I was stuck with nowhere to stay and needed to charge batteries and dry out before the difficult push to Cape Wrath, so I asked for help on Twitter. In response, singer and crofter Vivien Scotson offered me her Airbnb wagon to sleep in at Oldshoremore for no charge. There were fresh flowers and the interior Illuminated by candlelight when I arrived in the dark. Oldshoremore, Sutherland, Scotland.
It’s past midnight as I squelch out of the moorland to reach the track to the Cape Wrath Lighthouse, Scotland’s remote northwest point. In the pouring rain, I collapse to my knees, overcome by relief and emotion to kiss the road, this symbol of civilisation. The hardest part of the journey: the winters, the weeks of pathless mountain terrain, the need to be self-sufficient for days at a time – all that is now behind me. Exhausted, I pitch the tent below the lighthouse as the beam swings diffused through the dense rain above. The gentle rumble of a generator blends with the rain as I drift asleep.
Vivien Scotson’s Wagon in Oldshoremore, Sutherland, Scotland.
Oldshoremore Beach I, Sutherland, Scotland.
Oldshoremore Beach II, Sutherland, Scotland.
Polin Beach I, Kinlochbervie, Sutherland.
Polin Beach II, Kinlochbervie, Sutherland.
Polin Beach III, Kinlochbervie, Sutherland.
To Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland.
Sandwood Bay in rain, Sutherland, Scotland.
Am Buachaille Sea-Stack, Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland.
Bottlenose whale skull, Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland.
The way to Strathchailleach Bothy, Sutherland, Scotland.
Strath Shinary, Sandwood Bay, Sutherland, Scotland.
Strathchailleach Bothy, thought to be the last house in mainland Scotland that was lived in as a permanent dwelling without any services, Sutherland, Scotland.
Entrance to Strathchailleach Bothy, Sutherland, Scotland.
James MacRory, known as Sandy, lived in/appropriated Strathchailleach Bothy for 32 years until 1996. I tried to stay here (it was technically a public bothy) when he lived there in 1992, having walked from Inverness. I was 17 and travelling alone. It was late and raining as I tried to unlatch the door, at which point he stuck his fierce bearded face out of the doorway and told me to “fuck off out of his hoose!” before slamming the door in my face. I decided to sleep in my tent!
Window at Strathchailleach Bothy, Sutherland, Scotland.
Strathchailleach Bothy, Sutherland, Scotland.
The hearth, Strathchailleach Bothy, Sutherland, Scotland.
The Perimeter is a labour of love: it’s taken 454 days of walking, hundreds of hours of planning and thousands of hours of editing. If you have the means, I’d appreciate your support by buying a print or contributing so I can continue to share the project with you.
The bad news is Sandy’s ghost 👻 could be haunting that bothy!a foul mouthed poltergeist throwing stuff around!
I don’t doubt it!