Day 321: Ham to John o’ Groats – The North East Fingerpost

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Caithness, Scotland

Date of walk: 7/8/2019

Wall and Dunnet Head, Caithness, Scotland.

Burn of Rattar and Dunnett Head, Caithness, Scotland.

Shoreline, Ness of Huna, Caithness, Scotland.

Hoy from Long Geo across the Pentland Firth, Caithness, Scotland.

Scarfskerry, Caithness, Scotland.

The Orkney Islands from Long Geo, Caithness, Scotland.

The Castle of Mey (the property of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1952 until 1996), Caithness, Scotland.

Tourism, Castle of Mey, Caithness, Scotland.

Castle of Mey, Caithness, Scotland.

Field boundary, Castle of Mey, Caithness, Scotland.

Long Geo Farm overlooking the Pentland Firth, Caithness, Scotland.

Flock by St John’s Point with Stroma and The Orkney Islands beyond, Caithness, Scotland.

Dunnet Head from Long Geo, Caithness, Scotland.

Bikers taking a break overlooking the Pentland Firth, Gills, Caithness, Scotland.

For Sale, Caithness, Scotland.

Canisbay Parish Church dates back to the early 1600s and is the most northernly church on mainland Britain, Caithness, Scotland.

Pews, Canisbay Parish Church, Caithness, Scotland.

Finger post at John o’Groats (John o’ Groats lies on Great Britain’s northeastern tip, and is popular with tourists as one end of the longest distance between two inhabited British points on the mainland, with Land’s End in Cornwall lying 876 mi (1,410 km) southwest), Caithness, Scotland.

In contrast to the drama of Dunnet Head, John o’ Groats consists anticlimactically of tourist shops and a noisy campsite despite the famous name and geographical significance. So after a quick photo by the fingerpost, I camp at the ness of Duncansby to consider the 3,924 miles I’ve walked from Lands End. The last time I was here was in 1996, having walked from Land’s End over 81 days when I got so drunk on drams of whisky proffered by friendly locals in the pub the best I could do in putting up the tent was wrap it loosely around my body.

Posing, John o’Groats, Caithness, Scotland.

Stickers on the finger post at John o’Groats, Caithness, Scotland.

John o’ Groats, Caithness, Scotland.


Neigh-bourhood vernacular

John o’ Groats! That’s 3,924 miles walked from Lands End via the west coast in 250 days (2-5 week sections over the last three years, unsupported, mostly wild camping).

A 21-year-old me in 1996, the last time I was here, having walked from Land’s End in 1,060 miles over 81 days.

This was my Land’s End to John o’ Groats walking route in 1996 avoiding roads as much as possible: Dartmoor, Exmoor, Offa’s Dyke, Pennine Way and over the Cairngorms.

One of the only signs I saw for the poorly marked North Highland Way – now I’ve almost finished the route!

South! I can’t believe it!

Camp, John o’Groats, Caithness, Scotland.

Long straight Caithness roads towards John o’Groats.
Approaching John o’Groats.

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British Architectural & Landscape Photographer.

One thought on “Day 321: Ham to John o’ Groats – The North East Fingerpost”

Whether you have comments on the photos, some knowledge or a personal story on this area you’d like to share, or you’ve spotted a typo or error, I’d love to hear your thoughts.