John O’Groats, Castletown, Thurso, Dunnet Head and Duncansby Stacks

The objective of this trip was to stand at the northern-most tip of Scotland and look over the edge.

Recognising that the appeal of this might soon wear off, I took the usual too much camera gear. As ever I was accompanied by my trusty tripod, and unusually it made it out of the car!

Now I always thought that the northern-most point was John O’Groats so I looked for a base not too far away and not too expensive. I settled on Castletown, which was lucky as it also happens to be closer to the furthest edge than John O’!

The drive, about 600 miles, took a bit over 10 hours so I settled in at my ‘modest B&B’ and rested up before setting off for ‘the edge’ the next day.

John O’Groats

I couldn’t resist a visit to John O’Groats so that was my first stop. It was all a bit disappointing and run down. The John O’Groats House Hotel was the most colourful thing. It was closed down… and shuttered… and very much in need of repair, but it had been used for an arts project and had a quite amazing paint job.

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Not all bad news for John O’ though.

I resisted the urge to take a picture of me underneath the famous (which incidentally is privately owned and you should really get permission before doing such things) signpost.

 

Dunnet Head

So this is where the northern-most point is. It must be, the sign says so!

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And here is what I travelled all this way for…

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So I went to the edge and looked over, and after all that I didn’t even take a picture. I was more taken with the lighthouse. Skip to the end of the day, a lovely sunset, and more photographs than you could shake a USB stick at.

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And another…

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Thurso

Next day was Thurso and my target was Thurso Castle. These images, and in fact all the images so far in this post were taken with the Fuji X100.

What is not apparent from these pictures is the amount of rubbish (mainly beer cans) I had to gather and hide. That aside I spent a happy hour or so taking pictures from all angles.

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Something a bit odd with my white balance on at least one of these.

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And still in Thurso

The next section concerns my meeting up with a bunch of seriously photogenic Thurso inhabitants. Whilst I can claim credit for seeing the opportunity, getting their attention and releasing the shutter, any credit for the beautifully balanced composition of the final shot has to go to the moodels themselves.

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See, I have their attention.

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They consider the proposal…

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They pose!

Fuji X100 – amazing camera.

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Thurso harbour

Another favourite camera is the Canon EOS 7D. And even more of a favourite is the EF 70-200mm L f2.8 IS USM II lens that I bought with the proceeds from the sale of a house, two cars and a motorbike. I used that combination to take these pictures of a most intriguing house.

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Duncansby Stacks

Really difficult to capture the scale of these stacks of rock left standing in the sea. Actually, taking any pictures at all was a real challenge. The midges decided to get me and get me they did.

I used the Canon EF-S 17-55mm IS USM lens with the 70D for these images. This lens is a star performer normally, but the cheap acrylic grey graduated filter took the edge off rather. Anyway, I managed these before trudging away covered in little red bite marks.

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On the walk down to the Stacks I just had to stop for the puffins. The usual puffin pictures show a single bird with a beak full of fresh sand eels. Well there were no sand eels in evidence.

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But I did get a nice group shot. Very obliging animals in Scotland.

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I had to use the Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma) for these. Good job the tripod made it out of the car. The same combination enabled me to get a closer look at the seals on the beach far below.

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And finally..

Meandering around the coast before setting off home I came across lots of tiny harbours and other picturesque places.

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This is not me. Neither of them is me, especially the one in red.

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