Monday, 10 August 2015

A quick shag before breakfast.

Steve said this was a cheeky title for a blog. I told him it was about birdwatching and he had a dirty mind...

Since I last had a glimmer of wifi we've visited Orkney and begun to make our way back down the east coast.  Orkney was lovely - we did the tourist ferry & bus tour to give us a flavour for the island and it's certainly somewhere we'd like to return to,  The tour was OK but we'd rather have spent more time at the amazing historical sites such as the neolithic site at Skara Brae, and less time in the towns.  Not that Kirkwall and Stromness weren't delightful, it's just that a combined total of 3 1/4 hours in the towns versus 1 1/2 hours at Skara Brae seemed a little lopsided to us - still, a perfect excuse to head back there one day - we have our sights on Hoy...

Italian Church - made from Nissen Huts and ingenuity

Beautifully painted inside

Skara Brae

Stone Circle
Journey home

Lovely message from the chippy!

On the wildlife front we've seen plenty of shags, a puffin minus brightly coloured beak, assorted skias and terns, harbour porpoises and more seals than you can shake a stick at (though why would anyone want to shake a stick at seals?).  Tonight we also saw a lot of dolphins up close - but more of that in tomorrow's blog...

From John O'Groats there was only one way to go - south - though we did manage a surprising amount of north during the day owing to the fact that Noss Head and its spectacular castle is incredibly hard to find - no signposts from the main road at all.  We relied on the force and found it late in the afternoon.  Wick on the whole was a wonderful surprise with 3 fabulous castle ruins to explore.

Keiss Castle

Old Wick Castle

The elusive but utterly FAB Sinclair Girnigeo castle at Noss Head
After a quick overnight at Dunbeath we spotted a hike along a gorge, a bit of interesting history and a rather wobbly bridge.

Wobbly bridge.

Prisoner's Leap.
The story goes that a prisoner, convicted of a crime, was sentenced to death but told that if he made the leap across this gorge he'd be a free man.  He made the leap and off he went.  To be honest, if my life depended on it I'd at least give it a go.

Then it was off  down the coast, pausing at the RSPB site at Loch Fleet then a sunny lovely lunch on the harbour at Helmsdale before heading to Tarbat Ness and without a doubt our best wild camp so far.  We parked up right next to the lighthouse on a perfectly still sunny evening.  I don't have all the pics yet, but after dark Steve got some lovely shots of the lighthouse in full flow and the amazing display of stars.

Tarbat Ness

The weather this morning was beautiful and we enjoyed a very hot walk along the cliffs before breakfast (hence the shags...), and then headed to Portmahomack for another long beach walk and a sunny lovely lunch.  Folks keep moaning about the weather, and it's slinging it down and blowing a hoolie as I type this, but overall it's been perfectly fine enough for us to get out and about and enjoy all the things we've wanted to do - look at all the sunshine in the photos.

Right now we're curled up with dunner bubbling away as the rain pounds down outside but the this morning was blissful and the forecast for tomorrow is good too, so why worry?

Portmahomack beach

Don't miss tomorrow's blog where I'll tell you all about the most fantastic campsite that comes complete with up close wild dolphin show.  But for now, more wine I think.  And maybe a wee dram...

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