So I am here.. and want to stay here.
There’s no one around, except a small Czech family I met at the lighthouse and a couple of birdwatching experts (or so they claimed) that I met on the way up. Pretty sure that the Czech family have moved on, and the other two gentlemen have headed off to a different (more sheltered – they said) part of Dunnet.
I wander away from the lighthouse along the cliffs to find my camping spot.
The place is so idyllic, I wander if camping is allowed. But at the same time I feel that I have earned my right to stay here, since I have pedalled to this place from the opposite end of the country. Under my feet is a carpet of super soft heather and moss. The bottom edges of the bike’s wheels disappear in the spongy matter. It’s not boggy either, just a fist class luxury surface.
I look back the lighthouse, peering over the cliffs. I’m so glad that I did not finish at John O’ Groats.
This, by far, is a much more beautiful and rewarding place to end up.
Theres a dip in the ground which looks perfect spot for my pitch as it will protect the tent from some of the wind.
I set up, take all the bags off my two wheeled stallion and cook up a storm of noodles with chicken, eggs and spring onion. Might not sound much but did I mention that a six pack of Tunnocks Tea Cakes is the main course?
Couldn’t have asked for a better ending, though would have been great to see a sunset and maybe some wildlife.. Oh well, there’s plenty here to make any bear pretty happy.
I go all drowsy, and the sound of the sea sends me off to sleep..
No idea how much time has passed, but I woke up to a very well lit tent, and sunshine bursting through the tent entrance..
I get out of my nylon castle where I’m met by the brightest, warmest sun heading down towards the sea.
I cannot believe the setting. This cinematic transformation feels surreal, but I know that it has been arranged just for me. Being a sentimental muppet at times , the only thing that is missing is a wee bit of music. And the only thing on my playlist that would do this landscape real justice is more of The Shee’s tunes: (animation based on the artwork by Lillias Kinsman-Blake)
Now, I have explored Scotland a fair bit in my time here so far. I’ve seen a lot of amazing places, walked a fair few hills, stayed on a number of islands and seen a lot of wildlife. But one wish has not come true yet, and that is to see Puffins. Yes Puffins (with a capital P). I have been looking out for those fascinating, gorgeous, intelligent wee creatures for a long time now. I have visited the Staffa Island (off Isle of Mull) three times now. It’s meant to be one of the Puffin capitals in Scotland, and as some of you may know is not that easy place to get to. None of those visits to Staffa brought me much luck in seeing Puffins, though there’s plenty to look at anyhow, – highly recommend it!
So you may imagine how I felt when, suddenly, I noticed two puffins sitting a few meters away from me..
I froze for a while, as I was certain that the smallest of my movement would scare them away. However decided to take a risk and have a closer look. I got down on my knees and started slowly shuffling towards the two creatures. Never mind being scared of me, the puffins made it absolutely clear that they were aware of me and did not care at all. The one nearest to me just gave me a look as if to say “Are you ok there? Can I help you? Why are you on your knees?”
The second puffin flew off, but I’m pretty sure because of my crap chat..
This has been the greatest reward I could have asked for, really doesn’t get much better than this.
Wrong again. It does. Having enjoyed my new friend’s silent company for a while I looked down at the crashing waves below us, only to see even more puffins!!
They were most fascinating creatures to observe. I’m sure they were enjoying the sun just as much as me. Every now and then one of them would take off, flapping their little wings at a tremendous speed and dangling their red feet, whilst flying and diving down into the sea, disappearing into the waves for an absolute ages and reappearing again with fish in their beaks, which would then often be shared with others..
I was happy cycling solo and taking everything in until this point, but it was great to have a company to share the sunset with in the end. None of this felt like coincidence, which made me smile, a lot.
Theres no currency that can ever match time like this.
Now it felt like the journey was truly complete.