Short Circular of Caithness

This is night No.51/2019 living in my caravan. It's our second night pitched at Dunnet Bay C&MC Site near Thurso.

The weather was pretty bad overnight, not very windy but very wet. Thankfully, it had dried up a bit this morning as I got up and walked the dogs along the beach around 0630.

Also took the opportunity to add a plaque to my collection!

The nearby village of Castletown has a heritage walk, to celebrate it's history in Caithness Flagstone. These stones pave Edinburgh's Royal Mile, Dundee Discovery Point, and Sauchiehall St in Glasgow!

It's best days are behind it, as the harbour was a rather derelict and scrapyard of a place. Old boats and cars just dumped on the verges.

The Harbour is constructed of flagstones.

Even the harbour wall.

A zoomed shot across Dunnet Bay to where I'm staying.

The only thing about Castletown is the football club. I passed their ground and noted it was formed in 1900. Just not sure about the choice of shirt. Strikingly similar to another club....

We continued into Thurso. Thurso is the birthplace of the founder of the Boys Brigade (!). I visited a local jeweller to get my watch battery changed. We then headed south to Sibster and the newly planted broadleaf woodland. A really nice and very quiet hour.

Nearby Braal Castle.

Stopped at Watten to check the map, a village famous for being the birthplace of the man who invented the Electric Clock(!!), continued south past Loch Watten and turned north onto the John O Groats road. Stopped just before JOG to get some shots of the Orkney Islands.

Behind the tractor is the Isle of Stroma and behind that, Scapa Flow.

The Isle of Hoy.

A panorama across to Orkney.

The emptiness of this part of Caithness.

A zoomed shot of the Island of Stroma with the remains of many houses.

It was dry and quite warm in the morning, but as we made our way back through Mey and Dunnet, a huge rain shower passed and it's been showers ever since.

Later in the afternoon, we returned to Castletown to walk round the Castlehill Heritage Trail. It's a really short, 0.25mile, walk that attempts to illustrate it's past in the flagstone industry.

Sadly, a lack of investment or interest have left the place very run down. Even the Heritage Centre itself was closed and on the market as a 'development opportunity'.

Stopped on the return at Dunnet Woods. Really interesting walks through a very old wood.

There were still very heavy showers passing, and a bit thundery. Fortunately, we stumbled across a bird hide where we waited out one of the heavier ones.

Hamish is a bit short to see out the windows!


  1. Interesting stuff on the flagstones. The Caithness paving is unique and easy to spot; a bit like over-sized, strengthened and flattened slate. I recall that in Stirling, on the walk from Manse Crescent (where we lived) to the town centre, there was a stretch of beautiful Caithness paving outside the old Stirling Albion football ground. When they sold that for housing the stones "magically disappeared" and were replaced by cheap cement and concrete. There were protests for a while but they were never recovered. Real shame. I'm still watching your blogs for mention of an Orkney temptation!


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