Stories and Solastalgia – The Aftermath of Writing About The North Coast 500, Park-Ups, Potholes and Poo

This summer, I wrote a piece about living on the popular ‘North Coast 500’ route through the lens of my own experience as a resident of Caithness. Entitled ‘Poo, Potholes and Park-Ups – Why Highlanders are Tired of Scotland’s North Coast 500 Route,’ the article was probably more even-handed than the alliterated headline might suggest.…

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Poo, Potholes and Park-Ups – Why Highlanders Are Tired of Scotland’s North Coast 500 Route

Last year, I wrote an article on the ‘summer of discontent’ on Scotland’s ‘North Coast 500’ road trip. As a resident on the route here in Caithness, I spent a lot of time writing about responsible travel and repeating the phrase ‘let’s hope things improve.’ A summer of littering, outdoor toileting and inconsiderate ‘wild camping’…

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On Mental Health Awareness Week, Caithness and Caring

Here in the UK, it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, an initiative hosted by the Mental Health Foundation to focus attention on mental health issues across the nation. This year the theme for the event is nature, with a focus on the supportive role the natural world can play in boosting mental health. The theme appears…

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Tread Lightly, Travel Politely

As travel restrictions ease across Scotland, many people in the North Highlands are feeling nervous about the resumption of tourism. 2020 was a challenging year here in the far north, and memories of irresponsible camping, inconsiderate motorhome parking, and the litter and human waste left by a minority of visitors will be difficult to erase.…

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No Wilderness: Reshaping The Way We Talk About Far North Places

Exactly a year ago, on the Sunday before the UK entered lockdown, I was out walking with my son here in Caithness when a man pulled over in his car and rolled down the driver’s side window. He asked us where he could find a place to eat and have a cup of coffee. The…

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Life Lessons in Lockdown, Introversion and Dreams of Springtime

In the week or so since I last wrote the world has shifted once more, with another layer of the UK’s Covid-19 response unfurling towards ‘lockdown.’ Citizens are restricted to a narrow range of activities, with outings from the home permissible only for work, obtaining food or medicines, helping the vulnerable or partaking in one…

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The March Moon, Cold Comfort and Being Astonished by the World

This week, I have found myself reflecting on the changing seasons as winter slowly turns to spring, and then back again, in the game of back and forth that so often characterises March in Caithness. Here and there, primroses peek out in cheerful colours, while on verges, daffodils open up like yellow, honeyed eyes. In…

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Caithness and Coorie – Embracing the Seasons in The UK’s Most Northerly Mainland County

Over the years, I’ve embraced just about every geographical lifestyle trend imaginable. Hygge – the Danish art of cosiness and contentment: on it. Lagom – the Swedish philosophy of ‘not too little, not too much, just right’: yep, count me in. Ikigai – the Japanese secret to a long and happy life: been there, done…

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Les Miserables, World Book Day Preparations and Weekend Plans for Spring – Little Loves

February was a busy month for everyone in the wellies household and a spate of good weather saw us out and about, enjoying the first glimpses of Spring, and a few day trips around the county. We’ve enjoyed several trips to John O’ Groats lately (which isn’t far from us) and a few lovely coffee dates at Stacks…

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Islander, A Shopping Trip, Parkrun and Autumn Everything – September’s Little Loves

It seems like forever since I shared my last little loves update on here. September was such a busy month, with lots of Autumnal adventure, and also plenty going on at home. I’ve been beavering away on the second draft of my novel and trying to stick to my weekday target of 500 words daily. Over…

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