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.
Today we are driving up to Durness, as far northwest as you can get by car on the British mainland, and we’re probably going to some of the most remote areas of our road trip so far.
Photo of the day
Heading past Locha Chairn Bhain on the scenic B869.
The intriguing Globe rock sculpture by Joe Smith at Knockan Crag. Just down the path behind us there was also an excellent information hut explaining about the geology and history of the area.
Jarno managing a straight selfie photo… finally 😉 Behind us the ruins Ardvrek Castle on Loch Assynt, originally the 15th century seat of the MacLeods of Assynt.
How cool is this?! Can’t imagine there are many fish delivery trucks painted like this.
A cute little red house near Rhicarn.
One big surprise as we drove north were the beautiful clean white beaches, with crystal clear waters. Clachtoll Beach was typical of the many beautiful beaches we saw.
In the beach car park the jaw and skull of a Fin Whale that had got stranded on Raffin Beach in 2007.
There maybe trouble ahead.
I’m not sure who was more concerned, us or the cows, anyway the road ended up being (just) wide enough for all of us.
Stoer Lighthouse, and it was for sale! Interesting…
The steep cliffs below Stoer Lighthouse.
Locha Chairn Bhain
The craggy coast around Locha Chairn Bhain and Eddrachillis Bay was stunning.
The snaking road continued alongside Locha Chairn Bhain then on to Unapool.
..and we did just that, on this bench by the road just above Unapool.
Bright green grass on these mini islands on Gleann Dubh near Kylesku.
Magnificent views back over the Assynt region (Norse for rocky ridge) to Quinag and Sail Ghorm.
The final stretch north to Durness as we passed Cranstackie. Despite the A838 being an ‘A’ road it was single track most of the way, reminding us that we really were in a remote location.
Kyle of Durness
Looking back along the Kyle of Durness from Keoldale.
At Keoldale we decided to stop and check out the ferry times to cross to Cape Wrath the following morning. But the ferry didn’t run today due to the weather, so we’ll be back in the morning to check if it is crossing then…
We carried on to Balnakeil Bay, and wow what a beach. Again we hadn’t imagined that the beaches would be so perfect or the water so clear, but it kind of makes sense seeing there are so few people to pollute them.
Then before stopping in Durness for the night we continued a little further east to Smoo Cave.
Inside Smoo Cave there was this little stand where tours could be arranged, but not today, again due to the weather.
However, despite no one being around, you could still enter the walkway into the first chamber…
… to view the Smoo Cave Waterfall. A nice little surprise to finish the day.