I'd been told that there was nothing at John O'Groats, so imagine my joy to find a couple of shops, ferry terminal, hotel and signpost! We'd arrived after a 2 hour drive up the coast from Dornoch. The journey being littered with squat grey houses, farms and farm rubble. Plus lots of windmills and distant oil rigs on the horizon. The sunshine gave way to wind and horizontal rain when we arrived.
Obviously we had a selfie at the sign, but were mortified to find that it's not the original - that being CLOSED* and for sale. It's also just a post with no actual sign, so I'm not interested in buying it.
* How do you close a signpost I hear you ask - put a rope around it apparently.
We pressed on through the torrential rain and as soon as we got on the road, the sun came out again. Dunnet Head is the most north point of the UK and also known as 'Bird City' if you believe the signage. But don't believe the signage unless you get excited by seagulls. However, there were a bunch of old timers with telescopes, binoculars and cameras who
appeared to be engrossed by all of this. After wandering around the bricked up WWII concrete bunkers for a bit, we headed on along the A836 which follows the north coast.
This is how our journey went: up, down, up, down, sun, rain, rain, sun, rain, rain, rain, bend to left, bend to right, up, down.... etc, etc. After passing Thurso, the roads got lonelier and narrower. The further away from John O'Groats we were, the less touristy it became. The landscape was less cultivated and more rugged, with lots of random rocks and sheep wandering on the roads. This was more like it!
At Bettyhill we stopped for lunch at a cafe/tourist info spot where we were the only customers. We'd had an idea to go all the way to Cape Wrath, but the map on the wall and cafe proprietor convinced us otherwise. It is not so easy to get to, you can't drive all the way, there's a ferry, a bus and it is not always accessible due to "the MOD often playing their wargames" we were told. Apparently there's low flying military aircraft that the cafe guy says definitely fly below the designated 250
We spied Rosal Deserted Township on our map which was inland around 10/15 miles away. This sounded really cool to go and photograph, but despite lots of driving up and down, we only found lots of loggers and a corrugated church with a red roof.
The inland b-roads are very windy and followed rivers and lochs of which there are many. There were a few fishermen with very expensive gear, a caravan park and lots of sheep, including lambs with suicidal tendencies - stop standing in the road staring at me you fools!
The inclement weather meant that we had misty mountains alongside sunny hills which hopefully translates into good photos. Glyn decided to become a Scottish Landscape Photographer specialising in shooting from a moving vehicle. I'll see how well he gets on with that, now he's given up being a fish photographer (don't ask!).
Onwards to Bonar Bridge (what a mighty erection that is - a great joke from Glyn!) passing some of the most courteous motorists in the various passing places. The roads were generally one lane, but there were never any issues.
At Bonar Bridge we stopped to get food for tea and then headed back to our caravan.
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