Wicking around

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day! We started out in the trusty Citroen Cactus, but it had frost on the window. It took us a while to figure out how to get the fogging up to stop, but we eventually got there. We headed out to Thurso, on a different road than we’d been driving on so far. I am getting better with the left-hand side driving and shifting. I even got the car up to 60 MPH for the first time and passed a piece of farm equipment. Woo hoo!

We had a nice walk around the bay in downtown Thurso. The waves were good sized, and coming up over the barricade a bit. We had a snack at the bakery, which was apparently the place to be. It was quite crowded while we were sitting there, but I did manage to get a photo without too many people in the way. They sell out of their morning pastries well before lunch, I would guess, at the rate they were being gobbled up.   
Caithness Horizons has a number of different functions – museum, gallery, visitor information center, cafe, gift shop, and home to the Caithness Family History Society (of which I am a card-carrying member). We enjoyed the exhibits about the Picts and Vikings in Caithness and watched a short movie about the area and its history.  

We were pleasantly surprised at the exhibit in the gallery. It was local artist Debbie Lee (Debbie Lee), who has put together an exhibit of mixed media textile art about different spots around Caithness, the area that we are in at the moment. Her work is very detailed and beautiful!!

Unfortunately the Caithness Family History Society wasn’t staffed in the morning so we weren’t able to take advantage of my membership benefits. Oh well. Next trip!  

We decided to have a late breakfast at Y-Not, a bar and restaurant that Brad found when he was researching the area. It has good online reviews, and we weren’t disappointed. They cooked the eggs (both poached and scrambled) absolutely perfectly!! And Brad was able to get a souvenir t-shirt, which made his day.

Then off to the Rock Rose Distillery. It is a newer establishment, having just been open since 2014. We knew of it from having tasted their “Navy Strength” Gin when we were in Edinburgh. They flavor their gin and vodka from plants that they grow on site either in their rock garden or their geodesic dome greenhouse. I loved their full-sized bottles, which are beautiful, and I don’t really care about the contents. But they are big and heavy and we decided to forego bringing one home. They expect to be able to export to the US next year, so hopefully we will be able to purchase in Eugene someday.

We then headed back to Skirza to visit with distant relatives Robin and Gail. Their vehicle is a 1957 Morris Minor, which is in lovely shape. We all squeezed in for a tour around Mowat and Kennedy lands. We learned a lot from them about the history of the family and the family lands, and were able to go inside what used to be the Mowat house (named Backlass), which is now in ruins. 

And we went over towards the ruined Bucholie Castle, which used to be held by the Mowats, but they lost it due to fiscal mismanagement. We didn’t dare go too close. The final stop was a brief look from afar of the old Kennedy croft, where my great grandfather was likely born.  Afterwards, there was a lot of ham radio talk, as they are both enthusiastic operators!

We will go back tomorrow with Robin and Gail to meet the dead relatives where they live … In the Kirk (church) graveyard.  

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