NC500 - Day 8
Updated: Jun 1, 2018
Dornoch to Dunrobin to John O' Groats to Castle of Mey to Durness (170 Miles)
Our first mission was to find the infamous hot chocolate cafe that claimed to be the best hot chocolate in Scotland. Mummy said this would help her pink fizz head. It wasn't easy to find but Mummy said she had to have one before we left Dornoch. We had a lovely stroll in the pouring rain and Mummy had forgot to put me in my new coat so I was happy to dry off in the cafe as Mummy got chocolate all round her mouth.
On our way back to Bertie, Mummy found the Barbour shop. I wasn't supposed to allowed in but Mummy mentioned that she was after a new coat and it was a large sale they'd miss out on if I couldn't go in with her. This seemed to change the lady's mind, and I ended up getting more tummy tickles from everyone as Mummy did a bit of retail therapy to keep her warm (her justification). I kept trying to tell her that she had chocolate on her cheek but she was too busy trying things on and although my gaze kept moving from her cheek to her eyes, she didn't pick up on it at all. I believe she has gone truly ferrel since being on the road, although she does still manage to wash her hair every day.
We said goodbye to my two handsome boys and their mummies, and drove off to find castles. Our plan is to choose one and live in it one day. This meant we had to explore as many as possible, especially those on the beaches. Every princess needs a castle. We weren't allowed in the first one, not even the gardens, and I felt sad again that Mummy misses so many things because of me. She said she was happy to miss the stuffy bits inside and took me down a little lane for a walk instead. I didn't know it, and neither did the people inside the castle visiting, but there was a secluded little beach, all to ourselves. We found evidence of giants once having lived there - and their enormous loo ... and in years gone by, there must have been pirates because we found there ruinous boats and old sea chains.
When we looked back up to the castle, I knew Poopunzel must have lived there once too. She was a beautiful Poo who was never allowed to be groomed and in order for her prince to save her, she plaited her fur and lowered it out off the tower window. I gazed up and wished I had been there to help her with the Poos of the Round Table. We would have saved her because we are the bravest merriest bunch of Poos that exist. But then I thought, her prince would have come, like my London boy, Furley, and that made me happy because I'm always happy when I think of my boy.
We were lucky to see the castle from an angle no one ever sees it from and Mummy said that was the delight in having me, that I make her see things she never used to see. That's my job, my purpose in life, to effortlessly make Mummy be more dog.
We left Dunrobin Castle and plotted our route to the end of the world, John O' Groats. I was confused because I thought I'd already been to the end of the world at Land's End, but Mummy said there are a couple of world ends in our lands and we were seeing them all. I nearly blew away up there but I had fun running around the shops and sniffing out half eaten chips that the seagulls had missed. Mummy even asked someone to take a photo of us together, which meant she must have been feeling brave as she normally hides when she sees a camera ... unlike me. We didn't stop long but it was enough time for Mummy to spend a bit more of her money, none of which was on me!
We drove off to the Castle of Mey but even they wouldn't let me in. Mummy could have paid for me to go into a small section of the gardens but we decided instead that we would take our chances and embark on the long drive to Durness. It had a beach, and some exciting caves that I was definitely allowed to see. Through mountains we weaved and turned, and saw the most incredible views down single track roads and valleys. I normally sleep as Mummy drives but even I sat up to admire the great expanse of mountain tops before us. Now I knew I had a clan, I began to dream about their history; Mummy said we were called the 'Wild MacRaes' and I liked this because they were fearless warriors who had weapons like swords and pistols. I'm not allowed a gun, even though Mummy used to use one in Australia when she was little, to get rid of snakes in the Outback, but she said I'm allowed a plastic sword because there is no need for any weapon other than plastic ones in this country. I listened intently as we drove and Mummy told me stories of how England and Scotland weren't always friends and Kings used to fight each other because they liked the look of each other's land. Sometimes they fought over a woman, and I thought about whether Furley would do this for me. I love Mummy's stories but I'm glad we don't have to fight with our neighbour to keep my garden safe; I have a hard enough time keeping the squirrels in their place on the garden fence.
Our landing at Durness didn't quite go to plan and our pitch was given away so we ended up at the edge of the cliff, with no heating and no electricity. We weren't deterred though because below us was the best view we'd had all road trip and Mummy said we must focus on the good stuff. So, we threw off the weariness of the long drive and ran down the cliff top onto the finely grained sands. Mummy chased me around the beach, laughing as I dived at her in sheer delight that we were free and I was on the beach for the first time of my entire little life.
Our gorgeous beach, with history from the Stone Age, and Viking battles, was now a calm cove. Once a haven for Norway Kings to do battle on, the majestic rocks rose from the sandy land into the sky and for a moment, Mummy and I sat on them and watched the tide bring in the crashing waves that were topped with white foam, like on Mummy's hot chocolate.
As the sun began to dip behind the evening sky, we headed back to our cold Bertie and squished our way over the soggy grass where Bertie was sinking into. Mummy knew that we would never get out of the hole that Bertie's weight was making so we climbed into him, tired and ready for bed. With no heating, we pulled the duvet around us, layered ourselves with all the blankets Mummy had brought, and wrapped ourselves together. It was so cold that I slept on Mummy's head, with two blankets on my little body. Mummy mumbled that she only had the corner but we somehow managed to drift off to sleep as arms and paws kept us both warm - us, looking after each other.