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Caithness coastline, photography by Stella Stewart

The wilds of Caithness can sometimes be difficult to imagine.  The very farthest point of mainland Britain, it is the country at its the wildest and most remote.  With the North Coast 500 now a popular driving route, the northerly county is a prominent mark on the map.  The Norse place names Papigoe, Staxigoe, Keiss, Nybster, and Skirza prove that Caithness was a place once very far from the rest of the country. 


Cyclists from Land’s End buckle down like the horizontal trees

with time and records to beat, they battle the impenetrable wind.

Sailors and surfers are blown in their pursuit of a thrill 

As the coast is thrashed by the wild sea and frothing water hits the rocks. 

Yet there is a also calm in Caithness. A still, quiet remoteness. 

Orkney looks on in the distance,

The islanders at the mercy of the weather, waiting. 

Giant turbines spin, one arm chasing the other drudging on.

Time slows in Caithness

It is the pinnacle of the country, 

Where proud castles cling onto the cliffs.

It has watched Vikings on boats, and battles with the Picts, 

whose story was carved into stone. 

Giant slabs overlap each other to close in the fields, 

The dark blue slate a signature of the north. 

Rolling sand dunes and sheer face cliffs, 

Mark the extreme edge of Scotland.

Stella Stewart 

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