John O'Groats Activities Guide

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john o’groats ACTIVITIES GUIDE


contents 1.

C A I T H N E S S S E A C O A S T LT D

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CASTLE OF MEY

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C L AY P I G E O N S H O OT I N G

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D U N C A N S B Y S TA C K S & S E A C L I F F S

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D U N N E T B AY D I S T I L L E R Y

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DUNNET FOREST

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DUNNET HEAD - BEACH & CENTRE

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FISHING IN CAITHNESS

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G O L D PA N N I N G

1 0 . G O L F AT W I C K G O L F C L U B 11. HORSE RIDING 1 2 . O L D P U LT E N E Y D I S T I L L E R Y 1 3 . O R K N E Y D AY TO U R S 1 4 . P U F F I N C R O F T P E T T I N G FA R M 1 5 . W I C K H E R I TA G E C E N T R E 16. WICK SEA FISHING

*information correct at time of publication and may be subject to change. 01625 416430

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caithness seacoast ltd DESCRIPTION COST C O N TA C T

Exhilarating boat trips around the fascinating East Caithness coastline. £19 - £50 on tours from 30 mins to 3 hours. Office: 01955 609200 Mobile: 07747 404128 Email: enquiries@caithness-seacoast.co.uk www.caithness-seacoast.co.uk

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castle of mey DESCRIPTION

Opening season times for The Castle and Gardens of Mey are from 1st May to 30th September inclusive, but will be closed from 25th July to 7th August inclusive. Please check website for updates. The visitor centre, tearoom, shop, grounds and animal centre are open every day during the normal season from 10.00 am until 5.00 pm.

COST

Castle, Gardens & Grounds: Adult - £11.95 Senior - £9.95 Child - £6.50 Family - £33.00 Garden and Grounds Only: Adult and Senior - £6.50 Child- £3.00 Family - £18.00

C O N TA C T

DIRECTIONS

01847 851473 enquiries@castleofmey.org.uk www.castleofmey.org.uk The Castle of Mey is located on the north coast of Caithness in the very north of Scotland, on the A836 in the parish of Canisbay, about 15 miles east of Thurso and six miles west of John O’Groats. Postcode: KW14 8XH

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clay pigeon shooting DESCRIPTION

Kaithness Clays offers a great day’s shooting from novice through to experienced shooters.

COST

If you provide your own gun and cartridges, price per round is £6 for 25 clays, or £15 for three rounds. If you do not have your own gun and cartridges, price per round is £20, which includes 25 x clays, 25 x cartridges and use of gun.

C O N TA C T

Email: kaithnessclays@aol.com Mobile: 07732 786076 Range Location: Forss Skeet Range, Forss, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 7UZ Postal address: 8 Shebster Court, Thurso. Caithness, KW14 7ES

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duncansby stacks & sea cliffs WA L K O R D R I V E . . .

DESCRIPTION

The walk starts at the harbour. Follow the path along the foreshore looking out for Seals, Eider Ducks with their chicks in mid-season, or a host of other sea birds. The path rises up and continues along the top of the bank through two Kissing Gates to a burn frequented by Otters but rarely seen. Over a style, across the burn bridge and you are at Roberts Haven – a sandy beach which leads you to the Ness of Duncansby. This is open common grazing, and the best route is along the top of the beach head – but do not forget to look out for ‘Groatie Buckies’, a small cowrie shell once used as a currency. Round the Ness you come to Sannick Bay, from here there is a climb to Duncansby Head Lighthouse car park. You can now see the Stacks to your right. Follow the fenced cliff edge round to the ‘Stacks’ and marvel at the numerous seabirds that nest during the breeding season. You can return via the road from the lighthouse, or the way you came. Alternatively, you can drive to the Duncansby Lighthouse Car park and enjoy the walk along the cliff tops and to Duncansby Stacks.

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dunnet bay distillery DESCRIPTION

Join the distillery to learn a wee bit more about the spirits, the botanicals, Elizabeth and Margaret – the fabulously shiny stills! Enjoy a delicious Rock Rose gin & tonic by the fireside before walking over to see where the magic all happens. A tutored tasting of the delicious spirits around the banquet table and a wee surprise concludes your tour!

TOURS

Tours run Monday – Saturday at 11am and 2pm. Tours last around 1 hour and cost £15 per head. Children under 18 are free but will not be permitted to sit at the tasting table.

