#Scotland17 Day Four: Northern Exposure

“Staring into a Scottish landscape, I have often asked myself why – in spite of all appearances – bracken, rocks, man and sea are at some level one.” – Neal Ascherson

A drive up to the most Northern point of the United Kingdom mainland today. You might, as I did, think that it’s John O Groats. You’d be wrong (as was I). Dunnet Head at 58°40′21″N has the honour of being the most northerly point. I decided I’d better visit both.

I can’t lie, John O Groats was a disappointment. Whilst I got some glimpses of sunshine, the whole place felt run down, tired and in need of some TLC. The truth is there’s not a huge amount to do in a place named after a Canadian sailor who used to run boat trips to Orkney, and the attached “craft village” felt like an expensive table top sale.

I loved visiting Dunnet Head, it was far removed from the ageing tackiness that had felt evident at John O Groats, with its beautiful Stevenson designed lighthouse, fantastic vistas and rugged coastlines. In short, Dunnet is gorgeous.

As the wind picked up into the evening I sought refuge and a cup of tea in my Wigwam. My kind of camping will always be in a glorified heated hut with tea & coffee making facilities and a hot, clean shower nearby! A perfect location for an early start to hit the boat tomorrow.

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