering if you would be interested in getting some photos of my visit.
    I’m his great niece Marjorie Sutherland and feel proud that I’m able to do this. Let me know what you think.

  66. Hi Anna

    Sorry we missed your previous comment. I’m not sure if the old schoolhouse that we know of would be old enough to be where your ancestors lived but maybe someone else can help, and we’ll do a bit of delving here too and let you know if something turns up.

  67. Hi, there
    Reposting my 2016 comment below just in case you are able to help me . I think my original post must have slipped through the net.
    Fascinating website.
    A couple of months ago, I discovered a connection to Flotta – my 4 x great grandfather, William Sinclair, from Caithness was SSPCK schoolmaster in Flotta from 1795 – 1801. He was dismissed for being neglectful, but reinstated a few years later and was sent to Stroma. He was dismissed again for selling whisky from the Stroma schoolhouse!! Three children were born to his wife Helen Jack on Flotta – Helen in 1798, Margaret in 1803 and William in 1805. No descendants remained on Flotta, but I am interested in knowing if the old schoolhouse that exists is old enough to be where the family would have lived.

  68. My name is Moira Davie nee Bremner & I was born in Flotta manse in 1943 as my father was Rev William (Bill) Bremner who was the minister then. My Godmother was Letitia Barnet. My mother, Saidie, was close friends with Stella Work who died tragically young. On her return to Edinburgh she contacted & kept in touch with Stella’s sister Celia & Ron Chapman. As a result of that I spent a holiday at Big Lurdy in 1958 with Glynis. We raked hay,singled neeps, stacked peats & washed eggs which were all great experiences for city girls. My husband,Alan, & I visited Flotta for a day when in Kirkwall in 1987 but we unfortunately haven’t been able to return. It has been so strange to read the posting from Chris Chapman after all those years.

  69. Great!

    Can you email me privately as Jackie has scanned some slides of one of our visits to Flotta that I would like to send you. Quite a lot of Flotta folk.

    Jackie has been researching ferries etc so she means business I think:-)


  70. Hi Pirliebraes,
    I’m the younger son of the late Celia Chapman (nee Work) who was born at Greenside (of William (Wullock) Taylor Work and Jessie Jane Work (nee Sutherland; I had an Aunt (Elsie Isbister?) at Big Lurdy in the early to mid 1960’s. I had stayed there a couple of times then, visited the ruin of Greenside with my father Ronald Chapman, and also about 7 years ago visited the island again to try and track down Marina Sinclair. Between me and my relatives we have bits of the family jigsaw, although I’m a bit hazy about our family tree. I think I remember the Post Office as being in Peerie Lurdie?
    I have family photos taken around Lurdy over many years back, birth certificates etc etc. My half sister Glynis, and brother Jim (Fowler) are also still alive and also have family pictures etc. Jim lived at Big Lurdy for quite some time when he was young during and after WW2, and remembers quite a bit still; he is now 74 and lives in Norway. I’m so pleased to see the Musuem etc has flourished recently. I’d like to come back soon and see the newly opened museum etc. And I also wonder if any of our records might assist you? My email address is supplied if you want to get in touch privately, and I can send you some picture scans to begin with.

    Chris Chapman

  71. Hi Alec
    Of course we remember you! Things like getting into bother for trampling over farmland, a problem with the tide coming in around a land rover on the shore, etc. We also remember Jackie’s visit to Flotta – not long ago Phyllis ran across a faded Polaroid photo of you and Jackie at the PO cutting a chocolate biscuit as though it was a wedding cake (I think Marina had probably been making a suggestion that you should be married). It would be good to see any photos you have of your time in Flotta, and we’ll hopefully see you back here again. I’ll email you separately anyway. Good to hear from you.

  72. Hi Jackie,

    Sorry, but I actually have only heard from you on this site. I’ve heard from others via my email, though…I posted my email in the previous post, if you want to try again!


  73. Hi Jackie…

    I have received only one of your emails and replied back, but have heard nothing further. My email is cbrokens@hotmail.com in case emails are going somewhere else!

  74. Dear David
    Cast your mind back to 1974 and the original survey that was done on Flotta for the oil terminal. I was a young surveyor at the time and spent many months in all weathers looking through a theodolite. I got to know most of the then inhabitants of the island. I stayed at the manse with Rev Hutchison but frequently shared hospitality with you and Marina at the Post Office. At Easter 1974, I brought my then girlfriend Jackie (now wife of 41 years) to the island and we stayed (courtesy of Sandy Flett) at Roadside for a month.

    The memories are flooding back and we have decided that we must return on a visit. Do you or anyone else reading this remember us? I will try and dig out some photos.

    I was interested to see that you published a book about the island. How do I buy a copy?

    All the best
    Alec Mulvey

  75. HI Cindy, I have emailed you twice just checking to see via this site if you have received the emails. Jackie

  76. Thanks, David, for your your quick reply! It’s been an exciting couple of days finding more and more history regarding our family, and being contacted by our cousin, Jackie! My sister and I have dreamed of finding ancestors for quite some time. I appreciate your site and how helpful it has been so far!

