So much for thinking the last stretch was a short one. It turned out that I’d missed a bit out when I’d printed out the map sheets.
I had a grandstand view of the sea from my tent at last nights campsite. The wind was strong, but coming from the south so blowing me in the right direction. Ha,yet another barbed wire fence in this photo, but at least I didn’t have to cross this one.
The required photo of the John O’Groats signpost. Nice and early so no crowds around.Then it’s off on my last mega road hike. I stopped for a rest at Cannisby church where there was a bench out of the wind.
The view of the Orkney islands was lovely, but with a choppy sea, I’m sure the ferry passengers were not so enthusiastic.
I was interested to see the church still had an ancient harmonium standing in a corner.
There was also the gravestone of Jan de Groot( John O’Groats), from the Sixteenth century. It was moved to the church in more recent times.
After I’d passed the ferry terminal,I walked up a track and joined a very much smaller road.
The single track road was quieter to start with, but in Caithness roads are often very straight, and distances slightly depressing. Dunnet Head can be seen far, far away.
Things were livened up later by three large tractors and trailers which were moving loads of stone and which kept passing me. The game was called ‘can you get to the passing bay before the juggernaut squishes you’. Actually it wasn’t that bad, as the drivers were very polite.
Eventually I reached the coast again at the start of Dunnet Head. The cliffs grew increasingly high from here.
The landscape was now much more scenic with little lochs and an old tumbledown mill. The marshes were full of birds. Roads were back to having bends.
When I saw a café,my heart leapt,but no,it was firmly closed. Instead,I sat outside and ate my lunch. A passing German campervan stopped, presuming that food was being served. I overheard the following:’ Can we order food?’. ‘No , we’re shut’. Pointing at me ,’ But this person is eating’. ‘ No, we’re shut’. With much rolling of eyes,and hand gestures he drove off.
In all truth,why would a cafe be closed at midday,in peak season on a tourist route?
As the cliffs became higher, the landscape returned to moorland. Some flowers were definitely out of place.
The road wound up and around, and then at the top of the last hill, there were the gates to the lighthouse and the end of my journey.
Dunnet Head was a suitably dramatic venue for the end of my adventures. Amazing views all around up to the islands and back at where I’d been. In fact way more impressive than John O’Groats,in the same way that Lands End was overshadowed by the Lizard.
I was met by Martin for yet more photos before we headed off to find somewhere for a nice cup of tea or three. Now my last challenge is to learn not to take uht milk sachets or paper napkins from cafes because they might be useful.