22nd. March: a 167-mile drive through stunning scenery
This turned out to be our most spectacular drive so far, especially the road from Inverness north. The scenery is simply stunning and there are some beautiful villages en route, our favourite being Golspie, which had a selection of shops, pubs and cafes as well as a wide range of superb building architecture, especially the houses. We agreed this might well be a good place to live, despite its remoteness.
08:07 | 1ºC, clear blue sky, sunshine, light breeze, dry.
Day four in Scotland and I am out of bed earlier than intended after only just over 7 hours sleep. I am still tired but pretty much ready for the day ahead. The idea is to check out at of the hotel around 10 o’clock and be on our way to Thurso, with probably a number of stops along the way: toilet stops, coffee stops and photography stops, preferably some or all at the same time!
Tall Pines – a great cafe
Set off from Buckie on a great journey. Our first stop – at 12:24 – was for lunch. Stopped at a petrol station in the middle of nowhere with a very good cafe – Tall Pines – and I can highly recommend it for a motoring stop. The food is good, coffee is good, service is good – and the whole place, including the toilets, is spacious and clean. If you are ever on the A9 north of Inverness, the cafe is at Evelix.
After a great lunch – and a good break in general – we set off at 13:20 but it was not long before something to the left of my caught my eye.
This map shows the location of Dornoch Firth, with the small car park being at the end of the spit . The car park is on the side of the road driving north-east towards Golspie.
Just before Golspie is a spot I can heartily recommend to stop for staggering views of what I can only describe as Eden. There is a small free car park from which to observe the jaw-dropping view that the photographs above do not do justice.
The Castletown Hotel
17:13 The Bar
I was so relieved to arrive at the Castletown. A proper hotel with a proper room, a library to chill out and, most importantly of all, good beer!
You can never usually expect much from a hotel bar but this one is okay. It is, of course, pricey, and there is, of course, no cask beer – just pop. The saving grace here is excellent beer in a bottle, in fact a selection of beers from the Orkney Brewery. At £4.50 for a bottle it is a bit steep but probably not far off what we would pay at home, and it is very good. It has been nearly a week since I have tasted good beer