Date: 22nd June 2018
Travelled: 135 kilometres from Loch Eriboll to Castle Hill, Scotland.
Visited: North Coast 500, St Mary’s Chapel, Crosskirk free.
Stayed: Castle Hill Heritage Centre car-park, free. N58.59745, W03.38680
Nothing interesting to report from our overnight wildcamp on Loch Eriboll. The old couple (older than us in any case) in the motorhome next door appeared to sleep until the early evening. As we are going to bed just after 9pm, we can hear classical music playing. I take a peak out the window to find they are knocking back the wine whilst having their dinner. Maybe the NC500 is also a romantic road.
As we continue east the morning weather takes it usual turn, not necessarily for the worst. Just always changing. A few miles west of Thurso we pass the Dounreay nuclear power station, now in the process of de-commissioning. It was commissioned and started producing electricity in 1955. Surprisingly close to Dounreay we spot the sign and turn for St Mary’s Chapel. Winding our way along a narrow lane and just avoiding a head on with a semi-trailer of all things we turn into a small carpark that appears to be behind a farmer’s house. After a deceptively long walk we arrive. This 12th century ruin is claimed to be the oldest chapel in northern Scotland. This memorial was the oldest we could decipher, obviously dated 1778. Just a random photo looking across the small cemetery towards the chapel. Note sure what this marker was for, but it makes for a nice picture. Once we are back in the Hymer it’s less than 10 miles on to Thurso. It’s the only proper township along the north-east coast. To our surprise it is a substantial place with a lovely park and a large Tesco and Lidl supermarkets. So we do a £50 shop at the Tesco as we will be on the Orkneys for a few days and were not sure what’s there to be honest. We take the opportunity to fuel the Hymer at £1.35 @ litre. From Thurso we continue onto Dunnet Head, the sign says it all. Another Stephenson Light House. The view from the lighthouse is very good despite some mist out to sea. We get our first glimpse of the Orkney Islands. The Scottish Coast is wild and scenic as usual. We drove past the heritage centre at Castle Hill on our way through to Dunnet Head. The large carpark shows as a free stop on our data-base so we head back and join the other motorhomes for a very quiet evening.
Michael and Pam