around the corner to the North Coast of Scotland, down the east coast still following the NC500 to Inverness, then we move inland.

Kinlochbervie

Glad we stayed at Kinlochbervie for two days it started to rain and didn’t stop for 24 hours. We’ve been lucky enough with the weather up to now, the temperature has been between 11 to 16° with a few days of rain this is the worst weather we’ve had so we mustn’t grumble. Kinlochbervie is the most northerly port on the west coast of Scotland. The majority of local industry is based on fishing, The town has a large fish handling depot, many ships from the west and east coast land their catches in Kinlochbervie. Refrigerated lorries deliver frozen fish all over Europe. The local scenery is beautiful making it a tourist attraction there are lots of holiday homes and B&B in the area.

We’re moving on to the north coast passing through some villages on this beautiful coast line Durnes, Cranstackie so many lovely places to mention. We pulled into a village called Midtown where we stayed the night at The Craggin Hotel it’s a pub/restaurant where we can park for free as long as we buy a few drinks or a meal. So we had a meal on the night. The Hotel is on the coast looking over the wild rocky beach with 5 islands out in the bay with more beautiful scenery.

A Brit stop
The weather as been a bit dull along the west coast. But we didn’t come to Scotland for the weather we came for the magnificent scenery.
Pats island we put in a offer 😃

All along the north wild rugged coast is glorious, to many places to mention. We passed by the Dounreay nuclear power plant looking out of place in this beautiful area. 9 miles on we came to Thurso the most northerly town in the UK overlooking the Orkney Islands. We stopped to have a look around. We walk down the esplanade along a Sandy beach, then into the town with some lovely old architecture which we like, no modern building in Thurso. Thurso as a population of 8000 an interesting town we enjoyed our visit.

10 miles on we came to John o’ Groats the most northerly tip of Great Britain, (but it’s not the most northerly tip of GB nearby Dunnet Head is) John o’ Groats is very popular with tourists, it’s not a village it’s a very busy place, a tourists centre with a big hotel some restaurants cafes shops a campsite, beautiful coastline and plenty of walks. This may sound a bit brash but it’s not it was tastefully designed in 2013. John of Groats is well-known for its link with Lands End the Southernmost tip of GB in Cornwall 876 miles away. Just about everyone as a photograph taken next to the well-known signpost so did we. We like it here we went walking it’s nice and flat along the coast to Dunnet Head, with the Orkney Islands out in the bay it was a beautiful walk.

Our 2 days at John o’Groats was excellent and the weather had improved it’s been about 16°. Not bad for this far north. Off Down the east coast we go, the landscapes is a lot flatter, we’re heading down to Inverness with some stops on the way. Our first stop is Tesco’s for groceries and breakfast. The road A9 is a little bit windy and undulating but not like we’ve been used to on the west. Our next stop Helmsdale a village with an English sounding name, the village put aside some parking places for motorhomes on the harbour, no charge but asked for donations to the lifeboat, which we did, thanks to Helmsdale. 👍 It was lovely parking on the harbour lots of seabirds and we saw some seals. A nice village with shops, a hotel, a restaurant and a pub where we had a pint sat outside in the sunshine. Helmsdale is famous for hosting the highland games. A lovely place to stay the night.

On our way again heading south on the A9 we’re not going to Inverness keeping away from big city’s, the covid rules are quite strict in Scotland. So we’re going inland towards Lochness. We’ve found an aire called Daves rest in a Glen 3 miles from lochness near a village called Balmacaan Drumnadrochit. We park up miles from anywhere it was a very quiet night great place to stay for £13 all in. Onward down lochness we stopped and had a look for the Lochness monster but no luck Nessie must be hiding 🦕.

We passed through Fort Augustus we’d like to have stopped but it looked very busy and there was nowhere to park. A few more miles down Lochness then Loch Oich, Loch Lochy we came to Neptune’s Staircase. We were abel to park here overnight. So we went to have a look at Neptune’s Staircase lock a series of 8 locks. We met up with Ben the lockkeeper he was very friendly and knowledgeable about the canal, he told us it is part of the Caledonian canal. The Caledonian Canal connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near Fort William. The canal takes in 4 lochs and 4 aqueducts and 29 locks and is 60 miles long, built by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford. Neptune’s Staircase is an interesting and great engineering achievement. Well worth a visit.

Ben The Lockkeeper, thanks Ben for all the information about the Caledonian canal
Duncan and Fiona sailing with Captain Malcolm on Nauticat 44
Talking to Captain Malcolm of the SL boat Nauticat 44 heading back home to Inverness.
8 lock staircase
The Nauticat
Captain Malcolm
The Royal Navy

We enjoyed meeting up with Ben the Lockkeeper and the crew of The Nauticat Duncan, Fiona And Captain Malcolm. We had a lovely afternoon thank you 😃. We have now completed the full round trip of NC500 we’re back to where we started just about. What a fantastic journey 516 miles. That’s all for now, we’ll be moving down to The Mull of Kintyre And Campbeltown next time thanks for reading our blog, please leave a comment it’s nice to get some feedback thanks. derekandpat.com. xx

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