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9. Like a North Wind Tune (John o'Groat, Highlands and Northern Islands)

Home stretch to reach the far north of Scotland from the West Coast. This is where the ferries leave for the Orkney Islands, in particular. We are nearing the heart of our trip, Orkney.

Route : It takes 87 kilometers and 1 hour 15 minutes to reach John o'Groat from Inverness. The landscapes are changing more and more and the North is starting to make itself felt.


Via the A9, head to Dunrobie, in the Golspie region, there you will discover a fairytale castle! Comprising 189 rooms, it is one of the oldest residences (14th century) continuously inhabited since its creation. Naval hospital during the First World War, then boarding school for boys for around ten years, it is today open to the public.

The visitable rooms are incredible, as they all retain their original objects. The Duke's office, the library, the dining room and the children's rooms are the most representative of the wealth and details of the period.

Info : it is possible to park right in front of the castle. Inside, you will find a tea room and WC. The gardens date from 1850 and are inspired by those of Versailles. The entry fee is £14.50 per person.


Continue the road towards Whaligoe on the A9 and there, park near Loch Watenan, a gem of a small lake surrounded by wild nature. From there, it takes around fifteen minutes to reach Cairn o'Get. There are only 2 to 3 parking spaces and little room to maneuver. Along the way, you will find the ruins of 2 houses, sheep and a duckboard path to avoid the muddy path.

Nearly 5,000 years old, this funerary tomb excavated in 1886 is more intimate than the Clava Cairns and much less crowded. A beautiful energy emanates from this sacred place for millennia. The roof having collapsed, it is possible to see the interior which was not otherwise accessible. During excavations, numerous burned and unburned bones of men and animals were found.

Higher and further, if you continue your path in the middle of the moors (be careful, the region is very wet and muddy and no path leads there), you will find the remains of another small cairn, then of an ancient dam, with a water retention system dating from the 19th century, still in operation. Look up at the cliff in front of you and head southwest towards the little point you see at the top in the photo on the left...

To reach it, you will have to go around the lake and its marshes and do a little climbing (450m). The game is worth the effort, however, because you will arrive at another Cairn, that of Hanach, which dominates the entire region. The roof and its surroundings have collapsed, but access chambers are still visible, as well as a more recent mound of stones, probably to indicate their position. Several remains and pottery were found there during excavations at the time. Several other cairns were found in the area, as well as the remains of huts, the locations of which are still visible to the keen eye.


Get back on the road via the famous North500, which alone is worth a look and is a visit in itself. After about ten minutes, you will arrive at Wick, which holds the record for the smallest street in the world according to the Guiness Book, then head towards the ruins of Sinclair Castle (5 km). The surrounding landscape, with steep cliffs, is spectacular.

Formerly there were two parts of castles, connected by a drawbridge, Sinclair Castle, from the 14th century and Girnigoe, built a few years later. The last count having died without descendants, a struggle for the title and the castle led to its destruction, aggravated by the violence of the elements which did not give him any respite. The ruins are now in very poor condition. Only the tower house is still standing. The old landing stage, made of beautiful round pebbles and surrounded by steep cliffs, is incredible. The Sinclair clan trust is, however, in the process of preserving the site and ensuring that it is given new life, hence the scaffolding visible in the photo.

Info : from the car park, without any amenities, it takes 10 minutes to walk to reach the ruins.


For the night, we opted for John o'Groat and its large pitch open to motorhomes, due to its location 7 minutes from the ferry to the Orkney Islands.

Info : all amenities are on site (WC, shower, water and electricity if necessary). The site is close to the sea, which does not spoil anything, even if the violence of the wind is extreme in this place. The village is very small, it is better to prepare your food before coming, as well as a full tank of gasoline!

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