  77. Hello Cindy,
    My name is Jackie Miller and we are your Simpson Clan that were born and lived in Flotta then moved to Canada. I would have to look at the family tree to see which Brother of my relly Sutherland was. We are from John Simpson and Jane Taylor. I have the list at home. and if you contact me at jaxs29@telus.net I will send you what we have found on the family tree.

  78. Hi Cindy
    Good to hear from you. You’d find a lot of relatives in Orkney (some of them in Flotta) and we’ll send you some info by separate email,soon. Some of your cousins read this blog and so they may get in touch.

  79. Hello Hamish
    Unfortunately, the Lada is now dust and its place in the garage has been taken by a Bond Bug!

  80. Hi David,
    I am also looking for relatives, and information on the farm at Saraquoy. I am Sutherland Simpson’s great-granddaughter, and live in WA state. Any information you can relay to me would be greatly appreciated!

  81. Hello David,
    how is the showroom of bygone cars now,last time I was there I saw a Lada or two amongst others,it was an unexpected surprise.

  82. Thank you David ,that is exactly what I needed to know .Now all we require is good weather !

  83. Hello Tim. The cafe in the Community Centre is open every day except Sunday during the summer, and our Heritage Centre is open every day. Visitors are asked to contact Security at the Terminal before going to Golta – the simplest way to do this is to call them on 01856 884359. They like to know when folk are there, for safety reasons. There is a very rough track to the rocket site and vehicles would need to have good clearance but it is possible to drive there. It wouldn’t take too long to walk there from the flare area. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  84. Hello David , I am bringing 7 Orkney U3A members across for the day to Flotta on Wednesday 26th July .We are bringing a couple of cars . Is the cafe and Heritage Centre open ? We would quite like to go across to the Golta Peninsular to look at the old Rocket site .I understand one has to contact the Flotta Oil terminal to gain access .Do you have any contacts for me to get permission for our group to get to see the old rocket site ? Is there an easy path to get across to it do you know ? Thanks for your help ,regards ,Tim Wright

  85. Hello again, Alastair
    There is a picture of Charles Abel on our blog –

  86. Another thing that might interest you. John Gilmour was telling me about his times on Flotta. He remembered the Sinclair family well and I am sure would want to send greetings.

  87. I was thrilled to have the copy of the school log and have told Charlie Abel who was minister in those days about my visit. If anyone reading this remembers these days long ago, I’d be so interested to hear. All the best for your Dad’s recovery.

  88. Hello Alastair. Phyllis here, replying on behalf of Dad. Thanks for your good wishes. Dad is still in hospital, having had a hip replacement on Monday (24th April). Hopefully he’ll be home before too long. I thought you would probably have been at the school during your time in Flotta as a divinity student, and so checked the log book. Maybe someone reading this will remember your visit.

  89. Hello David. I’ve just received a note from Kenny and Phyllis who we met at the Post Office last week. They’ve sent on the school record which shows that I was there in 1963. Could you thank them for sending it on, and could I also express the hope that you are home now and feeling better.

  90. Hi David, My husband and I are coming over from Australia in August and we are going to make the trip to Orkney. I am looking for information on my Great uncle James Sutherland born 1875 Walls looks like Cast Bister (cant read the writing). His parents were married 1870 on Walls. They were James Sutherland (his residence was Flotta) and Ann Cromarty (looks like Burrowstowe, Walls) I have searched for years to find out what happened to him as he married my Great Aunt in Leith, Edinburgh. She brought up my Mum and siblings as her Sister died in 1920. My Sisters knew her but nobody seems to know what happened to him. My question is, where would the best place be for me to find out more about the family when we are there? We will probably be staying at Kirkwall as my husband would like to visit Highland Park. How easy is it to visit Walls/Flotta? As you will know James Sutherland seems to be a very common name on Orkney and it seems most of them moved to Leith in Edinburgh which has made my search very difficult.
    I was so excited when I found your page and reading all the stories, thank you.


    Marilyn Bain

  91. Hi, looking for some historic info on a building in flotta that I find fascinating. I think this derilict building may not be far from you and the occupants were named Barnett at pan hope. The building in question may have been a post office at some time. I am on flotta twice a year and would be happy to meet to and have a chat.

  92. Hi Andy

    You’re right, the Peerie Museum at Peerie Lurdy is no more, at least for a while, as it’s in need of refurbishment. The new Heritage Centre is still a peerie museum and I’m sure will be called that sometimes.

    From now until the end of August, the Community Centre Cafe is open from midday until 3.30 pm, Wednesday to Sunday inclusive. (If it’s closed, it will still be possible to make yourself a cup of coffee at Peerie Lurdy.) The community centre is worth a visit, if you haven’t seen the community mural there.

  93. Davie. Here is a copy of a letter I will be putting in the paper next week.

    With reference to the listening hut in last weeks paper.
    When I was young, a long while ago, I was friendly with Lt Cdr Erland Clouston DSO and he told me the tale of his mother and the listening hut.
    He told me she was visiting the hut and its officer occupant who was describing to her how it all worked. According to Erland, the officer pointed to a galvanometer and said “ when that goes across the dial we have a U boat” At that very moment it did just that. He pushed the button and that was the end of UB116.
    A good tale and I have no further evidence of the fact.
    One thing does come to mind though. It was locally called the ‘listening hut’ but that would not have involved a galvanometer. I have done a bit of research on this ( Wikipedia) and found that there existed at the time ‘indicator loops’ which would have used galvanometers to indicate the presence of a submarine in the area. Could it be the Navy did not want the enemy to know they had developed electronic detection and wanted the public to keep thinking they were using old fashioned sound to detect submarines
    I have also found a picture of the inside of a listening hut at this site.
    Willie Watters

  94. With the opening of the Heritage centre, does that mean the Peerie Museum is no more? For someone visiting the island is there anywhere they can get a coffee and a cake?

