Subject: Re: Northern Scotland
Tom:

How long will your giro be? Will you have a car? (Looks like, yes, from your route). Is Iona of any interest to you? It's a pretty easy walk-on ferry at Fionnphort, southwestern tip of Mull. Some folks find it too busy, but by later Sept it might be ok. No tourist cars out there. I'm keen on St Columba, so Iona held more appeal perhaps than for those wanting a new age experience. The car park at the walk-on ferry is ok for a day, & we've left a car there overnight without qualm. The ferries from Oban go to Craignure, convenient if you're going down to Iona. Tobermory is a fine little village on the northwestern side of Mull. There's supposed to be a sunken Spanish galleon in the bay there & the water is clear enough you think you could see it, but I never did. www.calmac.co.uk

Is your purpose at John O'Groats to be at the top end of Scotland, or to hop on a day trip over to Orkney? The Pentland ferries run till the end of Sept, from Gills Bay to St Margarets Hope Bay on Ronaldsay, or you can go out to Dunnet Head, which is really the top end, just to the west of JOG. You can also see, if the weather isn't too foul, Stroma Island from JOG or Dunnet Head.

http://www.orkneyferries.com/ for the Pentland ferries.

There are some nice walks out of Aviemore, but it is a fairly modern holiday center, catering to conference groups as well as hillwalkers. I much prefer the Black Isle, even tho the views of the oil platforms are a bit disconcerting after you've chased around all day looking for ancient holy springs. A nice museum in Cromarty, I thought.

Dornach Cathedral, north across the firth from Tain, is worth a look. The last woman executed for witchcraft in Scotland was burned here around 1760. Haunty, I thot it was. I think there's bigtime golf here but I'm ignorant on that score.

Sigh. I've been home a little more than a week & I'm lusting after the joy of planning another trip & soon!!

Gail In Eugene