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Isle of Whithorn

Isle of Whithorn is not to be confused with Whithorn. It is about three miles further south and is one of the most southerly villages in Scotland. The locals refer to it simply as, “the Isle.” It is said to be the place at which St Ninian first made landfall in Scotland.

Harbour. This is where the Drummullin Burn enters the Solway Firth:-

Isle of Whithorn Harbour

A chapel dedicated to St Ninian was erected here in the 13th century. Its ruins lie very close to the sea.

St Ninian's Chapel, Isle of Whithorn

Interior, St Ninian's Chapel, Isle of Whithorn,

St Ninian's Chapel Interior, Isle of Whithorn,

External wall,m St Ninian's Chapel, Isle of Whithorn

The village has a War Memorial to the right of the road entering it. A Celtic Cross on a square plinth. Great War names here:-

Isle of Whithorn War Memorial

Dedications, ‘In honour of the men from the village and district who fell in the Great War 1914-1918. “Lest We Forget.” 1939-1945,’ and World War 2 names:-

Dedications, Isle of Whithorn War Memorial

Edited to add: I meant to say above that the Isle was where part of the cult horror film The Wicker Man was filmed.

Blackpool Art Deco (ii) Seaside Wall

Art Deco styling on Blackpool sea wall. Pillar, and fencing:-

Seaside Pillar, Blackpool

From shore side:-

Sea Wall Pillar, Blackpool

HMS Queen Elizabeth and Isle of May

HMS Queen Elizabeth is the Royal Navy’s latest aircraft carrier. (That’s the one there’s not enough money to fit out with any aircraft.)

She sailed out from her fitting out at Rosyth in the Firth of Forth for her sea trials in June 2017. We happened to be in Cellardyke, Fife that day and caught a glimpse of her near the Isle of May.

HMS Queen Elizabeth (yacht in front) and the Isle of May from Cellardyke Harbour:-

HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Isle of May

HMS Queen Elizabeth and Isle of May closer view:-

HMS Elizabeth and Isle of May

HMS Queen Elizabeth closer view:-

HMS Queen Elizabeth

Isle of May:-

Isle of May, Firth of Forth

HMS Queen Elizabeth and another ship:-

HMS Queen Elizabeth on Sea Trials

John O’Groats

Not quite the farthest northeast point of the British mainland (see previous post) John O’Groats is, though, the furthest northeast settlement in Scotland.

There’s almost nothing there though, which does mean it’s thankfully mostly unspoiled.

Well, a small harbour, from which there are boat trips (foot passengers only) to the island of Stroma, and I think Orkney:-

Harbour, John  O' Groats

A hotel:-

Hotel, John  O' Groats

The signpost – very difficult to photograph without a body in the way – though they don’t all wear silly hats:-

Signpost, John  O' Groats

This view inland also shows in the background the shop at the site:-

Inland View, Signpost, John  O' Groats

There’s also a sculpture with three intersecting curved metal strips to represent the local nomadic boulders the information board shown below explains. There were children playing on it though so I didn’t photograph the sculpture itself:-

Nomadic Boulders Information Board, John  O' Groats

Duncansby Head

Before heading back south from Thurso I’m nipping back to Duncansby Head, the northeasternmost tip of Scotland (and the UK) which is not, as most people might think, John O’Groats. Duncansby Head is a few miles eastward along a one-track road.

As we had factored in possible traffic delays we had an hour or so’s grace before the ferry to Orkney and so took in the Head.

Duncansby Head, Caithness

Cliffs and an inlet:-

Duncansby Head Cliffs

The cliffs are home to lots of seabirds:-

Birds at  Duncansby Head

As you might expect there’s a lighthouse at the land’s end:-

Duncansby Head Lighthouse

Just to the south of the head are these rocks sticking up out of the sea. They’re known as the Duncansby Stacks:-

Duncansby Stacks

On the way across to Orkney on the ferry I took this photo of Duncansby Head from ten or so miles away in the Pentland Firth:-

Duncansby Head from Pentland Firth

Dunnet Head and Lighthouse

Dunnet Head is the northernmost point of the Scottish mainland and hence of Britain.