  95. Thank you David – I will certainly link the photo to you.

  96. Hi Sheila
    Glad you found a suitable photo on our site. It’s important the tales are told of those who did not survive WW1 and I’m happy for you to use the picture. A mention of the source (the Lurdy blog) would be good, if possible.

  97. Hi David,
    I came across your website while looking for pictures and information on Tilting the Bucket, this game is mentioned in letters, written by my husband’s grandfather during his time in France in WW1. He did not survive and now it is time his tale is told. I am wondering if I am able to use this photo as it shows the game in action perfectly. I would of course acknowledge the photo in any way you would like. I originally found it on Weird Universe but think you are the original source.
    I look forward to hearing from you and hope you will forgive my total cheekiness in this request.
    Sheila Kennard

  98. David

    I am trying to find information regarding Pat Duffey my Godfather who worked and unfortunately died on Flotta in the 1980s (I’m not sure of the exact date).

    So I am looking for any information regarding Pat who originally came from South Oxfordshire and arrived to work on the Oil Terminal and then made Flotta his home until his untimely death.

    Any details would be greatly appreciated.

    Richard Walker

  99. Hi David, I’m trying to write a novel and was looking for an island to base my fictional character, and Flotta seems to have won. I might change names and details but the basic outline is Flotta. I’d love to have lived where you are, in a simple country life. Best to you and yours, Jan

  100. Hi Malcolm
    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience of time spent in Flotta. It’s always good to hear recollections from people who were here during the construction of the oil terminal. It was a busy time, and a lot of travelling on fishing boats and other vessels, especially in the early days.

  101. Hi David,
    I just thought I share my experiences with you and Flotta. I was working for a engineering company who at that time manufactured quarry equipment in the 70s In 1974 I was requested along with other Engineers to travel to Scotland to oversee the installation of Quarry equipment on the Isle of Flotta. At this point I never been further than Adrians wall but what lay ahead I could never imagined. We landed at Kirkwall and then driven to the Ferry Inn where we all stayed.For three weeks we would get up very early to catch the one and only fishing boat to Flotta where a large American Crew from Occidental were carrying out excavation work to build deep sea harbour and storage facilities. I wish I could have time to see more of Flotta and the Orkney Islands but I will never the warmth of the island people and it’s landscape. I have relatives in Banff and a old work colleague in Sanday and I’m continplating in looking them both up this year,so I may see Flotta again.

  102. Hi Cath
    I believe it may have been at the farm of Banks that your father-in-law spent his holidays and some of the Robertson family still live on the island. The Fletts would have been from Garson and that was one of the houses demolished when the oil terminal was built in the 1970s, but some of the Fletts still visit Flotta occasionally.

  103. Hi Cath,
    If you could tell us your father-in-law’s nan’s name, that would be helpful. Thanks

  104. hi Cath Turner -there are Robertsons and sometimes Fletts still on Flotta – there will be some Fletts on holiday this summer

  105. Hi David, are there any Robertsons or Fletts still on Flotta? My father in-law was sent there to his nan, every summer during WWII and for a few years after to fatten him up due to rationing. He remembers staying with his nan and finding eggs in the hedges and sleeping in a hay loft. It would be great to know if any of his family are still there.

  106. Hi David
    No idea where this name comes from but we’ll ask around and see if anyone has any suggestions

  107. Can anybody give us any ideas of the meaning of the farmstead name Camraljoy, which is where my wife’s (Fielda Flett) ancestors were from

  108. Hi Ernie
    Thanks for your good wishes to the people on Flotta. We have many memories of the Hewden workforce (some still keep in touch) and of social events in the camp above Sutherland Pier.

  109. Hi David Sinclair,

    Greetings from Ernie Gilroy, former Contracts Director of Hewden Contracts Limited during the terminal construction period 1975-80 and responsible for the earthworks, rock excavation, blasting and crushing etc. and airfield construction.

    You may not recall me however I have many cherished and happy memories of my time with the people on Flotta, too many to quote here. My best wishes for 2016 to you all

  110. Hi, there
    Fascinating website.
    A couple of months ago, I discovered a connection to Flotta – my 4 x great grandfather, William Sinclair, from Caithness was SSPCK schoolmaster in Flotta from 1795 – 1801. He was dismissed for being neglectful, but reinstated a few years later and was sent to Stroma. He was dismissed again for selling whisky from the Stroma schoolhouse!! Three children were born to his wife Helen Jack on Flotta – Helen in 1798, Margaret in 1803 and William in 1805. No descendants remained on Flotta, but I am interested in knowing if the old schoolhouse that exists is old enough to be where the family would have lived.

