Blogs from Caithness County, Scotland, United Kingdom, Europe


Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » John O'Groats September 1st 2017

Technically, not the start, as I did the John O'Groats start signpost yesterday, after I left the ferry, and then I cycled off to my Glamping Pod. Breakfast at the Sea View Hotel, with coffee reinforcement for the day ahead. Then, headed off on today's journey and was 2kms in when I started having chain issues again. Checked and loosened binding chain as best as possible. This seemed to work for a while, then worsened. I will have looked to have it at in Inverness. I tinkered, rode on, then total failure. After checking everything, I notice one jockey wheel on my derailleur had departed somewhere behind me. So,...not going anywhere at this point. I knocked on a couple of rural doors and no answer, then I found a rural clinic and was able to get ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » Thurso August 30th 2017

Aug.30 ... Rose at 3:30am for 16k ride to Newcastle train station. After a quick coffee, cereal and packed lunch (thank you, cousin), l loaded bike and was on my way. I quickly learned tree lined offroad bike routes are dark places, and my bike lighting didn't provide much comfort in my rush to meet my train. I took to the roads to reduce anxiety and they were a breeze at this time of day. I made the station with time to spare. Loaded bike onto train and settled in for 12 hour train ride (two transfers) to top of Scotland through Edinburgh and Inverness. Beautiful scenery, villages, and landscapes (some quite desolate). All seemed efficient and tidy (based on my train travel experience). Young Master Ear Buds, next to me on train, opened up quite ... read more

Day 10 - Leaving this morning for some ferry rides, standing stones, a distillery and the Iona abbey. Weather was cool but sunny again!! The Inn packed us a lunch but when we landed in Tobermory we had some time before the distillery opened so we got some breakfast. Sam and Benny had yet another mocha coffee. I found the best sweet ever.. Its called TIFFEN. I am now on a quest for the recipet. Went into the Tobermory distillery. OK but was not worth the wait. Started driving again to find the Dervaig standing stones outside of Tobermory. They were surrounded by a clear cut forest. Certainly a little disappointing just because of the dead lumber lying around. Travels are now taking us to Iona Abbey the root of Christianity in Scotland. St. Columba landed ... read more
Kilchoan Harbour sunrise
Nice beach
Fishing boat heading out for the day's catch

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » Thurso August 19th 2015

Geo: 58.5949, -3.51911Lot of driving today, but again in beautiful weather and fascinating countryside. We loved seeing the mirror-like lochs reflecting the grand mansions, then bare hills and ranges followed by woodlands and green pastures, and heather-covered lands further north. The scenery is all that we'd hoped for!First to Oban Distillery, then to Fort William at one end of the Caledonian Canal, then along the fault line to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle, then Thurso via Inverness and the top end of Scotland - John O'Groats.... read more
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness
Dunrobin Castle, Golspie
Dunrobin grounds

I got up early and went back to Urquhart Castle for the sunrise to try and get some photographs. As the castle is not openly accessible, there were only limited points where I could get a decent view of the castle and the loch. There was a thick mist hanging over the loch, which would hopefully made for some dramatic pictures, although not what I was expecting. As we were so close, decided to go to John O'Groats. I say "close", but it was still well over 100 miles from Inverness to John O'Groats and the roads are not exactly motorway standard. We thought we would go straight there with no stops and then stop-off at other places on the way back. It took about two and a half hoursto get there. The first thing that ... read more
Duncansby Stacks
Duncansby Head
Dunnet Head

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » Wick October 20th 2014

Today's trip is taking us around the northeastern part of the mainland. The weather is overcast & 10 degrees. Some slight sprinkles of rain. First stop was Dunrobin Castle, home a the Earl of Sutherland. Sadly they were closed for the winter. Winter? Really? The flowers are still blooming for crying out loud.. As we follow the highway we were able to find a few spots that had awesome vistas and photo op's. The first one was cemetery marked as Commonwealth war graves just outside of Helmsford. We drove down a laneway beside a country cottage where there really was no parking. BUT what a view! Further along we went for a walk towards the cliffs to visit Badbea a "Highland Clearance village". This was where people were forced to leave there homes that were in ... read more
Cemetery Cottage
Not to be opened

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » Wick June 30th 2014

Pub was good and after a few beers and several games of pool we retired back to the van for the second half of the football. Off to the Smoo cave first thing and an interesting tour by quite an eccentric local who made the small boat ride quite entertaining. A must do if you visit Scotland. From Smoo we headed off for the most northern point on the UK mainland at Dunnit Head. another long drive up a single track lane but again worth it for a rewarding 360% view of the end of Scotland. Sue was hoping to see some marine life but she left once again disappointed. From here it was only a short drive to behold the wonders of John O' Groats. As expected a tourist trap with tacky souvenirs and coffee ... read more

I angered the Scottish weather gods when I mocked their misty rain yesterday. I angered them big time lol. I headed up to John O'Groats today - the most north-eastern tip of the UK mainland. It's common to do the trek from here to Land's End in the south-west, crossing the full length of the UK. I figured I was up here, so it's def worth the journey. The bus ride was rather lovely - as you could guess, I saw mainly sheep mixed in with the occasional lone house. I debated going to Dunnet Head which is the most northern part of the mainland but it was a 2.5 hike and busses come only every 2 hours... so... I didn't fancy waiting almost 2 hours in the middle of a field when it's raining. Ok ... read more
It was a wee rainy
Walk along the water

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Caithness County » Thurso June 22nd 2014

Oh it felt nice to sleep in today. Scratch that - it felt nice just to sleep! The day started sunny, but in true Scottish fashion (especially in the Highlands) that soon changed and it misted for most of the day. Oh mist - I wish it would proper rain if it’s going to do that… it’s horrible for the camera though. I walked from Thurso up to Scrabster - along the beach, the coastline and then up in hills because I had no idea where I was going, so, the normal hiking day for me. I couldn’t help but wonder while overlooking the beach if anyone ever gets to enjoy the beach. It’s end of June here, and it’s only 15 degrees today. But a damp 15 degrees, of course... curious if in July/August they ... read more
Along the beach/coast
Field o'sheep
Rain drops on leaves

I wont write too much about today bar to say after a lovely breakfast it was almost sad to leave ''The Crask Inn'' - and after chatting over breakfast we didn't get away again until about 11am - the first few miles along the rest of the A836 were again superb - hugging a river and a loch again - all too good. The weather was A1 again as well. So all good and relaxed as we ambled along. In short good riding again and we got to the North Coast of Britain - lovely beaches and viewsbut no people to speak off and pretty hilly plus the wind was right at us so progress was slow. We went past the nuclear power plant Doonrae and arrived in Thurso about 7.30pm. It was getting cold and ... read more

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