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Family Tour 2018 Day 7-8

Category: Caravanning
21 Feb 2019
Written by Andy Hits: 7126

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From middle of the Highlands we push north east to John O'Groats, before heading south to Inverness for the weekend

Day 7: 28/09/2017, Altnaharra to East Mey (116 miles)

While walking the dogs before breakfast I first had to get a picture of one of the best farmers signs I had ever seen:

Yes, the sheep and lambs around this area truly have no road sense, and with them free ranging, real care needed to be taken.

Sun rise was something to be beheld too:

But with a bit of sadness to leave such a beautiful site behind, we packed up, and by 10 am we were on our way.

We retraced our steps from the previous day passed through Syre and Bettyhill, passing the white walled, red roofed church in Syre:

We had wondered about heading out to Strathy Point to see the lighthouse, but didn't fancy our chances of a dead end road with a caravan behind.  But just after the village of Strathy, there was a nice big carpark with views looking back on the lighthouse.  It was fairly breezy, but I got a few snaps of it in the distance

We hoped to fill up ready for our drive down to Inverness in Thurso, or another petrol station or 2 between us and our camp site in East Mey, but one was getting its fuel delivery, and the other appeared to be waiting for the tanker to make it there too, so we carried on to the camp site.  This was another Certificated Location, called The Crofters Snug.

They also have some glamping pods, which the owner was staying in, rather than the house, and came over to direct us to a pitch.  He also recommended using the mover to face nose down the inclined pitch to face the front windows across the 1 field between us, the sea and then Orkney.  We didn't bother with the awning, as it was rather a stiff breeze, and we were only staying one night.

With the dogs settled, we then popped out for a hearty bowl of soup (and lots of grandparents complimenting us on our daughter) at Castle of Mey.

This castle was purchased by the Queen Mother after King George VI had died, and she set about getting it renovated.

The farm animals were visited first before we had a sleepy little girl on our hands:

Then we made our way back through the amazingly twisted trees:

to go round the walled gardens:

Then we went back and found the dogs and gave them a chance to stretch their legs, first by visiting John O'Groats

I've not got a huge amount to say about it.  It's not the most northerly or easterly point of the UK mainland (Dunnet Head, just around the corner is most northerly , Lowestoft in Suffolk most easterly).  But we did a little bit of shopping, as there were some touristy shops there.

After that, we went on to find a more north-easterly point, which was a couple of miles along the road at Duncansby Head.  There was a fair amount of weather out to sea over Orkney, but it avoided us:

There was another lighthouse, similar in style to the Strathy Point lighthouse:

and on another day when there wasn't such a stiff breeze and a sleeping baby in the car, a walk to the Duncansby stacks would have been nice:

Back at the car, we then decided to head down to Wick, in search of fuel and food (neither seemed to be in much supply in the area) and had a bit of a supermarket sweep in Tesco.  We were mighty impressed with the meat on their deli-counter, as we'd not seen a "local" butcher to stock up at.

Having got food to fill the fridge, and fuel for another few hundred miles, we went back to the caravan for the night:

Day 8: 29/09/2018 East Mey to Inverness (124 miles)

This was one of the rare occasions where we could say "Travelling south to Inverness"!

The cows in the field over the road from us were so loud overnight, there was a fairly constant moo-ing!  However, the sunlight was beautiful in the morning, and I caught a picture of the light on the rock stack at St John's point, along with one of the cows before we packed up:

It was another fairly easy drive, however, having let a car turn in front of me on the way down to Wick, we then found it was the kind that struggled to get to more than 35 mph, and didn't use indicators!  It was a relief when it turned off and we were free to continue at closer to 50 mph!

Once on the A9, a number of cars took opportunities as and when they arose to overtake us.  However, this didn't go so well for a mini, that had been behind us for some time, and cars had overtaken it and us in the same pass.  Eventually, it summoned up the courage and made its dash past.  Only for the bike rack strapped to its boot to come loose and start flapping.  Queue mild panic from both cars, as we didn't want a bike and bike rack underneath us, and I'm sure the driver didn't want to loose their bike!  He pulled over to the side safely, and we passed on by.

There was also the satisfaction of out accelerating the car behind us up a hill out of some hair pin bends, while having approximately the weight of that car attached to our rear bumper.  However, once on the level and at 50 mph, they did continue to accelerate to 60, and pass us, but a real gap did open up.

The only other event to report was as we turned onto the private road that lead to our friends house that we were staying at.  We had been assured that fitting the caravan along there would not be a problem, a neighbour tows a caravan behind their LWB Sprinter van.  Unfortunately, just onto the track there is a narrow bridge over a railway line, and after that bridge, a right hand 90° bend.  And round that bend came a Fiesta.  Although there was a nice big space on their right hand side to pull off the road (with no way we could easily, safely reverse onto a busy road with the caravan behind), they seemed incapable of making more than about 10 cm difference to the space for us to pull forward off the bridge, and then round the corner, without "customising" our caravan any further.

I spotted the side/back of the caravan, while Hannah studiously ignored the front sensors on the car that were beyond their minimum distance reading and warning of impending doom.  But we somehow made it around, with only about a cm between our caravan and the railings on the bridge, and an unknown amount of space between us and this car.

But the views from their house were worth the journey up the track.  A lovely view over the Black Isle towards Ben Wyvis.  We enjoyed a tasty curry that night, and it was the most time we had spent in a building in days!


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