Day 11, Loch Ness to John O’Groats (9th August)

Day 11; another windy night had been passed with an 100% survival rate - I was happy. Although the tent was wet from the nights rain (which is a bumber as when anything gets wet it is very hard to dry in the van) we were heading onto John O’Groats which was exciting as neither of us had been there before.

Before hitting the 3 hour drive up North I stopped by Vannessa’s office to show her the photos that I had taken during the two day stay. Even though I hadn’t shown her my portfolio or agreed on what kind of style she wanted, she was very happy with the images so she let us have our stay for free – WOO! £32 still in our pocket! With job one completed, we left the campsite and drove to a local garage. The reason for this was because over the previous few days the van seemed to be leaking oil…. I know, not good. So as any other teenager does when in trouble I phoned my parents, in this case my Dad as he is the vehicle know it all in our family so I was sure he would have the answer. After describing the issue he told me that it would be best to one, keep an eye on it incase it worsened, and two, go get some more engine oil as it was getting low on the dip stick. With new oil in hand I poured it in and we were off.

The journey to John O’Groats is an interesting one. From the rough area of where Perth is a series of winding coastal roads take you on a journey which feels ever lasting. As well as this trip where you feel as if you are missing birthdays the houses appear to get lonelier the further North you get. By this I mean they kept on getting further and further apart, until points when there where miles on end from one house to the next. Many of the ‘houses’ we actually saw did look scarily abandoned. I can see why this is in fairness, as who really wants to live in an area where Dominoes can’t deliver to you!

So here we are, driving along this twisting and turning road, with me thinking “what happens if we run out of food!?”, then getting further worried when realizing that not even overly greasy takeaway pizzas would be able to save us. Just as I was about to lose hope for the life of my stomach it seemed as if we had managed to teleport to what seemed like the Bee Hive centre in Cambridge. From Aldi to Poundland there was this huge row of chain stores that just seemed to have grown up out of nowhere. Both Cath and I were actually quite shocked as to where on earth these shops came from, but we then managed to get over our confusion and amazement to carry on the journey.

20 minutes later we found ourselves surrounded by one café, a campsite and about 4 small shops; we were delighted (that we had eventually made it) and also a little disappointed when we found that this was actually John O’Groats. I mean there is really nothing to do there, the most you could do was have a drink in the café, have your photo taken in front of the sign and if you wanted to be a really touristy tourist you can go on a boat tour. I am not saying that it isn’t a beautiful place – if you haven’t been there I would recommend it for sure, just I wouldn’t plan to stay there for more than 2 days tops!

By now the wind had dyed down a lot which made putting up the tent a little easier, and the sky was clear which meant that when the sun set it really did look stunning. It sure was a lovely way to end the day – dinner in hand whilst watching the sunset lit red horizon.