The immediate stretch of coast heading down south east from Wick is not the safest area for coastal rowing with some very strong currents and tide rips and few, if any, safe beaching areas. After taking advice from members of the Wick club, who are also coastal fisherman and lifeboat crew members, it was agreed that, over the next two days, the baton is taken on foot along the John o’ Groats long distance trail which goes down the coast to Sarclet, Ulbster, crofting and fishing villages of a time gone by, towards Whaligoe with its historical fishing harbour and famous 365 steps; the trail eventually ends in Inverness.
Then onto the road by bike, walking and running, diverting off the main road when time permits back to the cliff tops to take some spectacular sights of sea stacks and natural arches, inaccessible stony beaches and ancient castles. All along this route, when looking out to the Moray Firth and the North Sea, we see the more modern man-made structures of the Beatrice oil production platforms and offshore windfarm. Continuing south we reach Lybster, yet another crofting and fishing village that has served the people of Scotland for many years and is still an active fishing and leisure port today although on a much smaller scale than in the 1850s. We head south to Dunbeath and soon will cross the border from Caithness into Sutherland. It is here at Dunbeath we would have started the rowing. It is still a wish that we will be able to start the rowing from Wick if the RowAround Scotland goes ahead next year but we will need to source a substantial offshore support boat to enable us to do this safely; we will see.