Wednesday, 3 May 2017


Keiss → John o' Groats

mervyn.jpg Distance: 14.05 miles
Ascent: 352 metres
Duration: 5 hours 32 minutes

Where the land runs out
« Wick | Brough »

heather.jpgAsk anybody about the extremities of our island and they'll mention John o' Groats. The journey from Land's End in the south-west is so famous that even purists, who know the place has no geographic significance, have to admit there is at least a psychological consequence of reaching this destination.

boars-of-duncansby.jpgHowever, for us the most exciting moment came much earlier. As we climbed the Hill of Crogodale we saw for the first time the island of South Ronaldsay, one of the Orkneys, separated from the mainland by the Pentland Firth, running white with the wild water of the Boars of Duncansby. After so many years of heading north, we were reaching a turning point, the moment when our island runs out.

stacks-of-duncansby.jpgAs ever the scenery was the star: the springy heather of the clifftops; the Stacks of Duncansby below; the never-ending swirling of the sea-birds darting between nests.

John o' Groats itself may be little more than a small harbour, a café, a signpost and an oversized car-park, but the signpost is the reason everyone gathers here. We arrived shortly after a group of cyclists who were making a big deal of their thousand-mile ride from Land's End. Our LE-JoG walk has taken us 2,400 miles and we've still got JoG-LE to complete yet.


Notes for future walkers:

  • We found it relatively straightforward to walk outside the fields on the coast all the way from Keiss to Freswick (though it was a little tight in places).
  • We crossed the Burn of Freswick on the bridge behind Freswick Castle (ND 377 671), then took the track up from the beach (ND 378 677) to the minor road (ND 377 679) which we followed to its end (ND 392 686).
  • From the road end we continued along a track to the quarry (ND 395 687), then headed north across the heather and bog staying relatively close to the clifftops all the way. The going was a bit damp, but not difficult.

    Posted by pab at 19:46 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!