Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Caithness & Sutherland


Half-hour west of Inverness

I had a choice of two routes toward Thurso today, a long one via the west coast, and a much shorter one to the east. When I left the Dores B&B around 10am, I thought I would just settle for the short route, but after stopping briefly in Inverness to refuel, took the glorious weather as a sign that the longer route would not be shown off so well when I left Orkney next week.






Lunch stop at Ullapool, seen first as a white spit, much like Inverary did on the Argyll Coast Road.





The road north, set about 10 miles in from the coast reminded me of the Connemara although with much better roads, and interspersed with more water views. The most arresting of these is Loch Assynt, with the sliver of crumbling rock known as Castle Ardvreck sitting on its eastern shore. Once home to the Macleods of Assynt, I thought it might be the basis of the home of Connor Macleod in Highlander (apparently that's actually in Glencoe).










Durness is the most northwesterly village in Britain, and certainly much more remote (and interesting) than the better known John O'Groats near the most northeasterly point.


Smoo Cave with the waterfall chamber



Coastline east of Durness





The final leg of the journey took in the Kyle of Tongue, one of the most stunning parts of the day, and then a meandering B road through the centre to Helmsdale.


Dores/Inverness - Ullapool - Durness - Helmsdale

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