We took the train from Berwick upon Tweed to Inverness, picked up our rental car and drove about an hour north to Helmsdale where we spent our first night in Scotland. It was a fiercely windy day and our B&B was up a steep one way road (although that is understating it a little) on a hillside overlooking the North Sea and the township. We got our first taste of randomly abandoned and derelict stone cottages which seem to be a feature of the Highlands. The view of the town from the hillside was charming, the pie and chips was barely adequate but the B&B was very pleasant. We spent an hour taking photos in the town the next morning, enjoying a ‘real’ Scottish river, before heading north towards John o’ Groats.

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