John O’Groats – North coast of #Scotland – as far as you can go? #Holiday

STILL mired in the events of this horrendously challenging year, I am once again resorting to sharing my travels with you instead of anything writing related. Fortunately, it seems you love reading about the wonders of Scotland!

In desperate need of some clear head space, I’d arranged to leave for Scotland the day after mum’s funeral, with Orkney as a final destination. I didn’t know all that much about Orkney before I began researching this trip, and discovered to my surprise that although a ferry (or an aircraft) is required to get there, Orkney isn’t actually that far off the north coast of Scotland – only 6 miles, and easily visible unless the weather is bad.

I’d booked a morning sailing, with a view to a full day of sightseeing upon arrival, so we stayed overnight in a B&B not far from the port. Arriving there in plenty of time, we took a little trip up to John O’Groats, which many people believe to be the furthest northerly point of the UK mainland.

In fact, it isn’t – that would be nearby Dunnet Head, (next lump of headland along).

John O’Groats gets it fame from being at one end of the farthest distance you can travel by road on the UK mainland – from Lands End in Cornwall, to John O’Groats in Caithness, Scotland.

See that little collection of islands just off the coast above John O’Groats? That’s the islands of Orkney – all 70 of them!

But first, John O’Groats itself.

There isn’t actually very much there except, despite the rain (well this is Scotland), lots of tourists, and the shops to service them, most of which were now shut for the day.

There were other people there, really! In fact, a group of cyclists arrived from the traditional Lands End route as we stood beneath the sign, but we gave them some space. They were very emotional, as so often is the case in many of these epic rides, it was a fund raiser in aid of a cancer charity, in memory of a loved one they had lost.

And so the scene was set for the following morning…

 

17 comments

  1. On one of our holidays to Scotland I was determined to see John O’Groats – it was the end of September. Not much there but I did love the white beach glittered with tiny fragments of white shells. Yes we did visit Dunnet Head as well. I admire those cyclists, we did meet a South African couple in the Lake District at the top of Kirkstone Pass ( highest road pass in the Lake District ) who were on their way to John O’Groats!

    1. I’ve been over Kirkstone pass in a sports car – wouldn’t recommend it as the long bonnet kept obscuring the view of the road ahead on those steep upward inclines. I was horrified to find that despite all the signs telling them not to go that way, we still met plenty of tourists in campervans.
      Cyclists must be real masochists to go that way!

      1. Yes Deborah, we thought it was a pretty good effort just to cycle up the pass, when we watched them pedal into view as we sat outside with our coffee – let alone cycle up the whole country!

  2. I wonder how many are then inspired to visit Bluff NZ?

    1. Interesting notion. Visiting NZ, especially South Island, is very much like visiting an alternative Scotland, with so much Scottish influence in so many areas.

  3. It’s nice to imagine these far-off places aren’t mired in the political ugliness we are. If they are–don’t tell me!

  4. What an amazing place, looks peaceful and unpolitical, despite the fact it’s attached to the UK. LOL. I only ever heard of Orkney before from Adele Park, because she lives there!!! 🙂

    1. Orkney is a place of masses, upon masses, of history – lots of posts on it coming next.

      1. I shall direct Adele to come over. ❤

  5. Good weather for the crossing, Deborah and looking forward to seeing what you think of Orkney. I come from Rousay, known as the Egypt of the North. Hope you get a chance to visit. I think the Pier Cafe is still open and the pub serves great food. xxx

    1. Ah, we tried to get across to Rousay, but didn’t make it this trip. I feel the need for another visit…

      1. oh yes, that’s a must, Deborah. xxx

  6. Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:
    Deborah sails to Orkney, of course, I’m reblogging this I’m an Orcadian lol

  7. Lovely post Deborah, missing bonnie Scotland. My daughter is going up soon for a University interview, so fingers crossed she might be going up north to do her teacher training. Lots of wonderful spots to explore in Scotland maybe one day we’ll visit Orkney too. 🙂

    1. The biggest problem with Scotland is there are just SO many places to go and see. I was blown away by Orkney, and we didn’t get to any of the smaller islands this trip, so we have to go back again.
      Yes!

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