The journey south from Westray to Wick gave us plenty of time to reflect on the past four months. Despite all the highs and achievements, there was slight hollowness – if only we had gone there, or seen that; and the disappointment of not getting to the Shetlands, etc. etc. – but then you take a reality check and ask what the object of the whole exercise was in the first place. We set out to sail around Britain, and we’re halfway done. It was as much about finding out what our capabilities were – cruising a small boat for 6 months, in an area neither of us knew. So on true reflection, we think we’ve done pretty well. Despite the weather, we’re still fairly positive that we will return here in the future and do proper credit to the west coast; and get to the Shetlands!
Enough of all this; here we are in Wick, and having come here via Orkney, we circumnavigated two more landmarks – Dunnet Head (the most northerly point on mainland Britain), and Duncansby Head (the most north easterly – the third corner). We did get a distant view of the latter from John o’ Groats – well, you just have to go there, don’t you?! I can remember how unbelievably tacky Lands End was when I went there as a teenager; well I can report that John o’ Groats is well and truly keeping this tradition alive!
Unlike my trip to Lands End though, our visit to JoG was undertaken in almost Arctic conditions.
This weather has kept us in Wick for a few days, which has been fine – the place became famous as home to the biggest fishing fleet in Europe, when the harbour teemed with literally hundreds of herring drifters during the nineteenth century – an odd measure of this activity comes from the records of the local distillery (Old Poultney), who were turning out 500 gallons of Scotch a day, for local consumption! Although the distillery has survived, sadly the fishing fleets have long-gone, along with the herring -where have we heard this before?
But Wick lives on. They have constructed a very good marina in one of the extremely sheltered docks, and the town itself is quite fun – particularly as this is ‘Gala Week’ – complete with Gala queen, floats, processions, bike races, treasure hunts, ‘It’s a Knock-out’, and much more – a bit like what Hamble Week used to be before it turned into a glorified week-long booze-up.
From here it is ever south – tomorrow Inverness, Lossiemouth or Peterhead, depending where the wind is blowing.
More pictures posted