Day 47 – Wick to Freswick Castle

Monday 11th November – with Crispin Heath

No data yet – waiting for WiFi… about 18 miles

The penultimate day … wet, windy, walking with Crispin.

John and Crispin starting at Wick

I was in good company today for an early start from Wick with Crispin Heath, a very experienced outdoor instructor who helped build up Fiona’s confidence and skills in the outdoors, during her year at Moray House in Edinburgh.

The weather could have been a tad better … easterly winds buffeting us as we negotiated the wild coast of Caithness. Thankfully Crispin was in charge of photography, which made life easier for me in the wet weather.

We walked through Wick in the dark and then followed through to Staxigoe and on to Noss Head, where we had a close look at the Lighthouse and the very dramatic Castle Sinclair… still very much intact.

At least we had the weather behind us as we travelled west along to Ackergill Tower. Sinclair’s Bay is enormous, and the waves were wild today. We were able to walk along the top of a ridge of sand dunes, with the golf course to our left and the North Sea to our right. Eventually we had to take the road for our lunch meeting with Fiona at Keiss Harbour – as a river crossing would have been too dangerous.

Fiona joined us for the first part of the afternoon walk, despite the inclement conditions, leaving us as we reached the remains of the old Keiss Castle.

Keiss castle
Poignant view of the beaches on Remembrance day from this bunker

On the final section we came across a whale’s jaw fixed into the wall of a farm we passed, Crispin had seen something similar in Fife before, but it was a first for me.

With light fading fast, we travelled the last mile on the road, with Freswick Castle ahead of us. A farmer did stop on the main road with his tractor and trailer offering us a lift … it was tempting, but these feet have gone so far, I’d like to finish the journey unassisted!

Freswick castle
Unbelievable setting

What a dramatic location for the last two nights of our journey … everything you could ever imagine sleeping in a castle would be like … and more. We are being hosted by Murray Watts, a good friend, well know author and playwright. We also shared the evening with Zoe, here for the final day tomorrow, and James and Doreen Mellor. It was a very special time as we caught up with one another, shared communion after dinner (nestled up, just like that first time) and remembered our dear friend Miranda Harris, who we all miss so much, but are so thankful that she has been part of our lives.

It was good to have the day with Crispin and I regret not having properly said ‘Goodbye’ when he left this afternoon with Fiona, as he is heading back to Fife on the train tomorrow. Thank you, Crispin!

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