SCOTTISH NORTH COAST 500 (VIA THE ORKNEY ISLES AND SKYE) PART ONE

Please follow our Road Trip Diary.

Days One to Four

Right let us firstly introduce you to the star of the show. Matilda is a 5-6 birth Roller Team Fiat Ducato Motorhome and she was hired through www.northernleisure.co.uk 

Our plan was to do the North coast 500 but we added some other places of intrest in to the Road Trip. The colours of the road route round show the distance we covered each day.

Day One

We started from Home (leeds) and made or way to Perth where we stayed for 1 night at Invermill Caravan Site. http://www.invermillfarm.com/Invermill/Welcome_to_Invermill.html  A lovely clean friendly site, we were on a hardstanding pitch over looking a small river where you could go down to on a small sandy beach.

Day Two

Is the Pink route that you can just seen at the bottom of the map upto Inverness, Rouge Falls, Rose Markie and Dornoch (first free camping nights stay on the route 500)

Rogie Falls

A lovely circular walk (a bit steep in places if you have dodgy knees as my parents found out) we found the shorter route on the way back!!!  which is the usually case.

Rose Markie

Rose Markie is noted for the Dolphins coming to feed on the incoming tide, unfortunatly we saw nothing which was dissapointing.

Dornoch Beach

This was our first night of Wild camping and we arrived a little later than we expected so it was getting on for dusk. The camp over was a small car park at the bottom of Dornoch Golf Club, took a bit to find but when entering Dornoch village on the A949 you come to junction turn right look for the brown sign saying Beach/Aerodrome - Dornoch 450 yards and follow this it will take you throught the golf course, carry on till you come to a fork in the road you will see some Static Caravans to the right, take the left fork to the small car park with fantastic views. The car park had already around 4 -5 other Motorhomes but there was room for us, so your probably best getting there early/late afternoon, but all in all very pleasent. I took a short stroll with the dog on the beach before the sun went down it was lovley, sandy and clean.  Dornoch was a lovely village quite posh we would have liked to have a nosy around but we had to make tracks, with a very busy journey ahead of us.

Day Three

Todays stint was upto Gills Bay to a Campsite Ferry View in readyness to catch the Ferry over to the Orknays on Sunday.

Its true what they say the east coast of the North Coast 500 is quite boring there were a few places we went to on or journy, we went Dunbeath Harbour which is a pretty little place with info on the area, you can see the Dunbeath Castle from the Harbour.

Dunbeath

Dunbeath Castle quaint little Harbour 

Keiss Beach

 From Dunbeth we carried our journey up calling in at Lidl and Tescos at Wick for refuling then stopping for Tea at Keiss Beach. The car park is next to a Wick Golf Course car park (Post Code KW1 4RW) a lovely long clean beach for plenty of walking a running, if your a dog!!!

John O' Groats

Last stop before heading to the Campsite for the night.

The sun was going down when we arrived but we still manged to get some good pictures, you can see the motor home in the car park in the distance.

 Last stop was Ferry View Campsite. Lovely site with  friendly owners. Because we arrived at dust we were placed on the hardstanding just next to the small porta cabin, there was an office, small toilet and shower room (nice warm and clean, free showers) and a small room where you can make drinks and warm food that would be agreat idea if you are camping, the Site price for the Motor home, 5 people and EHU was £17 for the night.  Google Ferry View, Gills Bay  

Day Four (Orknay Isles)

Is right at the top on the right hand side just a tail driffing off to the Orknays

 The Ferry was at Gills Bay www.pentlandferries.co.uk just a stones throw away from the camp site which was perfect. We had booked the Ferry for 11.30 in the morning to arrive on the Orknays at 12.30, but we decided to give the ferry company a call at 8 o'clock in the morning to see if we could get on the earlier ferry  at 9.30 o'clock so we would have a full day, we were told to make our way down to the terminal and try our luck. Bingo!!!! we managed to get on, just the last to board and be squeezed on. 

The sailing across could not have been better it was smooth and the weather was gorgous and the views were clear.  

 We arrived at St Margrets Hope Ferry Port at10.30 we diceded to drive around the botttom coast and stop for our Breakfast we found a spot just before a place called Herston, you could see in the distance a lovely golden beach as the tide was going out.  We then packed up and made our way north over the Causways that connected the Isles together (Churchill barriers ww2). We stopped off at the www.orkneyfossilandheritagecentre.co.uk  a really nice well put together museum well worth and stop and look, there is lots of info on  fossils to read and see plus there is a section upstairs on the heritage of the surrounding area and also about Churchill barriers ww2.

Churchills Barriers

Churchills Barriers can be seen on the next causeway along as you travel North and also the remains of the ships that were sunk to prevent German invasion of the Isles during the second world war.

The sea and beach is beautiful the colour of the water is stunning.

Italian Chapel

From here we made our way still North, on the way a sign caught our eyes for a Gin distillery www.deernessdistillery.com well it would have be rude not to call in, well we ended up buying a bottle of their Sea Glass Gin what a punch!!! proper gin not the Gin that is bought at your local supermarket this is quality Gin. 

After sampling the Gin, a very merry journy was made by those of us who had a sample (NOT the driver) we made our way up to the second of our Wild Camping destinations to the Brought of Barsey.

Brought of Barsey

We arrived at Barsey around 5.30 and the weather was turning to rain, we had or tea and then around 7 o'clock we mamaged to get down on to the beach with a weather break. When the tide is out you can walk across the man made walkway to the island where you can see the Historic settlement and the Light House further across the Island. This is a must for free camping the night the views are lovely and the beach has some special structures people have built. It was nice looking out of our roof top bunk at night and watching the light house was brilliant experience.

 While making or way back down to the port of St Margerets Hope there looked to be plenty to do on Orkney, we all wished we had more time to spend on the Orkneys, but we have decided we WILL be going back.

SCOTTISH NORTH COAST 500 (VIA THE ORKNEY ISLES AND SKYE) PART TWO  TO FOLLOW .......