Scotland

August 19 to 30, 2003



Caithness

*John o' Groats
*Duncansby Head
*The Grey Cairns of Camster
*broch search
*Hill o' Many Stanes


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August 28th

Another of my famous slow mornings. I felt exhausted and queasy. Did absolutely nothing while Christina went for a walk. Finally decided that yes, we would rent a car for our last 24 hours here; at least I finally decided that I felt well enough that I could take on driving again. Not feeling at the top of my game, it makes me uncomfortable and tired, but I think we'd hate it to have missed the things we saw today.

Ian Sinclair drove us to the airport, and we picked up the car. We drove first to John o' Groats, the northernmost town on mainland Scotland. There we shopped at the craft stores, actually. Oh dear. Oh, and when we first got there, I phoned Jim at work to tell him I was calling from there. He talked me into asking him to make me a doctor's appointment to talk about this cough when I get home. Christina had been to Land's End in Cornwall, so she has been at the bottom and the top of Britain.

Then we drove to Duncansby Head, where the rain came and went but the wind was blowing ferociously. I walked a bit of the way out toward the stacks but decided I was getting too cold, and I went back to the car, though Christina and Matt had gone on.

Duncansby stacksDuncansby stacks. That's as close as I got. They're gorgeous, though.

 

From there we drove on to The Grey Cairns of Camster. On the way toward Wick saw a rainbow over Noss Head. Camster is a site of connected Neolithic tombs. It was a place I'd visited with Mom and Dad on my Canada Council trip to this area in 1997. There's one old round cairn there, and one long (70 meters) cairn with two entrances, that originally was two round cairns then they built the structure around them, with platforms at the ends. It's quite a dramatic place. I only crawled into one of the three cairns, getting into, at last, the one I missed last time. I think.

Christina and Matt walked around the cairn, too.

 

cairnChristina is born out of the oldest cairn at The Grey Cairns of Camster.

 

CamsterChristina and Matt circumnagivate the long cairn at The Grey Cairns of Camster.

 

Then we spent a while looking for the best-preserved broch in Caithness. We thought we'd found it, but after a couple of false tries asked at a house in the area and they told us we hadn't gone far enough (the descriptions in the guides are not always clear--maybe I should say are rarely clear). She indicated it was rather a long walk and it was starting to get dark, so we decided to try it tomorrow, and head back to an inn we'd seen that advertised good food. And it truly was. I had a lamb steak with whisky and mushroom sauce that was to die for. Matt had chicken and Christina had mushrooms and they both loved theirs, too. If you're ever about 20 miles south of Wick in Lybster, Scotland, go to Jo's.

On the way back we decided to stop at the Hill o' Many Stanes, another place I'd seen before. A mysterious place--rows and rows of stones covering a slope. They don't know what they were for but can only think it was astronomical. A mysterious and lovely place to see at night. I took several photographs of the stones, just testing to see if they would turn out and most turned out nicely but this one is odd.
stanesA row of stones at the Hill o' Many Stanes with eerie/neat flash effect. Or is it a flash effect?

 

Then back home to Noss Head Lighthouse to pack.


03.08.27 § Les Semaines Index § 03.08.29

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