Saturday, 21 April 2018

Day 10 Dornoch to Strathpeffer

Awoke to sunshine and the beautiful view across the Dornoch Firth, I will be sorry to leave this hotel.
Our first stop of the day The Mermaid of the North at Balintore.
She sits on a rock named Clach Dubh, black rock in Gaelic.
Made by Steve Hayward the ten feet bronzed wood mermaid was made in 2007.
Legend tells that a fisherman stole a beautiful mermaid and hid her tail. 
Years later after bearing his children she escaped back to sea, returning regularly to feed her children.

At high tide her tail dips into the sea.

Psalm 107, they that go down to the sea......

Three large salmon in the same small village

Nigg Old Trust and church with its 8th century Pictish monument
A place of worship for over 1200 years.

Well kept this church was so interesting

The Pictish monument found in the church yard is now saved from the weather and inside for all the see.
The craftsmanship to engrave such a stone is amazing.

The back of the stone.

Inside the church, with the pews in the shape of a cross.

Further along on our travels the Cromarty Firth is dotted with oil rig platforms.
Most of this trip I have sat with our passport and NC500 map on my lap, we are now nearing the end of our 500+ miles journey.

Last stop the GlenOrd Distillery at Muir of Ord where we produce our completed passport and the three photos 
we needed to take to receive a commemorative Whisky glass. The manager gave us two which was really nice of her.
Chris decided to take the tour and tasting, I decided to sit in the sun and knit as my knees have been playing me up.
On walking back to the car a lady was sitting knitting while her husband went on the tour so we sat together and chatted.
Claire came from Ontario Canada and we both enjoyed the company chatting and knitting.

Last two nights in Scotland will be spent back in Strathpeffer where we started this wonderful trip.




Friday, 20 April 2018

Day 9 John O’Groats to Dornoch

Slight change of plan today, decided against the Shepherds Hut and headed for Dornoch Hotel. Need more comfort!
Loved seeing the Highland bull looking over the fence as we ate breakfast in the B&B.

Fill your own bottle,  but beware it costs over £200!

Decided to have a tour of the distillery, £10 each and a thimble of Whisky at the end, plus I’m teetotal!
But it was very interesting.

Love the shape, not so sure about the smell!

Whisky stored in Bourbon or Sherry casks.


A short detour off our NC500route took us to the Grey Camster Cairns


Really interesting, but no way was I going inside!

Only about four foot high the entrances into a dark cairn


Again another short detour and we came across this shop that had been yarn bombed...I loved it!
Think it was in Helmsdale


Yet another distillery to get our passport stamped j
Chris had never heard of this brand, but apparently 95% goes to be mixed 

Driveway to Dunrobin Castle

Decided not to go on the tour, just got our Passport stamped and took a photo

View from our bedroom window this evening at Dornoch Hotel.
Love the view across the golf links to the sea.




Thursday, 19 April 2018

(Backup) Day 8 Bettyhill to John O’Groats

The Bettyhill Hotel was brilliant, great beds and great food, plus the views were stunning.
We started the day by leaving our car at the garage, where they were kind enough to loan us this yellow Punto.
We had a couple of hours to kill while they replaced the wheel bearings so drove to Thurso.

After a little retail therapy we parked near the sea and came across this fascinating church ruin.



So long forgotten and with no clues as to its origin we walked around the outside and grave yard.

Many of the old grave stones had scull and  crossbones and navy sayings.

It was certainly a very full walled in church yard dating from 1800 ish.



Time to return to our loan car.

Back at the garage the Land Rover is repaired and we pay £140 for the privilege.

Next stop a gin and vodka distillery, got our passport stamped but didn’t buy anything.

Danette Head, the most Northerly point in the UK mainland, whose cliffs fall 300ft sheer into the Pentland Firth.
Next stop The Castle of Mey. Lunch in the cafe and then the guided tour of the castle 
The only home the Queen Mother ever owned. Built in 1566 the Queen Mother fell in love with the Castle in 1956 when it was due to be demolished.
It was a fascinating story of a home, much loved by the Royal family and now in trust for the Nation.



Onward to the very touristy John O’Groats. 

The famous sign post showing mileage’s to New York etc...

Really liked this sign on shop pointing straight down to New Zealand 12875 miles!

Spending the night in a B&B near John O’Groats where we have been made most welcome, but poor WiFi!





Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Day 7 Drumbeg to Bettyhill

The Croft we stayed in overnight at Drumbeg was very welcoming and served a great breakfast. The building itself was interesting with walls about 30 inches thick! Again the sun was shining as we left and this was the view opposite the Croft.


Stopped for a cuppa in a lay-by with this view.

At Durness we, well to be fair Chris, made a visit to the famous Smoo cave
My iPad seems to have muddled up the photos so bear with me....

We stopped here at Kinlochbervie for supplies, coffee and hot chocolate
It was a very busy fishing port.


Hard to get a really nice picture of the Kylesku bridge that replaced a ferry crossing.

Just about every large Loch, and there are a LOT of them has a fishing farm

The Smoo cave taken by Chris as I could not walk down all those steps!

This looked an interesting island with bunker type building built into the hillside, but I cannot find any info on it.

Maybe I should have started today’s blog with Once upon a journey in an eighteen year old Land Rover...
Yes you guessed it we have broken down, the front wheel bearing has gone. Limped to a small garage in Tongue where a helpful mechanic told us of a garage that might help as he did not have the parts or equipment. Luckily we have a night booked at Bettyhill Hotel a few miles down the road and the garage that have offered to send for the parts and fix the car tomorrow is just a few miles further at Reay.

First garage stop at Tongue.

The view from our bedroom window at Bettyhill Hotel, such luxury, they even serve food!


Day 10 Dornoch to Strathpeffer

Awoke to sunshine and the beautiful view across the Dornoch Firth, I will be sorry to leave this hotel. Our first stop of the day The Mermai...