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.…

Read More

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…

Read More

The North Coast 500 and the Summer of Discontent

Since its inception in 2015, The North Coast 500 – the re-branding of an existing 516-mile loop around the North Highlands – has attracted visitors from all over the world, keen to experience the untamed beauty of this area of Scotland. Originally the brainchild of North Highland Initiative – a non-profit organisation set up by…

Read More

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…

Read More

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…

Read More

2020 – The Stories Hearts Tell

Hello, and happy 2020……! The sun has risen on a new decade, and as usual January brings with it a sense of expectation. Resolutions, plans for diet and lifestyle, pressure to overhaul just about everything in our lives. I don’t really go in for New Year resolutions, preferring instead to set goals throughout the year…

Read More

Green Book, Sea Swimming, A Weekend Away and A Leavers Assembly – Little Loves

If I could describe June in one word it would be this one: whirlwind. The last month of the academic year here literally flew by, with all sorts of end-of-term activities, and transition arrangements for my eldest moving up to High School after the summer break. It’s also been an emotional time, with a series of…

Read More

Dog Friendly Places to Eat and Drink in Caithness

* COVID-19 UPDATE – PLEASE CHECK WITH INDIVIDUAL ESTABLISHMENTS BEFORE VISITING AS POLICIES MAY HAVE CHANGED SINCE TIME OF WRITING. * Among my many passions in life, the love of dogs, family and a good cup of coffee rank highly. And as any dog owner knows of course, the first two of these are exactly…

Read More

The North Coast 500, Also Known As Home

There is a road I see from the front door of my home in Caithness that forms part of the North Coast 500. As kids, we knew it better as the road ‘up west’, a passage imbued with the promise of beaches, picnics and sand between our toes. These days, the route has a new title…

Read More