We fly into Heathrow down London-way, grab a rental car, and drive about seven hundred miles north until the road ends, and here we are at the end or the beginning of Britain–you decide. There ain’t much goin’ on up here. . .though there is a lovely place to stay called The Seaview Hotel–it is owned and run by a local family, very sweet, and we get a good taste of the local flavor by staying here, if you know what I mean: a few workin’ dudes who drink lots of lager and whisky and have no problem blurting out whatever is on their minds–fascinating. In fact, my favorite moment with a local occurred just after we arrived. . .we walk into the bar, I state how happy we are to be in John o’Groats, and I make a point of saying how beautiful the drive is on the way up along the coastline of northeastern Scotland. An old guy downs a big glass of whisky and water, looks at me and says the following, “Aye, ’tis beautiful the FIRST time you drive it.” We grab our menus, find a table, and never again trouble this fine gentleman with our thoughts on the scenery. Aye!
By the way, the name is derived from a Dutch guy called Jan de Groots who was given a ferry license by King James IV back in the late fifteenth century. He charged “one groot” for a ferry ride–one unit of some sort of money used here at the time. . .but also possibly a tiny little shell that can be found on the beach up here called a ‘groot’ or ‘groat’ or ‘groatie.’ They are rare and hard to find. . .if you find one and keep it in your pocket, then you will always have money, so the legend goes. We bought one at a local shop. . .does that count? Hmmm.
Anyway, lots to talk about regarding this place. . .the windy walk to Dunnet Head–the actual northernmost point of Britain for you sticklers out there. . .the Duncansby Stacks. . .the wild coastline. . .the sheep. . .and the people, did I mention the people? Aye, of course I did.
I send you rustic and earthy vibes from John o’Groats, Scotland. . .feel them. . .they are here, and you don’t even know it most of the time. I hope you get to visit this place before you pass back to stardust. . .mmm, aaaah.
It’s lovely out there.