I’m not entirely sure why, but on my arrival at Flower of Scotland I immediately found myself mentally quoting the opening lines of Shakespeare’s Scottish play:
When shall we three meet again
In thunder, lightning or in rain?
I’ve honestly no idea why; while the region is intended to offer a taste of Scotland and there is rain over a part of it, the setting is very far removed from any notion of Scotland of old, and the theme is hardly one of vaunting ambition or anything one might associate with royal murder – although there is a touch suggestive of witchcraft awaiting discovery as one explores. Perhaps it was the mist swirling about me at the landing point, but whatever the reason, the misty landing point made for an atmospheric start to my visit.
Occupying a Full region, Flower of Scotland is a veritable tour of the highlands and more remote parts of the Scottish coast created for our enjoyment by Eloo Lionheart (Neutron Nebula). Within it, we can wander from a small coastal hamlet where fishing plays a major role, through to the uplands where an old fortification sits, the lands between home to farms, bubbling streams, lavender fields, ruins and even a beachy cove.
The landing point sits on the region north-east coast, a slightly rickety-looking bridge connecting the local farm with the aforementioned fishing hamlet, the mist rising from the waters that cut into the land to form a shallow inlet. While the village may only have a single waterfront street and small row of four houses, the wharves and warehouses standing at the far end of the street from the bridge suggest this is a busy place for fish processing / packing, as do the number of fishing boats either alongside or in the bay, while the concrete ramp up to wharves suggest this work is a modern addition to the simpler days of fishing that may once have been the village’s source of income, but that’s purely conjecture on my part.
On their arrival, the landing point uses local chat to inform visitors that the castle offers further information on the region, referring to the fortification located up on the rocky hills to the south-west.
The best route to reach the latter is to cross the bridge into the farm, and then follow the winding the road that makes its way through the setting, taking a left turn at the old telephone kiosk and then follow the footpath, trail up past a crofter’s cottage and outward up and around the shoulder of the hills to reach the castle. Following track and path will take visitors past several of the inland points of interest in the region: the ruins of an old chapel that is set – very appropriately – within a field of poppies, its more recent replacement lying just across the track, plus views over the fields and a second path that can be used to reach the southern beachy cove that backs onto the fishing warehouses and wharves.
Eastwards from the telephone box, the track leads to a rather fanciful cottage that is distinctly “unScottish” in its styling, but looks like the kind of place that one should be able to find when exploring the wilder parts of Scotland. Boards outside proclaim it to be an apothecary and place where psychic readings are offered. Inside, it is curious mix of potion-making, magic (offering that suggestion of witchcraft that offers a tenuous link back to Macbeth), soft toys and bric-a-brac that is both oddly cosy and also eclectic, suggestive of the occupant’s nature without actually revealing them in person.
Beyond the cottage sits an old ruined tower on the hump of a low coastal hill. by far the tallest structure in the setting, it seems long deserted, although for the daring, an aging wooden stairway winds its way up to its uppermost chamber. Here, views back across the region can be enjoyed; in particular, this gives a good view of the northern coast, where the rain is moving in, and the local sheep show they are familiar with the turn of weather by making their way eastwards, out of the rain and over another bridge – this one covered – that provides a route back to the the farm.
All of the above barely begins to scratch at the wealth of detail within the region or the opportunities for photography it offers. Presented under an evening sky, the region lends itself to a wide range of EEP settings – I opted for more of a daytime look for the photos here – and comes with a rich sound scape to add to the sense of immersion. I would note that with many of the buildings in the setting being either fully or partially furnished, as well as the general landscaping, animals, etc., this is a texture / mesh heavy region, so those on mid- or low-end systems may need to adjust settings (I found it easier to turn off shadows when moving / camming around). However, this doesn’t detract from Flower of Scotland being well worth a visit.
- Flower of Scotland (Peaceful Shore, rated Moderate)