Another day in the office but today the roof was leaking. Consequently I geared up for wet weather at the cottage and left Wick at 8.10.
The path to North Head introduced my to the lower cliffs and less dramatic scenery I could expect for the day. Once round the point roads led to the village of Staxigoe. I was intrigued to find that in the 19th century this was home to the largest herring curing plant in Europe. Little remains of its industrial past today.
More cliff walking led to the lighthouse at Noss Head and an abrupt change from walking north to almost due west. This change coincided with someone adding a fan to the leaking roof, naturally the wind was from the west.
Just round the headland is Castle Sinclair Girnigoe, the first of several ruined castles. This one was used by Cromwell’s army but fell into disrepair soon after. The next village was Ackergillshore and a brief encounter with some of my bovine friends. Ackergill Tower is a magnificent house just before the sandy beach of Sinclair’s Bay.
After a brief stop I raced the tide along the 5k of beach. I won thus avoiding being forced off the sand onto either the boulders higher on the beach or the sand dunes. Half way along I had to cross the River of Wester. The guide said this could be waded but gave alternatives and the map that it was a dangerous river crossing. In the end it was a total non event barely calf deep.
Beyond the river there is a curious railway track which runs into the sea. The track is 7km long where sections of pipe are assembled and then towed out to sea to be joined together underwater. No activity was happening on the beach but later driving to the cottage we saw the lengths of pipe on the railway.
I reached Keiss at 12.25 and was now only 3k from the finish for the day. This was somewhat of a problem as I had given Alan an eta of 4.00. I emailed him explaining I would be finishing by 2.00. He got the email but did not pick it up until 2.35.
After an extended lunch I sauntered on. Old Keiss Castle is a fine ruin with the New Castle only 200m away. The defensive positions, where these coastal castles were built, are very impressive they look impregnable.
Despite my best efforts the car park at Nybster kept getting closer and I arrived at 1.50. After a second lunch break I walked up to the Caithness Broch Museum for a look round and soon after 3.15 Alan arrived to pick me up.
Tomorrow I will reach John O’Groats.