Saturday 23 June 2018 Durness – Scrabster- Orkney

First this morning we went on a boat trip through the Smoo Cave. After placing on a helmet, we climbed into a small inflatable boat which can carry 8 people. The guide rowed us across the first part of the water and threw out some bread and told us to watch for piranhas. The surface of the water came alive with fish snapping at the offerings. It was an incredible sight and a little frightening until the guide told us they were actually brown trout.  We continued a little further and then climbed out pulling ourselves up to the edge with the aide of a rope and walked on planks a short distance to the end of the cave. We returned the same way. The guide is an old caver who has been excavating at this site for over 20 years and has a fantastic knowledge of rocks and their formation. At present he runs the boat trip in summer to fund exploration in the winter months and is currently working on a new dig. Every time they discover something he updates his website with pictures. It was only a short trip but very worthwhile.

Next stop along the coastal route was Skerray Harbour. A lovely spot with great views. Further on we drove passed the 14th century ruins of Castle Varrich perched on top of a hill before stopping at Thurso. Thurso has a small information centre and museum combined which is currently holding a display on the industry and people of the area. It was really interesting to see what industry was like and the type of jobs in the early 20th century compared to now.

Last stop was the Northlink ferry terminal in Scrabster for our trip to Orkney. Here at the harbour is the beautiful Holborn Head Lighthouse. We left on the 7pm ferry in windy conditions and sailed to Stromness on the Orkney mainland arriving at 8:30 pm and headed north to wild camp about 4 miles out of town at Strathborg in a parking area.

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