Saturday, December 6, 2008

John o' Groats

Photo from Wikipedia/Asterion

John o' Groats is regarded the most northerly community of mainland Great Britain although it isn't quite. What do I know about John o' Groats? Even less than I know about Cornwall.

The name is used in the phrase "Land's End to John o' Groats" to indicate a long journey and it is very often the start or end of charitable walks which do cover the whole distance to or from Land's End. It's also a popular tourist destination in spite of being, according to the Lonely Planet, a seedy tourist trap.

I really wanted to tell you about Stirling and its Castle. I wasn't allowed.

Photo from Wikipedia/Finlay McWalter

But the thing is, I know a great deal more about Stirling. I lived nearby for four years, so the castle, the Wallace Monument, Bannockburn were all familiar haunts.

The castle is in the most magnificent position, high up on the rocks, and visible for miles in any direction. And of course this means the view from there is equally magnificent.

The Wallace Monument has a similarly great position, on Abbey Craig, the place where William Wallace watched the English army approaching Stirling Bridge in 1297. The monument was built in 1869 and you can climb to the top to see some stunning views.

The site of the Battle of Bannockburn is nearby, and also Sheriffmuir. I nearly forgot Sheriffmuir, a favourite place for picnics.

I could have told you all sorts, instead of a few measly sentences but it was not to be.

I'm expecting to be excommunicated soon. Very soon.


  1. I have been to John O Groats lots of times. Also been to Land's End quite a few times too.
    It has to be one of the most boring places to visit ever.

  2. Yes, I think I improved on it, don't you? The most interesting thing I could find was that out of a population of something like 300, it fields 2 football teams. and I daren't mention football in a post here.

  3. I went to John O'Groats a few years ago on my way to the Orkney Isles, one of the ferries operates from Gill's bay, nearby. I can confirm John O'Groats to be a place well worth missing if you ever travel to Scotland.

  4. See, Mr. R. Max?

    I admit, though, I missed one interesting fact about the place. It got its name from Jan de Groot, a Dutchman who ran the ferry to Orkney which had been bought from Norway in 1496. Fascinating, isn't it?

  5. Pictures of Englishmen's heads rolling down the hill after Wallace and Bruce had dealt with these intruders, would have been nice. :)

  6. Adullamite, I hear that Stirling's attraction as a tourist centre rose dramatically after the film Braveheart was made.

  7. @Claire - Then why do you keep going back? heh.

  8. @A. - I don't think they even had a Norway in 1496. You are making that up. Stine said Norway used to be a part of Sweden. So, I'm assuming. Of course, she didn't exactly specify when "used to be" was. But I'm thinking since 1496.

  9. Just like Scotland is a part of England you mean? Oooh, dangerous ground.

    But Norway has always been a country, though it was in a union with Sweden for perhaps 100 years.



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