Day 18: Thurso to John O’ Groats – 58°38′43.3464″N 003°04′08.5597″W – Journeys End

The last day of our cycle ride from Lands End to John O’ Groats was a short hop of 18 miles from our overnight stop at Thurso.

We woke to blue skies and sunshine and were cycling up the hill heading east out of Thurso at 07:30.

The view across to the Orkneys was clear but Dunnet Head the most northerly point on Britain’s mainland dominated the view.

As we approached the village of Dunnet we stopped to admire the beauty of Dunnet Bay, a wide sweep of sand with small surf rolling in.

Dunnet Bay

Dunnet Bay

The wind was lifting the tops off the waves making a salty mist against the bright blue sky.
Our eyes were drawn to the headland and we decided to make the 10 mile detour. As we headed out of the village of Brough the land changed once again to wild moorland with heather and small lochans. It looked more attractive on this bright, sunny morning.

Wild moorland with heather and small lochans

Wild moorland with heather and small lochans

The lighthouse at Dunnet Head stands majestically on the cliff top. We cycled up to the viewpoint,

Viewpoint at Dunnet Head

Viewpoint at Dunnet Head

and had extensive views back along the North Coast to Cape Wrath, north out to the Orkneys and east to our ultimate destination John O’ Groats.

Dunnet Head lighthouse

Dunnet Head lighthouse

We enjoyed the descent on the quiet, smooth road back to Brough and Steve spotted a dozen or so seals hauled out on a slipway, basking in the sun.

We stayed on minor lanes and passed through small isolated communities. Although cuckoo had deserted us, we saw a nesting swan, geese, black-throated diver, curlew, tufted ducks and kittiwake.

We passed by the Castle of Mey with 7 miles to go and even passed two cafes to save ourselves for John O’ Groats.

John O’ Groats is centred around a small harbour.

John O' Groats harbour

John O’ Groats harbour

The views seaward are fantastic with the Orkneys to the North and the Pentland Firth racing around in between.

We had the obligatory photographs and I had my Audax card stamped.

John O' Groats

John O’ Groats

John O' Groats

John O’ Groats

Audax card stamped with the all important JOG stamp

Audax card stamped with the all important JOG stamp

It was very quiet with few tourists on this chilly Monday morning. John O’ Groats is having a bit of a facelift and is looking quite smart. We enjoyed the best scrambled eggs of the trip in the smart new cafe there.

Perfect scrambled eggs

Perfect scrambled eggs

It seemed unreasonable to miss out the most north easterly point on the British mainland so we cycled out to Duncansby Head and looked at the lighthouse there

Duncansby Head

Duncansby Head

Duncansby Head

Duncansby Head

and admired the Duncansby sea stacks.

Sea stacks at Duncansby Head

Sea stacks at Duncansby Head

Bill took a photo of us with the flag. He was geocaching and had found what he was looking for.

We had had the best of the weather and the south easterly wind was strengthening. We had the first heavy hail showers that accompanied our arduous 20 mile ride south against the wind to Wick to catch a train south to Inverness.

The GPX file for today’s ride is here.

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27 thoughts on “Day 18: Thurso to John O’ Groats – 58°38′43.3464″N 003°04′08.5597″W – Journeys End

  1. Judy Leggat

    Well done I shall miss the daily read and fantastic photos you must have done more miles than on the signpost with all detours

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      We were so pleased you were able to follow our adventure on the blog. We did just short of 1200 miles in the end. The detours were usually to very special places. Steve was particularly excited about getting out to Cape Wrath.

      Reply
    1. Barbara

      Hi Les

      Glad you have enjoyed the blog. We have also enjoyed your feedback. When summer eventually arrives in Dorset I am looking forward to some lovely swims.

      Reply
    1. Barbara

      Hi Louis.
      If time had permitted it would have been wonderful to cycle back along a different route. There are many lovely places to ride in Uk with so much variety of scenery and culture.

      Some paddling next I think though.

      Reply
  2. Jennie

    Congratulations to you both! A remarkable journey completed in style. Thanks for sharing it through the blog its been great to travel with you. xx

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Thanks Jennie.

      It was great to have the R and R with you in the first week, it set us up for the less salubrious accommodation ahead.
      In the North West we looked out to sea and wondered if Canopus had passed that way.

      Reply
  3. Jill and David

    Well done! we’ll so miss the daily fix of sharing your achievements. What amazing weather you’ve had as well. You certainly won’t remember this as a cold wet spring. Cuckoo will miss you! J&D

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Thanks Jill and David. I am glad you enjoyed following the blog. We had a fantastic trip made more enjoyable by the good weather. We never took it for granted though as we always felt that rain and wind were never far away.

      Cuckoo was not heard again after Dounreay. Spooky!

      Reply
  4. Peter and Beryl Taylor

    Well done you two . We have really enjoyed reading your daily blog. It brought back such wonderful memories of our travels. Safe journey home.

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Hi Peter and Beryl

      I am so please you were able to follow our adventure on the blog. We had a very successful trip and enjoyed every minute of it. I am back home now in a very wet Burton Bradstock

      Reply
  5. Bill Johnson

    Barbara and Steve, it will a pleasure to meet you, albeit briefly, at Duncansby Light House yesterday. An inspirational journey which I am reading with interest! I hope your journey south to Inverness on the East Coast train gave you a chance to enjoy the views… Enjoy the wedding in Kent.

    Bill

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Thanks Bill. It was good to meet you too. I hope you had a good day and had more finds. The train journey was interesting and emphasised just how big and wild the North of Scotland is.
      Good photo!

      Reply
  6. peggy carden

    Congratulations on a wonderful trip. I have really enjoyed reading about your travels, and remembering some of the places we visited although in a coach.

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Hi Peggy
      I am glad you enjoyed following our adventure on the blog. I am sure Steve will tell you much more about it when he sees you.

      Reply
  7. Liz Sharp

    Very many congratulations on an amazing achievement, stunning photographs and eloquent writing. Good luck for whatever the next adventure is.

    Reply
    1. Barbara

      Hi Liz. I am glad you enjoyed the blog. We had a fantastic trip which was definitely helped by good weather. There is quite a list on the possibilities for the next tour, but I would definitely like to explore Mull more thoroughly and also go out to the Outer Hebrides.

      Reply
    1. Barbara

      Thanks. I am glad you have enjoyed our blog. We had a really brilliant trip and hope yours is too. We were very lucky with the weather.

      Reply

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