NC500 Day 3 – Tuesday 27th September 2022

Keiss to Durness

Google Maps route from Keiss to Durness

Day three started again with a great breakfast, we were on the road for 0930 and headed initially to Keiss beach. This was a beach about 2 miles from the B&B and renowned for its bird life and the possibility of seeing seals. We spotted a Whimbrel, a bird only found generally in the North of Scotland and similar in looks to a Curlew. Also saw a small murmaration of starlings. Unfortunately there were no seals to be seen.

From Keiss beach we headed north to John O’Groats, one way of describing the weather there was “changeable”, the other was “four seasons in an hour!”. After the obligatory picures at the John O’Groats sign we headed to the nearest café for a warming coffee and watched the North Sea and Orcadian weather do its bit!

From John O’Groats we headed towards Thurso on the A836 where we stopped at the Dunnet Bay Distillery that Julie had noted in one of the guide books, rather than whisky this was a gin and vodka distillery making various versions of their Rock Rose gin and vodka’s using variations of coastal plants and herbs in their botanicals. A very nice, if aquired taste.

From Dunnet Bay we carried on towards Thurso and popped into the Wolfburn Distillery, this is a young distillery but has the claim to fame of being Scotland’s northernmost mainland whisky distillery. The distillery is in an industrial unit and whilst it doesnt have the ambience of a 200 year old distillery, the lady in the shop was very knowledgable and the whisky, whilst very young, was very nice. After a browse of their shop we continued on the A836 west bound passing the Dounreay nuclear site stopping for lunch in the Farr Bay Inn. This is next to Farr Bay beach which is a very picturesque, golden sand beach that was almost deserted.

After Lunch and a brisk walk to Farr Bay beach we continued west and onto the A838. This took us over the Kyle of Tongue via the Tongue bridge which gave great views of the sea loch and Brae Tongue. From there we passed the Ard Neakie Lime Kilns and looped round Loch Eriboll before arriving at the Golden Eagle Zip Line in Durness. Unfortunately it was closed due to the high winds, not that Julie had any intention of riding the zip line! This meant the limit of our experience was photos from terra firma!

We drove the short distance from the zip line to our accomodation for that night, The Wild Orchid Guest House, This was slightly different in that it did evening meals which meant we didn’t have to drive out for supper. Our hosts were Hannah and Jack and the room was very nice. Jack is a classically trained chef of over 12 years and we had an excellent dinner of local venison steak and sirloin steak washed down with some good wine and local whisky.