Friday, 17 February 2017
Caithness. A bleak place. It's funny because we love Orkney, and the Caithness landscape is not that different to the Orcadian one. Perhaps it is the larger scale, or the long line of inhospitable seacliffs. Driving north, the contrast between sylvan Easter Ross and the bareness of Caithness is more immediate than the transfer to an island landscape. Certainly there is nothing in Orkney as magnificently wild as the hills bordering Sutherland under snow.
Opposite Caithness, the rigs of the Beatrice oil field can be seen. How strange it must be to work on these rigs for several weeks at a time, able to see the lights of the mainland yet unable to visit! I'd find that very claustrophobic.
Graves and platform:
On our way to Orkney we stopped at Dunbeath harbour, a quiet oasis burrowing into the land with the waves crashing in against the seacliffs, Dunbeath Castle perched above. (A former stronghold of the Sinclair clan). We'd never stopped before in Caithness, always driven through, and the nature of the A9 means it is easy to bypass these semi-secret villages completely.
It occurred to me that I haven't explored Caithness nearly enough. If you look at the interactive map of loveofscotland blog posts, Caithness is a big empty blank. It is drive-through country for us on our way to Orkney. Next time, I'd like to stop and explore this county.