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C O N TA C T

Please call 01847 851 287 or email hello@rockrosegin.co.uk or info@dunnetbaydistillers.co.uk

ADDRESS

Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd Dunnet Bay Distillery Dunnet Thurso Caithness KW14 8XD

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dunnet forest DESCRIPTION

COST C O N TA C T

Just 8 miles west from John O’Groats go and explore the beautiful 8 miles of Dunnet Forest. It is the Highest Forest above sea level in the mainland UK. A variety of walks, suitable for all ages. They include two signpost walks - red is 1 mile, yellow is 2.2 miles. Dunnet Forest is great for family picnics and ideally located next to Dunnet beach which is well known for its brilliant surf and views. Free tel: 01847 598205 e-mail: info@dunnetforest.org www.dunnetforest.org

ADDRESS

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Adjacent to Dunnet Beach Thurso, KW14 8XD

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dunnet head V I S I T T H E M O S T N O R T H E R LY P O I N T O N T H E U K M A I N L A N D

DESCRIPTION

Dunnet Head is the most northerly point on the UK mainland. It is Caithness in miniature. Being at 58 degrees north, geographically it is the most northerly point on the UK mainland. Historically it is very important as the very pinnacle of Dunnet Head, Easter Head, was a WWII radar station and nearby Burifa Hill was a Gee station. There is an abundance of wildlife and birdlife, with some great places to walk, cycle and horse ride, and generally become one with nature. Visit the Seadrift Visitor Centre and enjoy educational and fun Guided Walks with the Caithness & Sutherland Countryside Rangers.

C O N TA C T

Tel: 01847 821531 E-mail: paul.castle@highland.gov.uk Events calendar: www.outdoorhighlands.co.uk/events Dunnet Head Webpage: www.dunnethead.co.uk Seadrift Centre: www.highland.gov.uk/info/1457/tourism_and_visitor_ attractions/53/visitor_centres/4 Caithness Rangers Guided Walks: Paul Castle, North Sutherland and North Caithness Countryside Ranger

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fishing in caithness F LY, S A L M O N A N D T R O U T

DESCRIPTION

Offering guided fly fishing for salmon and wild brown trout on numerous rivers and lochs in Ross-shire, Sutherland and the Inverness area, and guided excursions throughout the Northern Highlands and North Coast 500. They provide GAIC qualified fly fishing instruction and experiences for beginners in trout and salmon fishing, and specialise in custom ‘Learn to Fly Fish’ and ‘Learn to Salmon Fish’ short breaks. If you are visiting the area and looking for a day or two of unguided trout or salmon fishing, they can also offer salmon fishing day permits on the River Alness, and boat hire and trout permits for several local lochs.

C O N TA C T

fish@troutquest.com 01349 830606 www.troutquest.com

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gold panning DESCRIPTION

COST

Search for that big gold rock that will make you rich! The Kildonan Burn contains small fleks of gold making it an ideal spot for a family day out. Recommended for children 5 years and over with all panning equipment available to hire or buy from the Strath Ullie Crafts & Visitor Information Centre in Helmsdale. ÂŁ5 for hire of equipment (paid upon arrival at Helmsdale) Equipment includes gold panning outfit, gold pan, riddle, trowel, instruction leaflet and most importantly a canister for findings.

C O N TA C T

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01431 821327 enquiries@timespan.org.uk

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golf DESCRIPTION

COST

Take a relaxing round in at Wick Golf Club, the oldest established Golf Club in the Highlands. The course is a traditional 18 hole links layout consisting of 9 holes out and 9 back to the clubhouse. The fairways are generous and fast running, with firm and true links greens. The course is playable all year round with rarely any winter tees or greens in operation, so it’s always a fair test of your game. Green Fees: Adult - £40 per round Junior - £10 Trolley Hire - £2 Club Hire - £5

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C O N TA C T

01955 602 726 secretary@wickgolfclub.org.uk

ADDRESS

Located 2 miles outside of Wick alongside Reiss Beach. Postcode: KW1 4RW

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horse riding ACHALONE ACTIVITIES

DESCRIPTION

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Suitable for beginners and experience riders alike, explore Caithness from a different perspective and receive professional tuition.

C O N TA C T

07732 266610 Facebook: Achalone Activities

ADDRESS

Located in Halkirk on a family run farm. Postcode: KW12 6XA

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old pulteney distillery tour DESCRIPTION

OPENING TIMES

Built in 1826, the Pulteney Distillery is rich in history and atmosphere. The fascinating history is brought to life in the Pulteney visitor centre. The tour offers a behind the scenes look at how the famous malt is distilled and bottled. A must for whiskey connoisseur’s! Only suitable for persons aged 18 and above. October to April: Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm Tour Times: 11am and 2pm (or by prior arrangement) May to September: Mon – Fri: 10am – 5pm, Sat: 10am – 4pm Tour Times: 11am and 2pm (or by prior arrangement) The distillery silent season (annual maintenance period) takes place during July and August. There will be disruptions to tours during the period – please call in advance for up to date information.

