To John o' Groats over Thurso

Leuchtturm von Strathy PointFelsentor an der Küste von Strathy PointSchafe

Also today we started up slowly. It means we left the campsite after noon time. First we visited the Strathenaver Museum. Then we went to Strath Point. To reach the lighthouse it was necessary to make a short walk through windy weather. Although we did not see the seals which should usually be there the view from the cliff to some rocks in the troubled water was impressive. Like often before we admired the light effects on the thick glass lenses of the lighthouse. On our way back to the car we tried to take some good photos of lambs. This was not easy to do because they turned their head every time in the "right" moment. Near Dunray we saw  casually a signpost to the "Dunreay Experimental Reactor Establishment" Visitor Centre. In the past the largest nuclear science centre of Great Britain had been existed at this secluded place. Today two of the three reactors are inoperative but it will need about 50..100 years (!) to remove all inheritances. Just like in Lubmin (Germany) they are building up a plant to restore all of the radioactive contaminated parts and materials in safe conditions. I was very concerned by a documentation file which showed all the tries and efforts to regain control over a deep hole under the sea. The hole was used as an "final storage" for poor radioactive components. Inside the hole the material had been heated up by itself and then an explosion took place followed by a slight contamination of sea water. At last they were successful and sealed the hole. Nevertheless it is worth to think twice: Was it a good example of mastering unexpected and critical situations or was it an example of the unpredictable high risk of handling radioactive material? However, the exhibition was very interesting.

Stillgelegter Forschungsreaktor von DounreayLeuchtturm von Dunnet Head mit Blick auf HoySonnenuntergang im Hafen

We took a late lunch in Thurso where we also went shopping. The town is not beautiful. Its extent is mainly a result of its function as a "sleep town" for the employees of Dunray. Much more interesting was our visit to the remains of the flagstone manufactory of Castletown. Flagstones are thick plates of slate used as the characteristic roof tiles in Scotland and England. Near Thurso there are a lot of large natural deposits of this building material. In the past the stones were there splitted and cut and then shipped all over Great Britain from the factory owned harbor.
Continuing our travel along the northern coastline we visited the most northern point of the Scottish mainland, Dunnet Head and its lighthouse. From here you have usually a good view to the Isle of Hoy. But meanwhile it was raining and foggily and so it was difficult to identify the "Old Man of Hoy" beside the western coast of the island. Although we did not originally intended to stay overnight there we pitched our tent in John o' Groats. The campsite was beautiful and John o' Groats is not so spoiled by tourism and commerce as its "Disney-Land-like" southern counterpart "Lands End" at Cornwall. Only the sunset was a little bit kitschy - but this was caused by the nature.

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