  111. Hello, Cousin Mina
    Good to hear from you. Hope you’re well, and we’ll send you a separate message soon.

  112. Hello Marjorie
    Good to hear of more folk with Flotta connections enjoying the book.

  113. Congratulations on your latest book. I have been living in Colorado for the past two years, close to my daughter and family. Nice to see a message from Marjorie Sutherland, went to school with Marjorie, many years ago!
    Best Regards,

  114. Hello David and Marina

    My name is Marjorie from Mounthoolie or Little Bu. I have just finished reading your latest book and realty enjoyed it and you even had a photo of Charlie Simpson my uncle in it. I visited your museum 2 years ago and Marina came down to speak to me. My roots are still in Orkney although I live in Hamilton now. When I was in Orkney last summer I met Meg of the Cottage and we had not seen each other for over 50 years how time flies. Ihad a smile when you answered her letter for a pen pal
    Best regards Marjorie Sutherland

  115. Good to hear that you enjoyed the book, Edith.

  116. Just read Tomorrow is a Whole New Day brilliant book brought me right back home.

    Edith originally from the Bu, Flotta

  117. Hi David,
    Just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying Tomorrow is a Whole New Day. What is it about Flotta that is so fascinating? But it is. Am enjoying your writing style – sounds just like you talking. And the history and the stories are rich and poignant in their vividness, and often funny. I do think Z Battery should be a bit further west on page v though, is that there to test us? Have had a very busy few months and this is exactly what I want to read right now.
    Hope you’re all well, that Kenny will put his feet up for once over the next few days, and that you all have a great Xmas and New Year,

  118. Dear Lyazzat
    I’ll send you a separate message to arrange a meeting, and hopefully will see you later this week.

  119. Dear David, I am writing a piece about Flotta’s oil terminal (history and modern days) and came accross your blog. You have done a fantastic job capturing and communicating various aspecs of FLotta’s life and history. I really enjoyed reading every article on your blog :))
    I will be flying to Orkneys next week and will spend Wedensday all day and Thursday morning on Flotta at the Terminal. Any chance I could meet you in person? Ideally I would have liked to hear your veiws on what the Terminal means to Flotta’s community.
    Many thanks in advance and looking forward to hearing from you.

  120. Hi There, only a month until our trip to Orkney. Have found lots of old pictures from Vera Smith, of Ellen and Jane Simpson, who ran the post office on Flotta, Uncle Peter (Gt, Gt) lifeboat and the salvage operations, storm damage of 1920’s, and will bring photocopies in case anyone there is interested. We are staying on the main island, at the other end to Kirkwall, near Old Man of Hoy, is there a ferry crossing still to Flotta, or do you get there from St. Margaret’s Hope, where our Gills Bay ferry will drop us off. We have a car. We are hoping to visit Flotta and find Housego.Greeniber, the RN signal station, all that belonged to the Simpson family. My husband’s gt, gt grandmother is Jane Simpson nee Taylor.
    Best regards
    Ian and Alison Standley

  121. Hi Inga

    We’ll pass on your message to Gayle. And thanks for your previous message too; glad you enjoyed your visit.

  122. Hello to Gayle. I noticed your message regarding the fiddle belonging to Thomas Sutherland, and your query about him and his wife, Mary Bella Kirkness. I think Mary Bella may be the same lady I remember. If so, she lived in Dundas Street, Stromness, and was a neighbour of my family. As far as I know, from my mother’s information, her maiden name was Kirkness. I can remember my mother talking of staying with her parent’s in Leith, when my mother and family went to Leith on holiday. When I remember her in Dundas Street, she was a widow, and kept lodgers, and also opened a little home bakery shop within the house. From Dundas Street, she went to a little cottage in Outertown, in Stromness, called Liddlesdale. It was there that she passed away many years ago. As far as I know, she had no family. She was a very quiet, reserved lady and I can still picture her going up and down the close where we lived, with her little dog called Bruno.
    Inga Ross

  123. Hello David, sorry I have taken so long to write on your site. First of all it is a marvellous site, and I have enjoyed reading all the posts. Tonight I thought I must reply after a lovely visit today, and thoroughly enjoyed the visit to the new museum – well done all, especially Kenny. My apologies that Chris and I did not make it back to the shop to see you and Marina, we got held up speaking to folk. Also thank you Marina for the tea and the grand blether. The photos I took in the museum turned out well so must try and send them out to you. I was told the Harvest Home is on 23rd October, so who knows, I could be across for that. Kind regards to you both, and Phyllis and Kenny too.
    Inga Ross

  124. For anyone interested: in the process of looking for an old family acquaintance I discovered she is a descendent of James Rosie, a mariner, born on Flotta in 1811, through his daughter, Elizabeth Ann Rosie born at Shadwell, Tower Hamlets, London. He died at Stepney. London, in 1865, aged 55.

