Scotland North Coast 500: Durness to John o Groats

If we thought the wind howled in Lochinver, I’m not sure how to describe the noise of the wind around our room on the edge of a cliff by Smoo Cave last night!!

Well at least it wasn’t raining and the sky was bright but the wind was still severe as we arrived at Smoo Cave. A huge sea cave formed in the cliff by erosion, and when you see the sea pounding in you can understand why.

We climbed down the steps by the roadside to enter the huge cave, well back from the main coastline at the end of an inlet.

It was cavernous

and there was a gap in the roof, everywhere there was water dripping down from the rocks.

There was a small covered walkway which we followed into a small gap in the rocks where a natural window formed and we could not just see but feel the power of the waterfall

as it came down at super speed and force, and deafening sound.

Reluctantly we left the confines of the cave and climbed back up the opposite sides of the cliff we had come from.

A pathway took us away from the cave to the cliff side. The waves were crashing onto the rocks with amazing force,

and we stood mesmerised by the antics of the water,

whilst trying to keep ourselves stood up straight

and not being blown over the edge from the gale force winds.

The road along the topmost edge of Scotland wound around the coastline

and long inlets with stunning views both looking at the water

and inland.

We stopped at a delightful cafe in a place called Betty Hills. It was one of those that proudly doesn’t do fancy stuff like lattes and cappuccino but good old filter coffee, to which you help yourself, or teapigs which again you make yourself, then browse the shelves around the room laden with calorific cakes, scones and biscuits before helping yourself. Here we were delighted to see the very first North Coast 500 roadsign!

I know, sad what we get excited about these days, but when you think how often you see Route 66 signs as you drive the route this was a first!

Moving on we came off the main road and headed to Dunnet Head, the northernliest point on mainland Britain.

The sea here was unsurprisingly wild

and the waves crashing on the rocks had Sally feeling seasick just watching them!

We stopped briefly at the Castle of May, the late Queen Mother’s home, it was closed by the time we arrived.

The fields looked very colourful with their round bales of hay now gathered in.

Arriving in John o Groats, all the cyclists we had seen on the road were gathering for the end of their day. It seems it’s an official round Britain tour, however they need to remember there are other road users too they were strewn right across the roads and not letting cars pass

which we felt was not good roadman(woman)ship.

We headed for an early dinner before we wouldn’t find any space in the one restaurant open in town, then went to see the sea stacks, not realising it’s a mile walk,

so we decided to return in the morning when we are less exhausted!

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