10 January 2020

Road Trip Adventures in the Scottish Highlands

As a family we absolutely love exploring our beautiful country. No matter how many times you visit the same place in Scotland, there’s always something new to see and discover. Last November we took our annual trip up to the fabulous Landmark Cottage in Berriedale, and as always we weren’t disappointed by the treasures it gifted. We arrived a little earlier than planned but luck was on our side. The lovely Judith had just finished cleaning the cottage for our arrival so we were free to unpack and get settled on.

Our first task, after offloading our bags, is to get a good fire going. We now take our own wood with us (kindly gifted from the other half’s uncle) as well as matches, fire lighters, kindling, long burn logs etc. It makes everything easier when you’re rubbish at lighting a fire like me. The other half is quite good at it though and the kids love helping out and getting involved. Even the dogs sit close by eagerly awaiting the fiery warmth from the flames. If you don’t want to take your own logs though then there are details of a local log supplier in the cottage handbook. Give them a call and they’ll sort you out, or if you’re in Wick then pop to the Tesco petrol station as they have wood to sell too.

After our fire is roaring we pop our wellies on to explore the pebbled beach. It’s right on the doorstep of this cottage or should I say the cottage is on the doorstep of the beach! There’s tons of interesting bits and bobs to be found and most magical of all are the seal pups! In November there’s quite a few female seals who visit this beach and give birth so make sure to give them lots of space, and please don’t let your dogs off the lead! This stresses the mother’s and pups so much. They are wild animals so be mindful and be respectful. The kids really enjoy watching the seals and their pups over the weekend of our visits. Sometimes the sea can be very unforgiving though and not all pups make it sadly. It’s an interesting life lesson for the kids though!

There’s plenty of oddly shaped pebbles and stones on the beach, perfect for building sculptures and playing balancing games. The mouth of the river connects to the sea at the side of the beach and sometimes if you’re lucky you’ll catch a seal having a quiet swim or fish jumping around. There’s rumours of otters too but we’ve yet to spot them. Probably because my kids make far too much noise! On our last trip we had a visit from a stoat. It was running around the big beach boulders and in and out of the grass and stone wall. Harlow was amazed and so was I. We’ve found mermaid’s purses before which was lovely and we’ve watched practice sea helicopter rescues amongst the huge waves. Where ever you look there’s something to take your interest.

We enjoy driving further North up the coast on our visits and often find ourselves in John o’ Groats. This time we popped into Stacks Bistro and it was amazing! We’ve visited John o’ Groats at least 10 times or more but never been into Stacks Bistro, what a mistake that was. The food is amazing and there’s a wide selection of tea, coffee and fancy drinks. The décor is brilliant and so eclectic, love it. We’ll make a point of stopping here again on our next visit.

Whilst at John o’ Groats we decided to take the road up towards Duncansby Head where the lighthouse is situated and there’s a nice walk to the stone stacks. It’s the most north-easterly part of the British Island so well worth a trip. Park your car in the spaces just before the light house and you’ll see a big stone with information on it. If you walk past the stone and keep going (there’s a wee track in the grass to follow) you’ll soon see the sea on the horizon and the stacks in the water. It’s a lovely walk and totally beautiful, even the kids enjoyed it. There’s loads of sheep running free so keep your dogs on a lead if you have any. When we finally reached the fence at the cliff edge we were treated to a brilliant view of a beach full of seals and their pups beside the stone stacks. I’m so glad we kept walking.

Other places we normally have a visit to when up North are the Whaligoe Steps. A lot of the hubby’s family are from up North and a few still stay around Wick so it’ll be no surprise to hear that his relatives helped to build the Whaligoe Steps all those years ago. There’s 365 steps in total which descend to a naturally formed harbour between the cliffs. I’ve been up and down the steps a few times and I tell you it never gets easier. I don’t know how they managed to lug buckets full of fish up them, I had a small child strapped to me one time and that was hard enough. The steps are currently being repaired but they are 100% worth visiting. It’s nothing like you’ve ever seen before and the views are worth every step and cramp in your legs. 

Each member of the family enjoy all our adventures when we stay at the lovely Landmark Trust Berriedale cottage, that’s why we’ve booked up again for this year!! Creatures of habit but we love it and it’s like coming home in a strange comforting way. Until next time!

4 comments on "Road Trip Adventures in the Scottish Highlands"

Susan Mann on 13 January 2020 at 12:34 said...

This looks like a great adventure. So many wonderful places to visit x

The Breastest News on 29 January 2020 at 19:53 said...

Thanks Susan, we absolutely love it up north x

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