Day 36, Ferry from Orkney and the NC500 to Ullapool

Today was a big travel day. First a drive from Kirkwall to Stromness; then a the ferry over to Thurso, and then the A836 (Northern Coastal 500) to Ullapool. It was a stunningly beautiful day even thought the weather was overcast. The scenery certainly took our breath away!

I decided to take a walk through Stromness before the ferry boarded. We had arrived about 1.5 hours early, so I had lots of time for a last farewell to this quiet little town.

A colourful space saving garden adornment positioned against the drab grey of the stucco.
The main drag in Stromness at 10 am!
The town is certainly a challenge for drivers!
At the end of the quay, I spotted three women having a swim in the ocean while a fishing boat slipped by on the far side of shore. Can you spot their heads as they get out of the water?
I returned back to the car in lots of time to see the ferry dock and maneuver for its disembarking passengers.
A final view of Scapa flow before we sailed through this harbour on our way to Thurso.
One last look at the incredible cliffs of Hoy…you can see the “Old Man of Hoy” off to the right of the shot.
Once again we pass by the “Old Man of Hoy”, a 449 foot tall stack (yes about 45 stories). This is the tallest freestanding sea stack in the world.
Back on the mainland of Scotland, we began our continuation of our NC 500 drive. You can just see Hoy Island from here, sitting about 8 miles offshore. we stopped here at Strathy Bay for our lunch!
At this point, the road became basically a single track for the next 60 miles or so with frequent “passing shoulders”. It meant for alot of stop-starting as we wound our way around the highlands.
Another beautiful northern bay at low tide
We knew the sun was out somewhere when we saw the brilliant patch of blue water on the far side of the inlet.
Rocky Mountains, icy lochs and the ocean beyond.
Incredible vistas as we near the Kylesku Bridge. The gorse again was playing the role of sunshine for most of the day!
The Kylesku Bridge is a curved structure flowing over the inlet from Eddrachillis Bay off the Atlantic Ocean on the northwest coast of Scotland.
As we approached Ullapool, we saw the remains of Ardvreck Castle near Elphin. the skies provided the perfect backdrop for this ruin.
The dramatic skies as we rounded the corner towards Ullapool.
As we came down into the town, we spotted the ferry that we’ll be taking to Stornaway tomorrow

It’s been a busy day of travel, so once we got to our B and B for the night we immediately headed out for some supper and then back for a wee dram before bed! Tomorrow is another exciting day as we cross over to Lewis and Harris and begin exploring the Outer Hebrides. Hope you’ll join us. Until then!

Categories: Hiking in Iceland and the UK

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