Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Trip up north

We've been away for a couple of days. Up to the far north, as far north as you can get without falling off the edge of Scotland. Going on the motorbike was very briefly considered but swiftly dismissed.......we'd seen the weather forecast! It is November after all. Louis and Jana were allowed to come on the trip, the rest were farmed out for a short break of their own, we didn't think the hotel would have approved of the whole pack.

I had never been further north than Ullapool on the west and Invergordon on the east and was looking forward to seeing the sights. Long-Suffering Husband wanted his photo taken beside the famous sign post at John O'Groats.

Our drive up the east side was quite twisty and the drizzly weather didn't do the scenery any favours. Mind you, there isn't a lot of scenery on this side, it's known as the Flow country and there is a distinct lack of hills and trees.

We reached John O'Groats and sat in the parked car eating some lunch. It was grey, wet and windy, there were a couple of cars in the car park but not a soul to be seen. That's not quite true, a lady did appear out of one of the deserted looking shops nearby to take in the display of sunglasses that was standing outside. It seemed a sensible move. As for the famous was nowhere to be seen. We walked the short distance towards the little harbour and found where it should have been but it turns out that it isn't left out all the time due to vandalism! LSH had to make do with a photo next to an imitation sign on the wall of a shop.

The real most northerly point on the mainland is actually Dunnet Head, it's much more scenic than J O'G and is reached by a few miles of single track road. The rain stopped whilst we were there but it was bitterly cold, wind chill was a major factor. Things brightened quite a bit and we were pleased to see Orkney appear out of its covering of low cloud. Louis and Jana had to sit next to the stone notice and look like they are frozen to the spot. There was nobody there except us.......wonder why?

It was just getting dark as we reached our hotel in Bettyhill and raining again but we spent a nice evening in front of a roaring fire and had a lovely meal too. The next morning, whilst having breakfast, we got to see the great view of Torrisdale Bay that the hotel enjoys.

We went from Bettyhill to Durness and then Balnakeil Bay for a walk with the dogs. Our subsequent journey back south was much more spectacular than on the way up. If we ever want to move north for a quieter life (not that our normal life resembles the rat race down south) then the west coast is definitely the more appealing.

There is just one drawback though...........the dreaded midge!


Mogs said...

Awh! Tom all you needed was your fishing rod for that finishing touch!!

Gennasus said...

The transformation into a gnome has been noted for a while. I think it's too late for medical help.

Marian said...

Midges? Really? I've never come across one in Sutherland in November. Maybe I'm immune by now.
Anyway NW Sutherland is the best part of Scotland IMO. Been taking Minnie there once or twice a year all her life.

Gennasus said...

You're right Marian, no midges in November! I was thinking more of living up there all year round.....don't think I'm quite tough enough for that!

Marian said...

Midges are just a minor nuisance compared to clegs. I've had many a cleg bite in July and August. Need to check the dogs for ticks frequently too