Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Day 18b: Duncansby Head and Dunnet Head

John o' Groats is the most north-easterly settlement on the British mainland, but there are points geographically more remote that are worth a visit. So, after half an hour or so looking around John o' Groats, I set off on a short 2-mile road to the east, leading to Duncansby Head, the most north-easterly point on the British mainland. Here stands a short lighthouse (being just 11m tall). A short walk south across the clifftops led me to some great views of the Stacks of Duncansby (pictured).

I then set off back along the A836 towards Thurso. About half-way along, I took a road going north-westerly, through the village of Brough and out onto the peninsula of Dunnet Head. The road gradually rose to a high point of just over 100m after about 5 miles, where I found another lighthouse - this one situated at the most northerly point on the British mainland. I ate a pleasant lunch here with spectacular views of rainbows framing the island of Hoy (one of the Orkneys) beyond the lighthouse.

Finally, I set off back to Thurso, with a couple of unexpected and fierce showers to remind me of the vagaries of the Scottish weather. The sun was shining again when I arrived back in Thurso, however - a wonderful end to a fantastic holiday!

Distance: 31.9 miles
Total ascent: 488m
Interactive route map and profile: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/2190