  125. Staying In Orkney. As a visitor to Orkney, my family much enjoyed the Ferry Inn in Stromness (Pub B&B) and they now have more rooms in a separate annex. Search for Ferry Inn, Stromness. We never stayed in Kirkwall so no data on there. Regards, Eion MacDonald {Great Grandparents were from Stromness & Flotta}

  126. Hi Alison and Ian

    I got your message via Phyllis (thanks Phyllis) most of your Rellies all live in Canada. Ian and I were in contact a few years back before or around the time Vera passed away. My great granny was Ellen Simpson, my Grandfather was Peter Simpson first cousin of your Mother in law. We have pics of Vera, Peter, and Bertie all together. My mom was also Vera, named after Ian’s mom Vera, and my Uncle Abbie was named after Ian’s grandfather Bert. You can contact us at jaxs29@telus.net. We (all your Canadian rellies) live in Kelowna, Mission, Fort St John, Taylor, British Columbia. Hope to talk soon. Jackie Miller

  127. Hi Alison and Ian
    I know of the family and the property is Stanger Head and Housegeo (also called Greeniber). I’m not sure who Robbie was, but I can try to find out. We have accommodation on Flotta (see the ‘Flotta Facts’ category on this site for travel and accommodation info) but it might be better to stay in Kirkwall too, if you want to see the sights in Orkney. We’re always happy to see visitors on the island, especially those with Flotta connections and so we look forward to seeing you in September.

  128. Maggie Canavan, I am just now seeing your message. I am tickled. Please email me: dawnzdreams@yahoo.com with SIMPSON in the subject so I can find it out of all the junk mail. I believe I remember my mother talking about Lizzie. Yes, she had two boys, Richard and David. I hope this message finds you and I look very forward to hearing from you.
    April-Dawn Hensley

  129. Hi David, My husband’s mother, Vera Smith had a mother Jane Simpson who lived and owned land on Flotta. I believe they sold some of their property to the British Navy, Stavanger Head for the signal house, and they rented a Housego house to Ellen Simpson after the war. Also an individual named Robbie, paid rent to them for years. My husband (Jane’s grandson) and I will be bringing our sons to Flotta and Orkney Sept 2015. Do you know anything about these folk?
    Any recommendations where to stay on Flotta, or is Kirkwall a better choice?
    Thanks, Alison and Ian, from Southern California

  130. Hi April Dawn..My name is Maggie Canavan and I believe your Mother was my cousin. My Mother was Lizzie Simpson about two years younger than Peggy.I moved to Toronto in 1960 from Edinburgh Scotland and met your grandmother and mother [Margaret] she had two little boys David and I don’t remember the other ones name.I can probably answer a few of your questions

  131. Hello Davie and Marina, just found your site and have passed it on to Jackie O’ the Mill. Hope your all doing fine, everyone here in Canada is doing well.
    Say hi to Phyllis and Kenny from us all out here.
    Jackie Miller (Vera Simpson’s daughter)

  132. Hello Andrew
    Glad to hear you’re finding something of interest on the site. Several relatives of Audrey and Sid view the site too and so hopefully someone will be able to provide you with info on the land (we’ll let them know of your interest). Thank you for offering to share your father’s family tree; we would appreciate a copy for our Heritage Centre, if that’s possible. It can be emailed to flottarian@aol.com and I’m sure it would be of interest to many of our visitors. Thanks.

  133. to Andrew Matheson, would love to share that family tree, fletti@aol.com e-mail site Andrew if you wish, good luck in your search — Irvine

  134. Hello David,
    What a wonderful site – reading some of the comments I feel that there are a number of distant relations of mine commenting on matters, particularly with regard Saraquoy and Little Bu. I visited Flotta back in the early ’80s with my father – James Matheson. Maybe you will have known him. Sadly he passed away in 2011 but often spoke fondly of his time on Flotta during the war. He was resident in Edinburgh but his mother (Margaret Taylor, daughter of Wiliiam Taylor and Mary Simpson) was from Flotta, and his father James from Stromness. We met with Audrey and Sid, who I see referred to in an earlier post. I am trying to find out more about some land that my father apparently had a half share in at 2 Saraquoy….that’s as much as I have and as I recall it is a field that once had an electricity pylon on it, maybe still does. As his heir I guess that now falls to me, though as I live in Canada now I suspect it isn’t all that relevant nor valuable for that matter. If there is anything you could help me with it would be gratefully received. Also, my father had detailed a fair amount of his family tree which I am happy to share with anyone who may be interested.

  135. Hi Michael
    I’ve spoken to someone who can provide you with a bicycle. Please contact the Flotta Post Office when you arrive and we’ll put you in touch. Hope you get good cycling weather when you visit!

  136. Hi David,
    I have a random question: do you happen to know anyone on flotta who may have a spare bike (+lights and lock?) that I could hire next week/the week after? I’m coming up to flotta on holiday for a week but could do with some way to get from Houton to stromness to meet up with a friend so that I don’t have to spend all day on a bus.
    Many thanks,
    Michael Thompson

  137. Hello David, I was in touch with your daughter Phyllis when I discovered that I had bought Thomas Sutherland’s fiddle at a car boot sale in Edinburgh around 2 years ago. Although I’ve not managed to yet, I plan on taking it on a pilgrimage back to Flotta and hopefully have it repaired in Orkney. I’ve been researching on and off since I got it and have just came across your page. Phyllis had sent me a picture of Thomas before but it is lovely to learn more. I still hope to find out whether him and Mary Bella Kirkness had any children and where they ended up as I’d love to pay my respects. I’ll make the journey soon, I hope but public transport from Edinburgh to Flotta will be difficult. In the meantime, your information here is much appreciated!

