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Published: August 2nd 2018
Tish at the entrance to Smoo Cave, Durness
We started the day in Durness visiting Smoo Cave and the “award winning beach” and were glad to see the end of the constant rain which has followed us all around Scotland so far. Smoo Cave, completed with a blowhole, has two chambers, the second which is only accessible by dinghy and was formed by water seepage through a fault line and then dissolving limestone to form the cavern. The cave has a chequered past with a shell and bone midden dating back 5,000 years to neolithic man but is also the stuff of local folklore including residence of the ”Deil” with some fascinating stories about a murder disposing of 19 bodies down the blow hole because he thought no one would find them as all the towns people thought the Devil lived down there and were too frightened to enter.
We then commenced our journey across to John O’Groats, with much of the driving on a single lane road with multiple passing bays. Sounds crazy at first but it worked really well with only a few minor hold ups although our speeds were well below the 60 mph limit. We left the highlands around the town of Tounge which
Tish gets the gear off at “Award Winning Beach”, Durness
was 46 miles from Durness. We eventually arrived at John O’Groats in the late afternoon and did the touristy thing checking out the hotel, harbour, sign post and novelty stores. One thing that we didn’t know was that the current between John O’Groats and the Orkney Islands is the fastest measured current in the world and there are stories of 1.5 tonne boulders on the sea bed being rolled around by the current when investigations to install turbines on the sea bed were being carried out. Local Pilots were used by ships to steer through the channel and there are stories of the captains sailing off with the pilots never to be seen again.
Continuing our journey, we made a pit stop at Cairn of Get outside Lybste. The cairn was a burial place for people living here more than 5,000 years ago and contained 7 human skeletons. The people of this time had great respect for their ancestors and built these fantastic stone Cairn‘s which lasted for more than 5,000 years before being discovered in the 1800’s. Even more amazing is that they unlikely had the same quality of dwellings for the living but it was known that
Andrew at the North West 500 Finishing Line at John O’Groats
they frequently held ceremonies there asking theif ancestor’s sprints for guidance. We then continued our journey as far as Golspie where we visited Dunrobin Castle and its beautiful gardens modelled on the Versailles Palace near Paris. Our camping spot for the evening was Golspie foreshore - the quietest camping spot of the campervan trip by far.
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