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Highlands & Islands Road Trip Part 3

An early start to drive over to Stromness for the ferry. There is a ferry that runs from St Margaret’s Hope to Gill’s Bay in about an hour but by going from Stromness you get to cruise by The Old Man of Hoy.

Leaving Stromness
Leaving Stromness
Leaving Stromness
Leaving Stromness
Leaving Orkney
Leaving Orkney
Leaving Orkney
Leaving Orkney
Leaving Orkney
Leaving Orkney
Getting into port at Scrabster
Getting into port at Scrabster

 

On arriving back in Scrabster we head west along the north coast, some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere!

View over to Dounreay nuclear power plant, Caithness, the fast reactor closed in 1977, decommissioning is expected to be completed 2030 resulting in return to brownfield status by 2330
View over to Dounreay nuclear power plant, Caithness, the fast reactor closed in 1977, decommissioning is expected to be completed 2030 resulting in return to brownfield status by 2330
Stunning scenery abounds on the drive along the north of Scotland
Stunning scenery abounds on the drive along the north of Scotland
Stopped at Bettyhill for a late lunch and enjoy the views of the sandy coastline
Stopped at Bettyhill for a late lunch and enjoy the views of the sandy coastline
Coldbackie Sands, a great spot for a break and a stretch of legs
Coldbackie Sands, a great spot for a break and a stretch of legs
View of the Kyle of Tongue from above
View of the Kyle of Tongue from above
On the Kyle of Tongue, surrounded by mountains
On the Kyle of Tongue, surrounded by mountains

 

Plenty of beautiful spots to stop and stretch the legs along the way to Durness on the north-west coast.

Ceannabeinne, 2km to the east of Smoo Cave
Ceannabeinne, 2km to the east of Smoo Cave
Above Smoo Cave
Above Smoo Cave
Sheltering from rain in Smoo Cave, the largest sea cave entrance in UK, c40m wide and 15m high.
Sheltering from rain in Smoo Cave, the largest sea cave entrance in UK, c40m wide and 15m high

 

From Smoo Cave and Durness it’s a short jaunt south to Rhiconich for a couple of nights stay at Rhiconich Hotel overlooking Loch Inchard.

Setting sun overlooking Loch Inchard
Setting sun overlooking Loch Inchard

 

Next day we head back up to Durness to hike from Balnakeil Bay across the stunning sandy beach and dunes round the small peninsula, Faraid Head.

Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
Walking from Balnakeil Bay to Faraid Head
At the western end of Balnakeil Bay is the ruins of an old church. Founded in 722 by St. Maelrubha, the present building dates from 1619
At the western end of Balnakeil Bay is the ruins of an old church. Founded in 722 by St. Maelrubha, the present building dates from 1619

 

A little boat can take you across the Kyle of Durness where a mini bus will drive you the 12 miles out to Cape Wrath lighthouse.

Kyle of Durness
Kyle of Durness

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After a bit of getting lost we finally found the parking area to hike out to Sandwood Bay. Cape Wrath lighthouse is visible from the path out to the stunning Sandwood Bay.

View looking back to start point of walk out to Sandwood Bay
View looking back to start point of walk out to Sandwood Bay
Cape Wrath lighthouse can be seen from walk to Sandwood Bay
Cape Wrath lighthouse can be seen from walk to Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay
Sandwood Bay

 

Back to Rhiconich Hotel for curry, beer and sunset.

Sunset over Loch Inchard
Sunset over Loch Inchard

 

 

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