Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Day 24 - Scotland North Coast - Durness to Thurso - It's a wonderful world up north (when the sun shines!)

The photography gods must have heard my complaining about the rain spoiling my chance of decent pics. Not that they'd care, but the sun's been shining down hard on northern Scotland. After leaving Eddrachilles Hotel near Scourie, I've had nothing but HOT weather. Okay, not 30 degrees hot, but certainly 25 degrees. Which is hot for these parts.

The north coast of Scotland is not given much press. I've done quite a bit of research, and the west coast gets most of the limelight. But what I've seen so far has been fantastic. Okay, the weather does help. And I'm sure every spot on earth is nicer when the sun's shining. But the northern Scottish coast is definitely worth a visit.

Here's why: It's remote. It's largely unpopulated. Distances between towns are long. Villages are very, very small (a few houses at most). And it's beautiful. The highest cliffs in Britain are along the north coast of Scotland, and there are many secluded coves which have turquoise water (when the sun shines). Although the H2O is still quite cold for swimming, the beaches could be in the Mediterranean. But it's all about the weather...So, things to put on your itinerary:

- Durness (click to see on Google map). It's got a nice atmosphere...very holidayish. And a great beach (see the panaromic pic I took).

- Dunnet Head (click to see on Google map), the northern most point on the mainland. It's everything you'd expect of a northern extremity. There are cliffs 100 metres high, wind strong enough to blow the hair out of your head and supreme views out to the islands to the north. Certainly more impressive than I expected. Don't miss it.

- The Castle of Mey, east of Thurso. It was the summer home of the late Queen Mother, and now Charlie spends his summers there. So it's open all of summer, except in August, when the prince comes up to get away from the paparrazi down south.

- Pulteney Distillery, in Wick, to the east of Mey. It's one of the most northerly distilleries, and you can bottle your own wizzos.

On the road from Scourie to Durness...typical highland mountain scenery (click to enlarge)

The beach at Durness...when the sun's shining, it looks tropical (click to enlarge).


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  3. Rain spoils my photos too, but at least reward after a few tries is amazing.The second pic of the Durness beach is amzing I love it