14th May – Tain to Dornoch

20190514 The Memorial Church at Tain
The memorial church at Tain

I liked Tain.  As a royal burgh it has some interesting history, so I tarried a while to find out more.  The museum did not open until 10.00am.  I could therefore enjoy a lie in and a late breakfast.  I also had time to sort out some different boot inner-soles which seems to have relieved my blister.

20190514 Viking burial stones at Tain
Viking burial stones

The gentleman at the museum was very knowledgeable, and it was well worth a visit.  Tain was a pilgrimage site for Saint Duthac, and much visited by James 4th, although he often also called on his mistress who lived nearby.  The Saint’s relics, in their containers of gold and silver, disappeared during the Reformation in mysterious circumstances.  The churchyard of St Duthac’s contained three interesting Viking graves, probably of Danish pilgrims, and a fine Pictish standing stone.

20190514 Ardjachie Pictish Stone
Ardjachie Pictish Stone

The museum has an extensive collection of Tain cutlery and silverware, which is much sought after by collectors as it bears no hallmark.  Amongst the other exhibits was information about the Highland Clearances, which were still taking place in the area as late as 1845.

20190514 The quiet lane to Dornoch
The quiet lane to Dornoch

I finally left Tain at 11.20, anticipating another day of road walking to cross the Dornoch Firth from Ross and Cromarty into Sutherland.  It was a pleasant surprise to find that the miles slipped by quite quickly, and the countryside was more interesting.

20190514 Looking down on Dornoch
Looking down on Dornoch

Leaving Tain along a road which led to the A9, I almost immediately turned along quiet lanes and paths and approached Dornoch Bridge.

20190514 Dornoch bridge
Dornoch Bridge

Crossing the bridge was made easier by both a pavement and a cycle path, so the traffic was less intrusive and intimidating.  Immediately after crossing the bridge, the trail made its way through a gorse-covered coastal fringe, before more road walking led to Camore Wood.

20190514 The path by the shore below Dornoch Bridge
Path by the shore below Dornoch bridge

I stopped at a convenient picnic table for lunch, and then continued through the wood.  Although predominantly pine, the trees had been selectively thinned, which let in more light, so that other plants could flourish.  This made this walk much more enjoyable, rather than passing through another sterile plantation.  The remains of a Bronze Age Round House could be seen at a path junction.

20190514 Remains of a Bronze Age Round House in Camore Woods
Remains of Bronze Age roundhouse

Leaving the wood along a track, with a solitary standing stone in an adjacent field, I reached the road to Dornoch and continued to the centre of the town, arriving at 2.50.

20190514 A solitary standing stone near Dornoch
Standing stone near Dornoch

My accommodation was a little way outside of the town with a fine view over the golf course, but I hope to see more of Dornoch tomorrow on my way to Golspie.

20190514 Dornoch Castle - now a hotel
Dornoch Castle – now a hotel