Day 877 of Traveling the World, Retrospective: Dunnet Head & John o’Groats, Scotland, UK. June 27, 2020.

The end of the world! Well….at least, the end of the UK. The most northerly end. Of mainland UK. Scotland. In July 2017 we took an epic driving tour of Ireland and the UK, 104 days, with 72 days in a rental car in the UK, covering England, Wales, and Scotland. On July 14, 2017, we were staying in the lovely city of Inverness, Scotland, and wanted to take a road trip to the north. We drove on very narrow, two-lane roads, passing through the “metropolises” of Wick, John o’Groats, and Dunnet. Dunnet Head (also known as Easter Head) was just a little farther north from Dunnet, and being the northernmost spot on the mainland, we decided we really should go for it, even though the clouds threatened rain off and on all day. We drove about 250 miles round trip. You can see in our photos most of what we saw. The views from Dunnet Head were just gorgeous, deep blue water crashing on the rocks, and just a few other tourists.

To get there, we also drove through John o’Groats, a destination for people trying to make the longest trek possible through the UK mainland in one direction (from Land’s End in Penzance). Its name is taken from Jan de Groot, a Dutchman who ran a ferry. People from here are called Groaters. You can see the village’s guest house in one photo, and this is one of the UK’s most famous landmarks, believe it or not! It was built near Jan de Groot’s original home in 1875, fell into disrepair, but was refurbished in 2013. Without the internet, we never ever would have guessed that this very humble guest house was famous in any way or shape!

Following the photo of the guest house are just pastoral photos we took along the 250-mile drive….fields, flowers, vistas, open space, some sheep and cattle. In the forefront of one photo, you can see an ancient property wall, which we saw in many places in the UK. It is simply thin rocks standing upright. Sometimes it is built up, in several rows, but often it is just a single row, as it is here.

We stopped at a small cozy cafe as the rain came in, as you can see in the last photo. We were surprised to find that it was a former church…notice the high windows, chandeliers, and a pretty mural of a church filled with people…the former congregation, we would guess. We always say…we go to the weirdest places! Winding up at the northernmost point was just pure luck, though, and is a wonderful memory.