" Scotland 2015 ~ 1. North to Durness "


Date & Time: Friday 8th / Sat 9th May 2015.

Locations : Loweswater to Durness via Pitlochry,Inverness, Dornoch (the A9).

Places visited : Meikleour, Dunkeld, Aviemore, Loch Shin and Loch Eriboll.

Accommodation : Meikleour Arms and Croft 103 Durness.

Distance : Two half day drives, a total of 10 hours and 399 miles from Loweswater.

With : Ann and myself and our dogs, Harry and Dylan.

Weather : All sorts . . . rain showers to beautiful sunshine.

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After a sunny holiday in South Wales we returned home and joined the rest of the country

in experiencing rather changeable and inclement weather.

Just one walk out to Angler's Crag last week then it is time to pack the bags again as we are heading for Scottish hills today.

We leave Loweswater sunshine and showers . . .

hoping for more of the former and less of the latter over the next ten days.

We leave the house in the capable hands of our friends, Angie and Maureen . . .

and the hazel nuts in the capable hands of one of our red squirrel visitors out there on the bird table.

First stop is the village of Meikleour north of Perth where an afternoon drive brought us to the Miekleour Arms

" They have been welcoming visitors for nearly 200 years and the hotel was first established as a Coach and Posting House

on the Inverness-Edinburgh route, where horses could be changed and passengers could have refreshments."

Tastefully modernised it provided a delightful bed and breakfast for us,

complete with a complimentary sherry in the bedroom to whet our appetite prior to the evening meal in their panelled dining room.


In the evening we read about the village and the history of the area

and noted a piece describing the " World's Tallest Beech Hedge "

- - - o o o - - -

A quick look at the map and we started off next morning,

retracing our steps quarter of a mile or so . . . we had passed it yesterday

without realising the significance of the tall trees.

The hedge was planted in the era of the Battle of Culloden (Circa.1746)
 . . . and is now cut every ten years by a gang of six men

" It was planted in the autumn of 1745 by Jean Mercer of Meikleour and her husband Robert Murray Nairne, who was subsequently killed at the Battle of Culloden in 1746 fighting for the Highland Jacobite clans against Government forces. Following the death of her husband, Jean Mercer of Meikleour would not allow the hedge to be cut, letting it to grow towards the heavens in a tribute to her husband Robert Murray Nairne’s memory." This is officially the tallest hedge in the world (in the Guinness Book of Records since 1966). [ Miekleour Arms ]

This is classic River Tay country . . . the small Scottish town of Dunkeld

The 1809 Thomas Telford bridge crosses the Tay at Dunkeld.

We're on to  the A9 and heading north towards the Pass of Drumochter and Aviemore.

Loch Gary from the same roadside layby.

Passing the distillery at Dalwhinney

There's still plenty of snow on the Cairngorms, seen here from the outskirts of Aviemore.

On through Inverness and over the hills

to be greeted by the view of Dornoch Firth

and in particular this view of Bonar Bridge

from Struie Hill.


The distant snow is on Ben More Assynt

At Lairg we turn north west onto a road we've never driven before.

It will take us diagonally north west on the final dog-leg of our journey to Durness on the north coast.

Loch Shin in the sunshine.

This area was beautiful and stunningly remote . . . just the occasional house in view over the next 30 miles of the road.

Loch a' Ghriama at the far end of Loch Shin.

The West Highland Geopark sign greets us as we look across to Loch More and the shapely Ben Stack.

Famous names . . . Loch Stack and the rocky outline of Arkle.

Loch Stack Lodge . . . an old hunting lodge.

Looking over the loch to the snow-dappled Foinavon.

Click here or on the photo above for a larger Loweswatercam annotated panorama.

On the left, a close up of the island

mentioned in my panorama above.

- - - o o o - - -

A diving board . . . no . . . a fishing platform

for salmon fishermen on the Laxford River.

Nearly to the sea now at Laxford Bridge.

Fifteen miles on and we're nearly there.

This is the Kyle of Durness and the crossing point of the foot ferry we would use to get out to Cape Wrath later in the week.

Mackay's Rooms . . . now guest house rather than a hotel . . . but owned by Fiona and Robbie Mackay.

They also own the Croft 103 self catering home that we will be staying at this week . . . so we call in to say hello

and to get any final instructions about our holiday week.

The last few miles along the coast takes us past the Sango Bay camp site

which we stayed on when we visited here with our caravan some twenty six years ago.

Sango Bay from the other side of the valley.

The briefest of stops to catch a photo of Smoo Cave inlet in this lovely weather.

We will return to explore later on in the week.

Sangobeg Bay . . . another superb sandy beach looking its best in the sunshine.

Looking right at the other half of the bay.

One last beach . . . that of Ceannabeinne Bay . . . before we turn and head down Loch Eriboll.

There's nothing between here and Iceland except the Sule Skerry Rock some 35 miles away.

Suddenly we arrive and find our 'Grand-Designs' home for the week.

Welcome to Croft 103, Portnacon, Durness in Southerland.


- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon Sureshot SX220 or my Canon 1100D Digital SLR Camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . . a computer to search out for "that ideal holiday get-away" location.

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Previous walk - 27th April 2015 - Angler's Crag with Trevor and Gill

A previous time here - Sorry - all photos are pre-digital for this area.