Compo

Out and about with Compo

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Thanks Paul.

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Last Thursday saw us off on yet another coastal section of the John O'Groats trail. At the end of our walk we went to the little café in Berriedale, where we met a young girl from New Zealand who was walking from Land's End to John O'Groats using the road as little as possible. It turned out that she had been about half an hour in front of us on our walk and she was having a wash and brush-up in the café as we arrived. She was wild-camping and we were able to give her some tips on the best places to pitch the tent between Berriedale and John O'Groats.  She will be on her way home by now I should think. Anyrode up, I will post some pictures a couple at a time in order to try and fool whatever is deleting my photos soon after posting :)

 

The first thing we came to was Ousdale Broch. An Iron Age fortified roundhouse with walls three feet thick and chambers within the walls. Originally standing up to about 25ft high these brochs appear to have been a symbol of power. They are confined to the north of Scotland and are not found elsewhere.

 

Ousdale broch:

 

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Ousdale gorge - the first obstacle to be negotiated:

 

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Ousdale burn at the bottom of the gorge:

 

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Were you standing on stones in the brook when you took the picture ?

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A little further along the coast is the abandoned village of Badbea. People were removed from their homes in the straths by landlords and forcibly resettled in places like this in order to make way for sheep in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The period is known in Scotland as "The Highland Clearances". People at Badbea were forced to build a stone wall near the cliffs and live on the seaward side of the wall. It is said that they had to tether their children to prevent them from falling over the cliffs in winter. In 1851 there were still 60 peoplel living here but by 1903 the village had been completely abandoned and many had fled to the New World to make a better life for themselves. One family member returned at a later date and built the monument (seen in these photos) to the sufferring of the families.  

 

Approaching Badbea - the most southerly of the houses in the village:

 

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How about this for a lonely house? You can't see the remainder of the village from here but you can get the idea of what it must have been like to live here:

 

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Badbea village ruins:

 

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Inside the same house:

 

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The monument to the families:

 

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These photos show the area around Badbea village and the conditions in which the families lived. Bear in mind that this is high summer and winter is a little bleaker!

 

Cliffs at Badbea:

 

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The wall built by the families. They lived on the seaward side to the left of the picture:

 

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The next item of interest on the walk is Berriedale. Berriedale Braes are a pair of notorious hills either side of the village of Berriedale. At the bottom is a tiny harbour and to the north is a hairpin bend that frequently closes the road as articulated lorries get stuck on it. It is the only non-single track road into and out of Caithness so everything goes up it. Closure usually lasts for a couple of hours whilst the recovery vehicles remove the lorries. Work has begun on taking the road around the cemetery in order to remove the hairpin bend. 

 

The Berriedale roadworks:

 

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Langwell house - the estate hub:

 

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The two harbour navigation towers. Formerly used to guide boats into the narrow harbour:

 

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Beekay: The John O'groats trail volunteers have built a small footbridge over the burn, which is where I stood to take the picture. If I can persuade SWMBO to part with one of her photos I will post a picture of the footbridge alater.

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Interesting stuff. Thanks!

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Travelling   with Compo without moving from your own home. They are really fantastic views and nice to see a bit of history too. There must be loads of undiscovered places up there in the north of Scotland. Keep them coming they're the type of photos we love to see.

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Paul, if you read this then I have some test greetings cards for you, ready to post, but alas I've inadvertently deleted your address so can't send em yet. If you can email your gaff then I'll shoot round to the post office. Barrie.

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Brilliant Compo. I must plan another tour of Scotland.  

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12 hours ago, Compo said:

Ousdale burn at the bottom of the gorge:

Great photos Compo, I look at the one of the burn it and can hear the water babbling along.

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22 hours ago, Compo said:

 Anyrode up, I will post some pictures a couple at a time in order to try and fool whatever is deleting my photos soon after posting :)

 

And after 24 hours, they're still visible and haven't disappeared. Whatever you're now doing, keep doing it.

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This one's for Beekay. The newly constructed footbridge over Ousdale Burn at the bottom of the gorge. Note "1 person at a time, please". It's quite flimsy but does the job.  I crouched on this bridge when taking the photo of the burn.

 

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Thank you for all the nice things you have said about my snapshots, gang. Much appreciated.

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Ya Shoulda sat on the edge and dangled your toes in the water. Tek yer shoes off first o'course

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Loch Gaineimh (Ganiv), central Caithness, November 2005:

 

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6 minutes ago, Beekay said:

\snip\Tek yer shoes off first o'course

 

 

Hiking boots, Beekay. Too muddy for shoes in this part of the world :biggrin:

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Autumn on Loch Eil, west of Fort William:

 

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On Ben unpronounceable in the north west of Scotland we met an odd tribe of hairy men. They approached us and said "We're the fuckarwe" :)

 

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Hillwalking in Scotland always carries teh risk of hill fog. It is essential that walkers learn compass reading skills before cventuring out alone. Here's a photo of a typical summer day in the mountains:

 

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