Dunnet Head from distance, from a side road off the A 836:-

Dunnet Head From Distance

Cliffs at Dunnet Head:-

Cliffs at Dunnet Head

Lighthouse, Dunnet Head:-

Lighthouse, Dunnet Head

Dunnet Head Lighthouse Foghorn, island of Hoy in background:-

Dunnet Head Lighthouse Foghorn

Lighthouse and foghorn:-

Lighthouse and Foghorn, Dunnet Head

Lighthouse Information Board:-

Lighthouse Information Board, Dunnet Head

Lighthouse and Pentland Firth:-

Dunnet Head Lighthouse

Cliffs again:-

Dunnet Head Cliffs

Hoy from Dunnet Head:-

Hoy from Dunnet Head

Pentland Firth and Hoy from Dunnet Head:-

Pentland Firth and Hoy from Dunnet Head

The Old Man of Hoy is just visible in this zoom (and in the previous photo if you squint a bit):-

Hoy and Old Man of Hoy from Dunnet Head

Archæology on the Brough of Birsay

The Brough of Birsay is an island just off the north-east coast of mainland Orkney. I blogged here about the causeway you have to cross to access the island.

It is also home to some archæological remains (as well as a Stevenson lighthouse which we didn’t visit.) The weather was fine when we walked across the causeway to the island but while we were there it started to rain and the wind was so strong the rain was coming in horizontally, so discretion prevailed over perseverance. Even so by the time we got back to the car we were thoroughly drookit.

There was some nice geology just where the path from the causeway meets the brough proper.

Rocks, Brough of Birsay, Orkney

The archæology on the brough comes from three distinct eras. First there was some Pictish occupancy. However this Pictish symbol stone is a replica, unfortunately. (Though there was such a stone found on the brough.)

Pictish Symbol Stone, Brough of Birsay

There is a better photograph of the symbol stone on Historic Scotland’s Birsay webpage if you click through the pictures.

As the information board says there was later Norse – in two phases – and ecclesiastical building on the island.

Brough of Birsay Information Board

Remains of Norse houses:-

Remains of Norse Houses, Brough of Birsay

A later Norse house:-

Norse House, Brough of Birsay

Another later Norse house:-

Later Norse House, Brough of Birsay

Birsay may have been the home of Thorfinn the Mighty.

Brough of Birsay, Norse Houses, Information Board

St Monans

St Monans (sometimes spelled St Monance) is a seaside village in the East Neuk of Fife.

Its church, standing as it does prominently above the village and visible from the main A 917 road between Pittenweem and Elie, must be one of the most painted in Scotland certainly in Fife.

Church from village:-

St Monans Kirk From Village

From access road:-

St Monans Kirk From Access Road

From graveyard:-

St Monans  Kirk 2

Isle of May from St Monans:-

Isle of May from St Monans

Rocks at St Monans:-

Rocks at St Monans, Fife

Panorama of village and sea:-

St Monans Panorama

The Causeway at Birsay, Orkney

I was reminded this week of the causeway from mainland Orkney to the Brough (island) of Birsay.

Brough of Birsay, Orkney

The causeway allows access to the island at low tide. You can just see it under the water’s surface to the middle left of the photo above.

At the time of my previous post I didn’t include the video I made of a river of sea water which flowed from north to south under the causeway about halfway across. Below I remedy that omission. Click on the picture to get to the video.

Sea "River" Under Causeway at Birsay, Orkney

Birsay, Orkney

The parish and village of Birsay lies at the northwestern end of the mainland of Orkney.

Just off the mainland is the Brough of Birsay. Brough means island:-

Brough of Birsay, Orkney

A causeway allows access to the island at low tide. You can just see the causeway under the water’s surface to the middle left of the photo. The island has a Stevenson lighthouse on it.

Rocks and a standing stone at Birsay:-

Rocks at Birsay, Orkney

More rocks and a small bay at Birsay:-

Rocks and Bay at Birsay, Orkney

The remains of the Palace of a notoriously harsh Earl of Orkney are the main attraction in Birsay itself.

From road in:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney, from Road in.

Reverse view:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney

Interior 1:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney Interior 1

Interior 2:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney, Interior 2

Interior 3:-

Earl's Palace, Birsay, Orkney, Interior 3

We did wander round the graveyard of St Magnus Church, and took a walk down to the beach behind it.

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