Fortress Flotta

Flotta was at the centre of the Royal Naval anchorage during two world wars and thousands of people swamped the small island. During World War One 10,000 troops watched a boxing match on Flotta. Battleship HMS Vanguard accidently exploded with the loss of more than 800 lives, a mile from Flotta in July 1917. In 1915 King George V visited Flotta to inspect the troops and during World War II, his son George VI watched a film in the wartime cinema. Popular pipe band tune Flett of Flotta dates from shortly after this time.

  • Flotta and Scapa Flow
    Head over to the island of Flotta, meaning Flat Island in Old Norse. We will take the ferry straight over Scapa Flow. As we approach Flotta we will give you an overview of the old WWI King George V pier on the Golta peninsula.
  • Golta and Talisman Energy
    Drive under the gas flare at the Talisman oil terminal on Flotta. Orkney Uncovered will gain special and exclusive access to this side of the island through the oil terminal.
  • Z-Battery at Golta
    Visit the remains of one of the most rarely visited and what would have been the most powerful rocket battery in Britain during WWII. Known as the Scapa Barrage. 25 Heavy Anti-Aircraft batteries, supported by numerous Light Anti-Aircraft posts and rocket sites, all manned by the Army. The three inch rockets or ‘unrotated projectiles’ (Ups) as they were known, were fired up to a height of 22,000 ft from single or multiple launcher sites, the latter being known as Z batteries.
  • YMCA building and St Vincent Pier
    Visit the remains of the YMCA recreation building from 1917. This building would have been enormous and made from sandstone and used by Officers. Large fireplaces and chimneys remain today. Visit St Vincent pier, built primarily for a landing point for the YMCA building.
  • Bomb Craters
    Short walk away from the south of YMCA building lie 5 craters filled with water. These were made by German carpet bombing of the defences of Golta during WWII. Impressive to say the least.
  • Boom Defence and the Calf of Flotta
    See what remains of the anti-submarine boom net defence network, protecting Weddel Sound between Flotta, Calf of Flotta and Fara. The area of water is still inaccessible for most vessels.
  • Scapa Flow Viewpoint
    Drive up to scenic viewing point to see aerial view of Scapa Flow. I will point out the islands associated to the defences of Scapa Flow during WWI and WWII. Panoramic views over this small island. This location also has the biggest wind turbine in the Orkney Islands.
  • Buchannan Battery
    Superb Coast Defence battery. Guided tour of one of the best examples of a TWIN 6pdr still left today in Northern Scotland. (Easily accessible).
  • Stanger Head Port War Signal Station
    All vessels coming in and out of the Southern Approaches to Hoxa Sound would signal this position. Truly impressive site with mainly buildings still visible including the 6” gun battery which commands outstanding views Hoxa Sound.
  • Flotta Kirk and War Memorial
    Charming Kirk nestled on the Flotta South shores.
  • NEB Battery
    Visit the site of the powerful Neb WWII battery. Home to a TWIN 6pdr for defence against Motor Torpedo Boats and two 12pdr position for heavier defence against large vessels. Superb location overlooking the island of Hoy and the Hackness Battery and Martello Tower.
  • Flotta Airfield
    Drive around the perimeter of Flotta passing by Flotta Airstrip used in the 1970’s for construction of the Oil Terminal.
  • Naval Cinema
    Visit what remains of the WWII Flotta Naval Cinema. Impressive structure. You can still see the projection ports and what was once the main entrance.

This tour covers the island of Flotta during WWI and WWII in detail. Most of the sites are accessible by vehicle and a short walk over light to medium terrain. This is an island that is vastly under explored and is a fascinating island to visit.

Tour Notes:

  1. Prices on request.
  2. Orkney Uncovered includes bottled water and snacks.
  3. Tour does not include lunch.
  4. Places to eat: Hoxa Café, Sands Hotel, Standing Stones Hotel.
  5. Our transport accommodates up to 7 guests.
  6. Visual aids, commentary and aerial cartography, where appropriate, accompany this tour.
  7. Walking – moderate.
  8. Toilet and refreshment stops en route.
  9. Recommend warm and waterproof clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
  10. Tour may be subject to change due to adverse weather conditions.