Monday, 22 July 2013

John O' Groats Update

The Natural Retreats development of chalets and self catering appartments at John O' Groats is almost complete. The effect on the overall ambience of the northern outpost is very positive both visually and in the Tripadvisor reviews of guests who have already stayed there. I really like the brightly painted wood and serrated roofs of the old hotel extension, contrasting with the stark white outline of the nineteenth century building with it's eight sided tower, copied from the original built by Jan De Groot to make his many sons feel equal. I'm sure that Jan, the Dutchman after whom the village is named will be smiling in his grave. Seafarer Jan was given the franchise to run a ferry to Orkney by James IV in 1496. His descendants carry the name Groat. I was pleased to discover recently that an Isabella Groat is my GGGrandmother.

 The chalet and apartments are now complemented by a new upgraded cafe/restaurant, The Storehouse and Natural Retreats have provided a new high speed launch for wildlife cruising, especially round the island of Stroma to the north. The harbour remains the base for the Orkney foot ferry seen here overtaking the Gills car ferry against the background of the south end of Stroma. John O' Groats remains a Mecca for the walkers and cyclists who want to cover the length of the British Isles.
The moors around the north have an exceptional crop of bog cotton this year to the point where it looks as though it could be harvested. This shot comes from the road between Freswick and John O' Groats.
Needless to say given the long hot dry spell, the salmon fishing is a disaster- more later.

 Novels by Alan Calder
The Glorious Twelfth


The Stuart Agenda published by Willowmoon 



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