  138. Hello Craig
    I believe Phyllis has sent a reply to you regarding your visit. Richard visits Flotta regularly but he and his family live in Kirkwall and I’m sure you’ll be able to catch up with him either in Flotta or Kirkwall. I remember meeting you with your father and brother the last time you visited and hope to see you next week too.

  139. Hello David, and everyone else on Flotta.
    We are due into Kirkwall on 11 October, and hope to get to Flotta on Monday the 13th.
    We’d love to meet as many of you as possible. Also hoping Richard Shearer will be home during our visit, as he lives next to our property. Our family bought the land that my grandmother grew up on. This will be my third visit.
    I sent Phyllis a note earlier today, and I hope we can somehow connect.
    Cheers to everyone, and see you soon!!
    Craig Murray

  140. Hi Pirliebraes, Thanks for contact look forward to visiting next year.Eileen

  141. Hi Sarah Jane
    Glad you enjoyed your visit and found the gravestones you were looking for.

  142. Hi Eileen
    Your husband’s ancestors would probably have come from Peerie Lurdy as there were Sutherlands there for many years. The heritage centre will be open if you visit next year.

  143. Dear David,
    I just wanted to let you know that I found the gravestones I was looking for in the kirkyard earlier today, in fact my great-great-grandmother’s stone was the first I saw when I entered the cemetery. The reason she didn’t appear in the index of gravestones in the peerie museum is because her name on the gravestone was ‘Jean’ not Jane. She died in 1930 and is on the same stone as her husband Thomas Sutherland and their daughter Mary, the adjacent stone is their son Richard. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Flotta and will definitely be back again to spend more time looking through all your fascinating archive material. Very best wishes, Sarah Jane

  144. Excited to see your site some of my husbands ancestors came from Lurdy in Flotta it was the name that drew me his family name from Flotta was Sutherland.When is the heritage centre open?I will not be this year but hopefully next year.

  145. Hi David, thanks for such interesting posts and photos. I wonder if you can answer a question?… Around 1975, when the oil terminal construction was getting going, a grass airstrip was laid-out somewhere on Flotta, as a temporary measure. I think about a year later the present tarmac airstrip was finished on the west side.
    Where was the original grass site? It’s mentioned briefly in various books, but I cant find any description of where it was.
    Hope you can help.

  146. many thanks for all the info received, I have replied also to Phyllis.

  147. Hi Colin

    You should have received an email by now with some information on the farm of Saraquoy, with thanks to Sid and Audrey for providing this.

  148. I am hoping that you may be able to assist with a question relating to Flotta. Can you tell me what Saraquoy consists of. i.e. is it an area, a road or a farm etc. The reason I ask is that I was reading about Prof. Sutherland Simpson and noticed he was born at Saraquoy. Census records 1841-1911 for my predecessors (William and George Taylor) indicate that they also occupied Saraquoy. Any info would be much appreciated.

  149. Thank you

  150. Hi Dorothy

    I’ve passed on your email address to Kathleen and she will pass it on to Margaret as well. I’m sure they’ll be in touch.

  151. Hi! I am trying to reach by cousins Kathleen and Margaret Barnett. They would be in their 70s. Their father was R.H. Barnett, the last address I had for him was The Cottage, Flotta, Orkney, KW163NP
    Any help you could provide would be appreciated.
    Dorothy Robb Wilber

  152. Hello Craig
    Good to hear you are planning to visit again later this year. I’m sure you will be fine with bringing your car to Flotta (www.orkneyferries.co.uk) but, if you would rather have a guided tour, just let us know and that can be arranged too. Hope to see you all in October.

  153. Hello David,
    My wife, cousin and I are visiting Orkney in October of this year, and will be out to Flotta as well. Our American family owns the property that my grandmother was born on. She was Mary Thomson. A few years ago we visited, and Phyllis Gee met us at the ferry terminal and gave us a grand tour. Do you think we will be fine with bringing our car onto the island and touring on our own? Or should we have a guide to help us along? If so…..how do we arrange this.
    We love your island, and look forward to our visits.
    Craig Murray

  154. hello Flotta – I have been doing research into the fallen of Fordingbridge Hants — he was at Sangerhead Battery – Roayl Marine Artillery (service number RMA/11691) according to the Forces war records.

    Below – is the research so far. — Question is he died on the hospital ship ‘Garth Castle’ on the 8th Augst 1917 – was the ship there at that time – I like to pin these things down???? !!!!!!.

    In ‘Downton and the First World War’ – by Edward Green – Arthur Thomas is recorded as born in 10th July 1887 in Alderbury and enlisted in 1906. He married Julia May (nee WITT) of Fordingbridge in 1916. She is recorded in the 1901 Census as working as a cook in Alderbury. Later in the 1911 Census she is living with her parents in ‘Sweatford Cottage’ Fordingbridge and she is still working as a cook.

