Day 16 – Up the coast road to Wick

We had a reasonable night on John & Helen’s drive. Unfortunately I had not parked level when we arrived and I was so busy chatting and eating I completely forgot all about it so we ended up sleeping on a slope.  This meant I had to sleep slightly differently oriented to my usual position which confused the dogs no end!  It took them ages to settle and when I woke up in the early hours I could hardly move as all three had snuggled up to me as close as possible.  I certainly wasnt cold, but neither was I comfortable.  When we woke up some time later both Irene and I said we had had better nights!!  It was no matter as Helen had to leave at 8.30am to attend a physio therapy session, so we were up in time to say goodbye.  We breakfasted and had tea and got ourselves and the van ready for the off.  It was going to be a bit of a challenge leaving as there was not enough space to turn around, so I would have to reverse the van down their narrow driveway and out through their narrow gateway, so we decided to take up Johns offer of another cup of tea and a chat before we left.

Once again we managed to put the world to rights and then it was time to go. By now it was 10.30am and by the time we had carefully maneuvered out of the gate and turned around to face the correct direction, we were on our way by 11.  We travelled back towards Lairg and then took the very picturesque A839 Muie road and travelled the 14 miles to join the A9 at The Mound(?).

Our next port of call was to be Wick and then John O’Groats, however it was nearly a 2 hour run for us and we would need to stop for lunch and a comfort break so we knew we wouldn’t make it to JO’G today.  Indeed at our first stop for lunch it was very apparent that Irene was struggling with fatigue and was going to need a ‘power nap’, so that’s what we did and a 30 minute stop became one and a half hours.  We were back on the road by 2.15pm and enjoyed the ‘switchback railway’ of a road that led to Wick.  The views were stunning in places but the climbs and descents sometimes caused your heart to be in your mouth, and there were ‘escape lanes’ strategically placed for some of the descents.  We arrived on the outskirts of Wick around 3.20pm and made our way through the town for a suitable place to stop.

We found a suitable place in the St. Fergus Road Car Park, next to Poundstretcher and whilst Irene popped in to get one or two things, I took the opportunity to walk the dogs by the river.  After another tea break we made our way to Tesco on the outskirts of the Town both for some provisions and to fill up with fuel.  Whilst at the Car Park I looked up a suitable ‘wild camping’ location down by the harbour, and that is where we are as a write this at 8.15pm.  I have set the generator going for the first time this trip as we have had no electric hook-up for a few days and, although the driving and the solar panel have managed to keep the battery ‘topped up’ we needed the heating on in the van and my laptop needed charging so I didn’t want to drain the battery too much.  There are one or two houses nearby so I have placed the ‘gennie’ on the harbour side of the van to minimise the noise and will only run it for an hour or two to save any annoyance.  It is quite a quiet generator anyway, so should not be an issue.  All in all a very pleasant day.  A visit to JO’G in the morning and then it’s time to head west.

We are hoping to visit some friends on the Isle of Mull whilst we are here so I have sent them a message to let them know we are coming and just hope they are home for us to visit!  I visited the Ferry Booking website and the prices are not too bad this time of year but the cost is increased for us due to having two vehicles so although the pricing on the website seems okay, I will telephone them when we are nearer the ferry port and try to get a better deal.  After Mull it looks as though we will have to plan our trip home!


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