Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 3 - Keiss to Thurso -End of the World, Giant Wagon Wheels & Farts
Calamity Shane on the NC500 - Part 3
Keiss to Thurso
End of the World, Giant Wagon Wheels & Farts
We woke early as the mornings rush hour traffic raced by. It was all over and done with in about 3 minutes, but the noise it brought shattered the eery silence that enveloped the pretty little village of Keiss.
I tried to stretch out but Kerry was taking up the entire bed with her starfish impression again so I slid out rather awkwardly through the poorly placed bed exit gap thing trying desperately not to let the belly full of farts fall out whilst doing so. But alas, they popped out anyway and I could feel kerry chuckling under the covers. I ignored her childish behaviour and donned my shorts and T-shirt and left the building so I could vent properly without being laughed at.
The plan for the day was John O’Groats. The end of the Great British land mass. Except it’s not, it’s Dunnet Head. Some say it’s the same place really, but the sign posts say otherwise. Who knows. Either way that’s where we were headed.
Water topped up and off we set, leaving the pub stopover behind us for ever. A lot sooner than we thought, we saw a sign post depicting the lighthouse and viewpoint so we spun around as I missed the turning, again, and headed along the super narrow single track lane for what seemed like miles.
Something wasn’t right I thought, as I’d heard there wasn’t much at the most northerly point of main land Britain but surely there must be more than this? An old lighthouse and a bin? Nah man, must be more. We got blown about like a handkerchief in a hurricane as we left the van to explore, fierce winds threatening make us tomorrow’s news headline: Couple Get Blown Off Cliff Whilst Misbehaving!
Our little exploration lasted about 30 seconds as we realised we weren’t even at John O’Groats! We had a laugh anyway and turned the van around to find the elusive JoG a mere few hundred yards away from where we initially turned off!
Weirdly, there was a Christmas shop at the end of the world, as well as a few gift shops and a cafe. And a book shop that didn’t appear to sell any books. But the Christmas shop was ace even if it was the middle of summer. We took a few selfies at the famous post, some more at the other famous post a bit closer to the furthest point and had a little explore before grabbing a decent coffee and continuing our journey around the highlands. There’s not much more to say about JoG apart from it’s a weird feeling being closer to Iceland than London especially as we weren’t exactly cold. Wind battered, yes but cold? No.
We decided to check out Dunnets Head also, just to make sure that we covered all bases for being as far north as we could be. The road there was a good trek off the NC500 route and consisted of a narrow single track road most of the way and some incredible scenery. We passed some ladies who’d somehow managed to get their motorhome stuck and were being towed out by a farmer in his giant tractor! Everything was under control so we carried on up the hill to another lighthouse, more wind and a trig point. The obligatory “hand on trig point” photo was taken to commemorate the occasion. We felt a little let down as the furthest point was inaccessible as it was in the actual lighthouse grounds. We did get some pretty cool photos though before we set off to pick the route back up. We were slightly delayed though halfway down the single track as a motorhome co-driver was emptying the grey water tanks over a cattle grid, blocking the road both ways. She seemed unfazed as she squatted down holding the tap open. Now it’s only grey waste, but come in, use a bit of savvy. Don’t block the bloody road for ten minutes whilst you do it!
Safely back on the route, we headed for Dunnet Bay caravan club site hoping there would be room at the inn. As we bimbled along I suddenly remembered about a bakery I’d seen on Facepagemagazinebook somewhere that sold giant cakes and pastries and stuff, so Google to the rescue again.
Annie’s Bakery is well off the beaten track but also well worth the visit! That far off the track I was sure we were the poor participants in a cruel hoax. Eventually we were directed by Mrs Google and her dulcet tones to a farmhouse bakery. I squealed with delight at the ginormous wagon wheels and cinnamon loaves and other delectable delights for the sweet toothed demon in me. The cinnamon loaf really is to die for you would probably die eating a whole one to yourself too… And the wagon wheel that was as big as my face was a joy to behold!
All caked up and coffee in hand, we set off once more, my trusty Transit van that I’d recently had remapped for the trip making light work of the single track lanes and hills.
We arrived at Dunnet Bay campsite, the perfect resting place for the weary traveller and inquired about a vacancy but of course, there was none. I tried explaining that I’m reviewing for The Campervan Bible but she just said “We’re still full.” I guess that’s a review in itself really, a full site is usually a good site!
We stayed parked in the adjacent public carpark and went for a gander on the beach. It was still blowing a hoolie but we had a craic regardless. I did an awesome job at hide and seek, until I realised that that I was wearing a blue jacket squatting down in the dunes, so from the roadside it looked like I was taking a dump.
I couldn’t help but notice the many dead birds on the sand. I tried to work out a reasonable explanation for this bizarre scene but all I could think of was an alien attack or sea monsters. When I suggested these to Kerry she looked at me like I had just grown a penis from my forehead. I thought they were pretty good reasons though.
No room at the inn meant we’d keep driving until we found somewhere. Which we did, in Thurso. A cracking little campsite with particularly competent staff, cracking views and the most awesome Texas style pancake breakfasts I’ve ever had! Crispy streaky mapley bacon and two giant inch thick fluffy pancakes drizzled with thick maple syrup and a fried egg. My heart didn’t thank me and neither did kerry for the many farts that ensued almost immediately after consumption.
Showered and refreshed, well slept and fed, van fluids checked and fresh water topped up and laundry done, we set off once again on our trip of 500 miles of the Scottish highlands, this time heading towards Strathy Bay.