Day 93 Bus trips to Tain and Dornoch

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Portmahomack to Dornoch

2 miles

Woodlands B&B

The Oystercatcher’s breakfast menu is overwhelming, and plenty of the dishes come with alcohol! I stuck to kippers and eggs, which were beautifully served.  

A beautifully served (and partially eaten) breakfast
 The weather forecast was for a rainy day and there was another A9 bridge to cross in order to head across the Dornoch Firth and into Sutherland. It would not be possible to walk the coast all the way to the bridge because the RAF have a bombing range on the coast. A good day to get the bus and explore a couple of the towns instead of walking. As usual around here there was one bus to Tain at 9 am and, if I missed that, there would be about 4 hours to wait for the next one. The bus passed through Inver, a small town near the bombing range that had been evacuated during WW2 as the beach here was one of those selected as a possible practice area for the D-Day landings. In the end it wasn’t used.  

It’s raining again! Looking out of the bus window at Inver
 Tain claims to be the oldest Royal Burgh in Scotland, it’s Tollbooth dates from 1630, and it was the birthplace of St Duthac in about 1000AD.  

The Tain Tollbooth
 St Duthac’s shrine used to be in the old church and was a pilgrimage destination before it was destroyed during the Reformation. King James IV visited the St Duthac shrine many times and so the pilgrimage became known as the King’s Route. I visited the Tain museum and walked around the church and the graveyard, which contains the remains of the Ardjachie Pictish stone. (I was enjoying following a bit of the Highland Pictish Trail.)  

The Ardjachie Stone
 The museum also has a good collection of silver items made in Tain and enthusiastic volunteers who gave me a guided tour.  

The destination for a pilgrimage to St Duthac’s shrine
 I left the Royal Burgh of Tain and got the bus across the A9 bridge and into Sutherland. My destination was Dornoch, another pretty town and one that gave the impression of being a tourist destination. Naturally it has an impressive golf course as well as a beautiful, long sandy beach (although it was raining). 

Dornoch Beach under a rainy sky
  The cathedral is the main draw and I was told it was where Madonna got married. Part of the town’s market square was in the graveyard and so, amongst the gravestones, is the Plaiden Ell, a flat stone fixed measurement for merchants selling tartan cloth. 

Dornoch Cathedral
 After 5 weeks of waiting, my new, and much lighter, tent and rucksack arrived. Yippee. They had been delivered to Ali in Edinburgh and she drove up in her campervan to bring them to me. This was a last minute decision so I was already booked in to a B&B for tonight, escaping the rain. It was great to see Ali and Morna, and it meant I had company for dinner in the Dornoch Arms (no table for one tonight!). I spent some time unpacking my new kit, transferring everything into my new rucksack, and cutting and attaching guy ropes to my new tent. Exciting stuff. We planned a couple of short walks tomorrow, interspersed with drives, and then a night camping. This sounds like an easier way to do this trip! 

My new tent – it’s so light it’s almost seethrough!

5 thoughts on “Day 93 Bus trips to Tain and Dornoch

  1. jomunday99 July 9, 2015 / 8:39 pm

    Wow wow wow Lucy. That tent is so awesome. Hope it makes your camping in Scotland more fun. Although personally I would be a bit nervous of what might crawl into the tent in the night! I guess you have bigger things to be concerned with on this trip!! Think we might have stayed in Dornoch on the first night of our lejog trip.


    • Lucy July 10, 2015 / 6:25 pm

      The tent is completely enclosed with a mosquito net so nothing can crawl in. It is a lot more roomy than old tent


  2. Val K July 9, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    Wow your new tent looks very impressive, I hope it’s as good as it looks. I really am enjoying
    all the historical information, Tom would have been very impressed! Val x


    • Lucy July 10, 2015 / 6:26 pm

      Thanks. I’m really enjoying learning about all this history. NE Scotland has plenty of it


  3. Chris Frazer July 10, 2015 / 6:59 am

    Juice…you have to go to the distilleries……Glenmorangie is near. Lovely pics as always and a very smart tent……


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