  155. My father Malcolm Flett was from Garson and his father ( My grandfather) was the preacher in the gosple hall. My uncle William Arnot Flett ( father’s brother ) was in the Seaforh Highlanders during the last war and later on while sitting on and guarding the regimental silver in the guards van on the way to London. He and his pipe major ( Donald Mc Loud ) spent the time playing their janters. By the time the train reached London they had come up with the tune Flett from Flotta. Auntie Anne ( Willy o the Slapp ) and her two other sisters ( Dolly and Kitty ) were also from Garson.

  156. Good to hear from you, Cathy. Hope you’ll be back here soon, fully fit.

  157. Brilliant David. Really enjoyed reading this. Miss you all back asp Cathy x

  158. OK, After this post I will quit pestering. Ha ha! My grandmother was born Maggie Simpson on June 8, 1907. She was the daughter of John Simpson and Mary Taylor. She was one of 12 kids: Charles, James, John, Neil, Jeannie, William, (Maggie), Mary, Allan, Clara (who I believe lived in Chicago), Ceicle, and Ian. Are any of them still living? Also, are any of them still on Flotta? I would be interested in finding any of my family. And pictures. I have some of my grandmother when she was young (and older).

  159. PS – After my grandmother moved to Canada, she married and became a Dewar. I am hoping some of her family stop in and I can reconnect to my roots, I feel like an orphan! ha ha! Many of her people used to write to her (snail mail), so I am hoping that maybe the younger ones would remember Margaret Dewar. I know she also had a brother names Allen too. I am trying to remember all of the names. She also had a sister who lived in Chicago. She named my mom Margaret Mary Taylor Dewar, so there must have been some Taylor blood. I think they nick named my grandmother Maggie, but I know she was also called Peggy a lot too. Her father’s name was John Simpson I believe.

  160. Hello David, I must say that I could about cry! My grandmother, Margaret Or Peggy Southerland Simpson (Spelling) was from the Orkney Island of Flotta! She was one of 13 children who lived in Little bu. My grandmother was my whole world and I wish I had not been so young to take notes of all she told me. She had moved to Toronto, Canada to work and then to California shortly after I was born. My mother passed away in 2002, just as I was on the trail to try and find my grandmother’s people. My “Granny” and I had always planned to take a trip to Flotta when I was older. Even though that did not happen, you can bet she took me to all the Scottish fair games in Southern California! I know she has family still in Scotland and also New Zealand and California, but I have no idea…except that I believe the Kay Schroer that posted was my mother’s Uncle’s daughter. My mother had a few Aunts and Uncles, but one was indeed named Cecil.

    Anyway, I am so overcome with emotion. Finding your site is like finding home! If you could help me find any information, pictures, family or anything at all I would be grateful! My grandmothers parents owned a farm and store on the island way back. My grandmother was born in the early 1900’s. I think 1912? I also have an Uncle who died in the war that is buried there…I think his name was Robert.

    Thank you for making this site! April-Dawn

  161. Dear David,

    A wee bit on the Flotta cross slab. This came into the possession of the National Museum as part of the collection of George Petrie, Orkney lawyer and antiquarian, which was purchased by the Museum in 1877. How it came into Petrie’s possession is a mystery (to me at least). At the suggestion of Fraser Hunter, who’s a curator in the Museum, I looked through Petrie’s notebooks in the Museum Library but there was nothing I could find on the Flotta cross. There is also a quantity of Petrie’s correspondence in the RCAHMS in Edinburgh which I’ve also looked through with a similar result. There is a brief file in the Orkney Archives which has correspondence that notes that the cross slab decorated Petrie’s garden in Kirkwall for a number of years. It would be good if anyone had any information on how Petrie acquired it and from whom.

    Sir Thomas Smith Clouston was a notable Orcadian and a leading light in 19th Century British psychology (see profile in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography) but in Orkney he is at least as well known as the father of Storer Clouston, the historian and novelist. T S Clouston is buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh and the relevance here is that the central panel on his very grand gravestone is clearly a direct model of the Flotta cross slab. I can only presume that this was modelled by Storer Clouston for his father.

    Finally, it was good to see the material posted about Sutherland Simpson’s Flotta connections.

    Best wishes,

    Donald Sutherland,

  162. Hi Rodney

    Thanks for your offer of an up-to-date photo of the Flotta Stone – it would be good to have that. The delay in replying is because Phyllis was going to look for what little info we have on the stone and that hasn’t turned up yet!

  163. hello david,
    I went to see the Stone cross taken from the flotta church. Its in the new part of the natural history museum in Edinburgh. Do you know the history of the stone. I could send you a photo of the stone

  164. Hi Davie, i was amazed to hear my grandfather and great uncle, Norman Norquay and Jock Dass , from a link on this website. I very much like to hear of my heritage. just want to say thanks. 🙂

  165. Hi Rab, Danny Rosie, who taught you at KGS, died in January 2013.

  166. Best I know, Danny Rosie passed away a long time ago. I too now live in Australia, but in Melbourne, not as warm as you but a lot warmer than Orkney.

  167. hi Davie, grand site. me faither is Davie Sutherland the policeman [retired long ago] I noo live in Katherine, northern territory, aus. a tad warmer than the auld oot hoose at stanstane. can you, wi wide knowledge o gossip, tell me if danny rosie is still alive. I niver kent he wis a flotta man and I feel a peedie bit guilty fur a the cheek I gaed him.

