27th May 2019
Weather: Lots of blue sky and sunshine. Cold onshore Northerly wind.
Setting off at 8:15 the day welcomed me with a brief shower that drifted away towards Dunnet Head. I was fed up with road walking after two miles so tried to find a route along the shore at Huna. Rocky beaches, nettles and a shock from an electric fence made me give up at Kirkstyle and it was another two miles of road until Mey Hill where I could relax on a quieter road, then a decent shoreline path. I resisted the temptation to call in at Mey Castle for the tea rooms.
Layered rock formations, sunlit views across the sea to the cliffs of Dunnet Head, my beckoning target. Disturbing wildlife as I went: a seal shuffled into the sea with a splash, a skylark doing her proper thing of flying higher and higher, terns in shrieking turmoil as I sat for lunch.
A stop at the appropriately named Windhaven Cafe for chocolate, at the base of the climb to Dunnet. I overheard a family discussing my walking gear as “that’s the way to do it”. The last 3km was a grass and heather trail with “North highlands Way” signposts, close to cliffs with the giveaway pong of nesting seabirds below and investigating flights of fulmars.
Around 4pm I arrived at the viewpoint south of Dunnet Head lighthouse – great views along the coast to Cape Wrath and the peaks I was closer to a week ago: Ben Klibreck and the now familiar silhouette of Morven and the group I had seen since Dalnawillan and Watten. Views also across to Orkney, with big cliffs and the stack of Hoy clearly visible.
I asked a couple to photograph me there (said they wouldn’t be home for 3 weeks) , and a few minutes later near the lighthouse by another person (Ross) who mailed me some pictures: thanks so much!!
So: Dunnet was done and “The Quest” complete. 12 miles in about 7.5 hours, with fence-climbing and beach-rocks faff as well as the cafe stop. Another enjoyable day, with great weather for walking and the bonus of dry feet – the first time since Kinbrace.
The next thing was to start the trip home. The walk along the road back to the cafe gave different views to the clifftop: the lochs and heather of Dunnet Head all bathed in sunshine I hadn’t seen since Kinlochewe to Shenavall. Hitching a lift had been unsuccessful until, just past the cafe, Tommasio and Marica from Italy gave me a lift. We talked in a mixture of Italian (thank you Mrs Sharman!) and English the 120 miles to Inverness, arriving 7:30 – many thanks to them both for helping me to be in an easy place to get trains the next day and be home by 6:30pm