COST

C O N TA C T

DIRECTIONS

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The Pulteney Tour £10 per person Approx. 1 Hour

The Pulteney Tour with Additional Expressions £25 per person Includes an additional dram of Old Pulteney 17yo and 21yo whisky at the end of the tour. Approx. 1 hour

01955 602371 onlineshop@interbevgroup.com www.oldpulteney.com Located in the town of Wick off the main street Francis Street and to the South of Wick Harbour. The distillery is accompanied by the eye catching Pulteney Visitor Centre. Postcode: KW1 5BA

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orkney day tours DESCRIPTION

COST

Just a 40 minute crossing to Orkney, take in the spectacular Pentland Firth on the crossing then enjoy the history and iconic tourist spots on the famous Isle. A coach will be waiting for you on your arrival and stop off at 8 popular spots including Skara Brae (stoneage village), Stromness, Kirkwall, and the iconic Italian Chapel. MAXI DAY TOUR 1 May to 30 Sept - Every Day from John O’Groats 8:45am Price £68, under 16 yrs half price, under 5 yrs free Ticket includes ferry crossings and coach tour Family Ticket £180 - 2 adults & 2 children Family Ticket £200 - 2 adults & 3 children Extras are your lunch and entrance fee to Skara Brae HIGHLIGHTS DAY TOUR 1 June to 31 Aug - Every Day from John O’Groats 10.30am Price £64, under 16 yrs half price, under 5 yrs free Ticket includes ferry crossings and coach tour Family Ticket £170 - 2 adults & 2 children Family Ticket £185 - 2 adults & 3 children The tour is similar to the Maxi Day Tour but does not visit Stromness, some stops are shorter and there is about 1 hour in Kirkwall. It is now possible to buy entrance tickets to Skara Brae from the Ferry Office in John O’Groats and onboard the ferry. Price approx £7.50 adults (seniors £6).

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wildlife cruises DESCRIPTION

20 June to 31 August 2018 Every Day from John O’Groats at 2.30pm No booking necessary. Just turn up by 2.15pm & pay at the Ferry Office in John O’Groats. Enjoy one of our spectacular 90 minute afternoon cruises this summer. Pass rugged cliff scenery and see arctic skuas, storm petrels, colonies of guillemots, puffins, razorbills, kittiwakes, atlantic grey seals and much more!

COST

Price £18, children under 16 yrs half price, under 5 yrs free. Family Ticket £45 - 2 adults & 2 children Family Ticket £50 - 2 adults & 3 children Suitable for groups - large or small - capacity 250 passengers. Sit on deck or in covered saloon. The particular route for the cruise will depend on the prevailing tide and weather conditions, however the two main routes are: Cruise through the Pentland Firth past Duncansby Head lighthouse passing close to sheer 200 ft high cliffs teeming with sea birds followed by a close up view of the famous Stacks of Duncansby. Cross the inner sound of the Pentland Firth for a close up view of the uninhabited Island of Stroma and colonies of Atlantic Grey Seals. View the various cliffs and birds of Stroma. Birdlife can be seen on all our cruises however some have distinct breeding cycles and after their particular nesting season will travel far out to sea. For example Puffins will be seen in large numbers in June and July but in much smaller numbers in August. You may be lucky enough to see some killer whales. Plenty of sightings last June. Check out our facebook for pictures.

C O N TA C T

Ferry Office - 01955 611353 www.jogferry.co.uk

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puffin croft farm FA R M S H O P A N D P E T T I N G Z O O

DESCRIPTION

OPENING TIMES

C O N TA C T

Located in the centre of John O’Groats village by the Post Office and Shop. At Puffin Croft Farm and Shop you can see the animals (weather permitting) and browse in the shop which sells home grown produce. You can also buy a wide variety of plants grown in Caithness and already hardened for the local climate. Opening Times: Mon – Sun 10am – 6pm 01955 611775 www.puffincroft.com/the-animals Postcode KW1 4YS

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wick sea fishing DESCRIPTION

C O N TA C T

Organising day charters to local fishing grounds. Tackle is provided. Trips range from 3 to 8 hours. Fully Insured. The boat is a Birchwood GRP performance hull, with a turbo charged Ford engine. She is a fully licensed fishing vessel and is also fully coded for 10 anglers or divers, with a side opening door and fully fitted aluminium dive ladder. She carries all the latest electronics including a Furuno Radar, Sailor and Icom vhf radios, Garmin and Simrad plotters and GPS’s, Auto helm autopilot. She is fully compliant with the MCA code of practice for angling and diving and carries all the latest safety equipment. 07917727590 Facebook: Wick Sea Fishing Pint O The Ord, Wick, Caithness, KW1 5TP

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