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.
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
The lighthouse at Dunnet Head stands majestically on the cliff top. We cycled up to the viewpoint,
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
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
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
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
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
and admired the Duncansby sea stacks.
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.