John O Groats Dunnet Head Kyle of Tongue and Durness
Dunnet Head RP 4
Across the top of Scotland.
This route starts from John O' Groats and we rode it in May 2016 as the start of our return leg of our Lands End to John O' Groats trip. The land and seascapes across the top of Scotland are breathtaking, some of the best that the Highlands of Scotland has to offer.
Just along the coast from John O'Groats is Dunnets Head (RP) 4, this is the most northerly point on mainland GB so we had to 'bag it' and this route does too!
Fuel and shops are thin on the ground in this part of Scotland so it is advisable to fill up at Thurso, we also bought some provisions for a picnic and our supper in the Lidl supermarket at Thurso RP 6. We had booked to stay the night at a bunkhouse in Durness and although there is a shop and a 24hr fuel station there, we wanted to make sure we had enough supplies (wine and beer) as Durness is quite remote, I would advise you to do the same.

This route is all about the scenery and the further west you travel the more remote and beautiful the scenery becomes. We went in May and the roadsides were awash with bright yellow Gorse filling the air with the smell of coconut, that coupled with the bright blue sky, white sandy beaches and turquoise sea, we could have been in the Caribbean.
It's a joy to use the ancient cast iron bridge to cross over the River Naver on the way to a picnic stop at RP 15, Coldbackie Beach. The beach and coastline are beautiful making this an ideal place for a break.
Next is a spectacular crossing of the Kyle of Tongue by causeway and bridge, then onto Loch Eriboll. It was here at the end of WW2 that 33 U-boat commanders surrendered. In the space of just 15 days from May 10 to May 25 1945, the 10-mile long loch turned into the biggest single gathering of the German submarine fleet anywhere in the world.
Durness and the Lazy Crofter Bunkhouse are just a short ride from the mouth of Loch Eriboll.
It was our first experience of a hostel style evening and I must say, it was very pleasant, we sat out on the veranda swapping tales with other travelers until it got dark, it was almost midnight as the sun sinks very slowly this far north.
Links for the hotel and bunkhouse are below as well as a link to a video I shot during our 2016 visit.

With roads and scenery this good the route has earned 5*****

Naver Bridge RP 12
Ard Neakie at Loch Eriboll RP 19
Useful links:
The Seaview Hotel, John O'Groats
The Lazy Crofter Bunkhouse, Durness
YouTube video of our 2016 ride across the top.

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Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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Nick Carthew - RouteXpert
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Schotland", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
Ada of Scotland (died after 1206), also known as Ada of Huntingdon, was a member of the Scottish royal house who became Countess of Holland by marriage to Floris III, Count of Holland.
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Route collections
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View route collection 6 Must do routes in The Highlands of Scotland
About this route collection
This collection of routes in the spectacular Scottish Highland's offers a great way to experience the full spectrum of what this region has to offer - snowcapped mountains, loch after loch, areas of solitary wilderness, white sandy beaches and a multitude of historic castles and buildings that reflect the past, the Highland's have everything. The weather however, cannot be guaranteed and somebody once said " Nobody visits Scotland for the weather"!
May can be a very good time of year to visit - temperatures can be pleasant and it's often a dry month with the added bonus that it's too early for the midgies. Many of the roads are single lane but largely empty and well maintained so the riding is comfortable and stress free allowing you to take in the views and there really is a wow around every corner. The pass at Glencoe for example is staggeringly impressive - you can actually see the geology and appreciate how it was scooped out by glaciers.
The people you encounter are warm and engaging and the food is good.
The very popular North Coast 500 route is included for those of you with Iron Butts that like a 1 day challenge. For me, the best way of enjoying the NC 500 is with two overnight stops, so the route includes these if required.