Days 10 and 11 Inverness to John O’Groats to Orkney to John O’Groats to Inverness

Snappy title to this post, eh?

Day 10 was the most straightforward for me. As there are no buses running to John O’Groats on a Sunday anymore (darn timetable changes) I got a little coach instead. This coach is run by the John O’Groats Ferries, to bring people from Inverness up to John O’Groats to meet the ferry over to Orkney.

It was a lovely journey out of Inverness, beautiful sunshine and the scenery was stunning. Lots of fields with gorse and broom.

Ebenezer Place, Wick. Shortest street in the world, just the width of this building.

As time passed, the settlements got fewer and further between.  When we got to Wick, I knew we were getting close, and the tension mounted. Then I saw a ‘Welcome to John O’Groats’ sign and I just wanted to get off the bus there and then!  I composed myself, I’m a lady, and a couple of minutes later, we were there.  There’s not an awful lot in the way of buildings at John O’Groats, a couple of souvenir shops, tourist information, a snack bar and the ferry office. There were no streets, these buildings were situated around the car park, with a couple of hotels either side. The coach driver casually pointed out the famous sign. “It’s just down there, you can take a photo with it if you want.” It was once the case that there was an official photographer and you’d have to pay, but happily for me, he has retired.

I had booked to go on an Orkney tour, so I couldn’t linger too long. Time to buy my daily postcard in the ‘First and Last’ a quick snap with the sign (thanks, Australian tourist lady) and a call home and it was time to board the ferry.

A smooth 40 min sailing took us across to the harbour, then a coach took us on to Kirkwall. We had an hour to look around this charming town, then onto Skara Brae. Although not far away by coach, we technically had to cross the Atlantic on the way there. Skara Brae is the remains of a village that predates Stonehenge by about 5000 years.  We saw a further Neolithic site, the Ring of Brodgar, and finally the Italian chapel. This was built by Italian prisoners of war using the most basic of materials, but the inside was stunning.

Crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Took about 1 minute.
Italian Chapel
Skara Brae

Back to John O’Groats for dinner and sleep.

I am typing this from a bench by the River Ness in Inverness. Today, I caught the final two buses back, so I can now 100% truthfully say that I have travelled between Land’s End and John O’Groats using only local buses, and I’m proud. I got chatting to the driver, Taylor, on the first bus, John O’Groats to Castletown. He’s approaching his landmark birthday too and has a similar sense of adventure, it seems. Taylor, if you’re reading this, happy birthday for August, and I hope you decide to do the European bus trips! This was one of the buses used to take children to school. Well, the few we picked up were much better behaved than some of my local ones.

I made my connection to Inverness with about 45 seconds to spare!  Phew!  It seems the bus timetables changed this morning. Otherwise I’d have been exploring Castletown for the next 2.5 hours. I’ve bought a map (hello, Waterstones Inverness) so I can map out my route and gaze at it in wonderment.   Typing time over, off to explore Inverness before I leave.

Day 10 Inverness to John O’Groats Depart 7.15 Arrive 10.30

Day 11 John O’Groats – Castletown – Inverness Depart 7.35 Arrive 11.50


2 thoughts on “Days 10 and 11 Inverness to John O’Groats to Orkney to John O’Groats to Inverness

  1. Hi it’s the driver. But Taylor is my surname. My first name is Doni. Short for Donangus,a good old fashioned English name! Thanks for the mention. Yes you only just made your connection as I realised I was chatting away and then suddenly I was 12 minutes late. So made up as much time as I could, with the slowest bus possible. Lovely to meet you and I hope the rest of your days however long or short they are, are filled with happiness, adventure and colourful character’s. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Eek, sorry for making you late! I enjoyed the chat though.
      I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more Scottish name than yours. We thought there was Scottish blood in my family; surname is Harris and Dad’s dad chose to fight in the London Scottish regiment in WW1. My sister did the family tree, and nope. All English. Seems Grandad just fancied wearing a kilt.
      Have an excellent 40th! x


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s