Great weather on day twenty-four as we set-off to the most northeasterly point of Britian. Plenty of lighthouses and a few castles along the way.
Photo of the day
Castle of Mey, previously the Queen Mother’s Scottish pad.
After heading east out of Bettyhill we made our first stop of the day at Armadale, where we found this small bay hidden at the end of a farm track beyond Reismeave. There was a winch and basket down to the bottom of the steep cliffs, we assumed for fishing.
At the top of the cliff there were these great masts, at first we thought it was some kind of radio aerial, then we realised they were for hanging and drying the fishing nets.
First of many lighthouses today at Strathy Point.
Actually, no longer a working lighthouse, but holiday lets.
The view back west along the coast towards Armadale Bay.
Very choppy waters!
Waves crashing against the rocks.
At Strathy Beach the waters were calm, quite a contrast from the rough waters around the corner at Strathy Point.
A small quiet cove at the far end of Portskerra.
We were going to stop at Sandside Beach for a picnic, and wondered why no one else was around…
… then we got some clues from this sign, we moved on.
St Mary’s Chapel
The 12th century St Mary’s Chapel on top of cliffs near Crosskirk.
The remains of a windmill at the Castlehill Flagstone Trail, with Dunnet Head in the background.
So we’ve visited the most westerly point of mainland Britain at Ardnamurchan Point, and now we’re at the most northerly point at Dunnet Head. Plus another Lighthouse as a bonus!
On the way back to the main road we caught these views looking east towards Scarfskerry.
Castle of Mey
A royal stop on our tour! Castle of Mey, previously owned by The Queen Mother as one of her private residences. Fascinating to look around. Although grand, it also felt surprisingly homely with many grandma type knick-knacks here and there. The guides were great, very enthusiastic and informative, clearly they were very proud to work there.
Lots of colour in the walled garden
Full of blooming flowers.
Such tourists! Yay, made it to John o’Groats in the northeastern corner of Scotland. To Jarno’s delight, named after a Dutchman John de Groot.
Just a few miles east of John o’Groats, we arrived at Duncansby Head Lighthouse. In the distance you can see Muckle Skerry, with the Pentland Skerries High and Low Lighthouses. Three lighthouses in one picture, bargain!
Then looking back south we could see over to the spectacular Stacks of Duncansby.
We spotted Ackergill Tower whilst looking for Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. Now a hotel, but looked very neat on the waters edge so stopped for a quick photo.
Our final lighthouse of the day at Noss Head, just north of Wick.
Castle Sinclair Girnigoe
Just to the west of Noss Head, we took a short hike down a track to the remains of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. Actually two castles (15th and 17th century) merged into one. Perched precariously on rocks over Sinclair Bay, it was great that we could ramble around the remains, but it did somehow feel that it might collapse at any minute!
A final look back at Castle Sinclair Girnigoe as the sun started to set, before continuing on to Wick and then Lybster for the night.
We got up early today to catch the small passenger ferry across the Kyle of Durness, and then on to Cape Wrath via minibus. However, due to poor weather, the ferry was not operating today. So we’ll have to leave that adventure for another trip 😉 As we now had an extra half day on our hands, we decided to continue our journey to Bettyhill, arrive early and have a well deserved afternoon relaxing.
Photo of the day
The empty A838 over the Moine.
Well that’s where we were meant to be sailing on the ferry to the other side of the Kyle of Durness. You can just about make out the ferry landing through the rain… if not, use your imagination.
Not sure why we are looking so happy, actually we were a bit gutted that we couldn’t visit Cape Wrath today.
The beaches were again remarkable, fine sand, clear waters, just a shame it was a bit cold and wet for August!
And just a minute or two east of Sango Beach we arrived at Ceannabeinne Beach, equally beautiful (and rainy).
Photo of Jarno filming a phone box… OK, so there wasn’t so much to see.
A great view looking down on Ard Neakie in Loch Eriboll, connected to the mainland by a sand spit.
As we drove across the Moine along the A838 the land became quite flat all of a sudden. If you look carefully you can see some coloured bags to the left of the road. It turns out this was a peat bog, and peat was being dug and bagged.
A shipwreck along the Melness Coast at Talmine Bay. The Kyle of Tongue and the Rabbit Islands in the background.
And yet another beach cow… this is getting weird. She didn’t look too impressed to see us.
Across on the east side of the Kyle of Tongue we tried to find our way to Castle Varrich, but without a detailed map, and no mobile reception we struggled. As we’d already had our fair share of castles over the last few weeks, we decided to move on.
Yay! Suns out again as we reached Bettyhill and Torrisdale Bay.
Just east of Bettyhill we found the Strathnaver Museum, housed in the old parish church. A great little place full of local artifacts and explanations about the clearances, with friendly helpful volunteers on hand.
And the view from our Bettyhill hotel as the sun set over Torrisdale Bay.