  168. What a great website Davick. Good on you!
    Some very interesting and amusing stories to keep me amused while living sooth.

    Lee Thomson
    Sooth Wa’s

  169. In mid to late 1940s (when I was 6 or so)I saw a photo of my grandfather’s cousin a Mr MacKay with a bairn in arms outside a stone cottage(?) on Flotta, which he Mr MacKay had never left in his life. Grandfather was John Duncan Thomson (ex Orkney) married to Anne Mason (dead in 1920s) of Stomness in Leith where they and I lived. I will try and find it

  170. Dear David

    well done !! the project is looking great one of these days will get a chance to see it all – I reckon by that time you’ll have all exhibits in place and a curator in a uniform ( dungrees no doubt ). just great to see that all come together after all the work and planning All the best Irvine

  171. Hi David. You didn’t mention your love of the little lady from Italy!! All your little Italian girls in Kenny G’s shed! Lambrettas! David has another passion other than the his love of his life! Neil Sinclair Stromness.

  172. Hello David and Marina!
    My daughter just showed me your website, and I’m so glad that she did! My husband was the summer minister on Flotta and Hoy back in ’99 and 2000. We think of Flotta often with fond memories, and hope to bother you again sometime!
    Elaine Larsen

  173. I am just sitting here David with a book you signed for my husband 10/09/1981. He worked at the oil terminal and his name was Mick Bailey . Don’t suppose you remember him..

  174. Hello Joe

    It’s good to hear from you, and we would be delighted to post your photos on the site. Just email them to flottarian@aol.com and we’ll get them posted for identification. I assume you’ve seen Sheena Hewitt’s Flotta Web Guide. Her book about her great grandfather, ‘An Introduction to Arthur C Hay’, has a section on the Hay/Barnett family in Argentina.

    Look forward to seeing your photos.

  175. Hi Davie.

    This is Joe Sutherland (Junior) from 5 Tanning Way, Woodvale, Western Australia.

    I really like your website and I have a few Flotta photos that I have been keeping — hoping that someone would be able to tell me who the folk in them were. Is there a way I can post them on your site to get them identified?

    I imagine they are mostly of the Flotta Post Office Sutherland Family (of Peedie Lurdy) and the Barnett Family (Pan House and ‘The Cottage’). As you know dad is a Sutherland, who’s granny was of Simpson stock and mum is of the Barnett and Robb (of Quoys, Hoy). The Barnett’s (originally spelled ‘Barnet’) used to be the post office at the pan until it went to the Sutherland family at Peedie Lurdy. Some of the Barnett family spent a bit of time in Rosario, Argentina, which is really exciting and some of the photos are probably taken there.

    All the best and I hope you are keeping o.k.


  176. Hello David, sorry to have missed you today on Flotta. Would I be able to put in an order for some flotta t towels andostcards perhaps? Thank you for looking after our fathers memorial bench at the top of the hill. Much appreciated. Much love to you and the family, sue bright nee Flett

  177. Hi David,

    I just discovered your great website and will continue exploring it after I finish this message.

    Singne and I met you and Marina in 2008 during a wonderful day with Phyllis and after a great lunch cooked by Kenny. I hope we will return to Flotta next year, it’s such a beautiful place, and it would be nice to spend a bit longer with you next time.

    Best wishes,
    David Palmquist

  178. Hi there Davy,

    Just thought I’d say hello!!!!!!

    Spoke to Aileen today,and she sends her love to you all.

    Harry Chapman

  179. Hi, i’m a pupil from Stromness Academy and i am currently doing my Fereday history project on Flotta. I have found your website very helpful but im stuck on finding information about the community school, it would be very helpful if you could post some information about it. Thanks 🙂 Reanne McArthur from Stromness Academy 2RZ

  180. Hi, David and Marina,

    Hope you are all well and a late happy new year! Hope your getting on fine and will probaly see you in the summer time. Best Wishes Chloe Robertson

  181. This is amazing. I stumbled on your website by accident when I placed a google search for Peter Robertson. Had just received an email regarding a proposed 2013 school reunion and his name was not on the list.
    My father was Cecil Simpson of Munthoolie and Little Bu, we lived at Scapa.
    I have lived in California for many years now but will likely return for this reunion. My sister Marian lives in Germany, dad was not thrilled by the prospect of his daughter marrying a German!
    Your Lurdy project and construction is impressive.
    Kay Simpson Schroer

  182. Happy new year, fae yer locum district nurse, thanks for makin’ me welcome over christmas.


  183. Hi Davie (& Willick)

    Good to see your both as contrary as ever!!!

    It’s now just over 10 years since I escaped back to ‘God’s Country (North Yorkshire)

    Give my regards to Kenny & Phyllis plus of course Marina;

    Best Regards

    Colin Crrossley & family

  184. Hi David and Marina,
    Just thought I’d say hello, I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts on this site, which I came across by chance a while ago. I haven’t looked at all the posts yet, but look forward to reading them all in the near future.

    Richard Mayson

  185. Hi there David, It was lovely to meet Marina at recent wedding. I have enjoyed reading your posts and looking at all the photos of Flotta, I will need to get for a wee visit soon.
    Maureen Shearer

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