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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.

Responses

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
    http://indicatorloops.com/loopworks.htm
    Willie Watters

  3. 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?

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

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

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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

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

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

  22. 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,
    Mina

  23. 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

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

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

    Edith originally from the Bu, Flotta

  26. 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,
    Margaret

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

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. Hi Inga

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

  31. 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

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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}

  35. 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

  36. 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.

  37. 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

  38. 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

  39. 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

  40. 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.
    Cheers
    Jackie Miller (Vera Simpson’s daughter)

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.
    Thankyou

  44. 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!

  45. 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

  46. 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!

  47. 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.

  48. 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

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

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

  51. 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.

  52. 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

  53. 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.

  54. 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.
    Al.

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

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. Thank you

  59. 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.

  60. 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

  61. 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.

  62. 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.
    Cheers………..
    Craig Murray

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

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

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

  67. 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).

  68. 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.

  69. 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

  70. 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,
    Edinburgh

  71. 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!

  72. 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

  73. 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.🙂

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

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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

  78. 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

  79. 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

  80. 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.

  81. 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

  82. 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..

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

    Joe

  85. 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

  86. 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

  87. Hi there Davy,

    Just thought I’d say hello!!!!!!

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

    Harry Chapman

  88. 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

  89. 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

  90. 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

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

    Christina

  92. 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

  93. 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

  94. 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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