West of Tongue
Durness is the most north-westerly village on the British mainland. It’s not far from Tongue as the crow flies – much further for humans who have to follow the coastal road. But who can complain when driving round the beautiful sea loch above? Further along Loch Eriboll, we stopped at the gates of ceramicist Lotte Glob’s studio – though we didn’t have time to go in, it looked intriguing.
At the time, I had no idea I had seen Lotte’s work before until, a couple of weeks ago, I was strolling round Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens and spotted this in the Kibble Palace:
Just outside Durness is the Ceannabeinne Township Trail. After being disappointed to find the Highland Clearance villages east of Tongue in a sorry state of neglect, it was good to find this one well-maintained with comprehensive information boards – and a jaw dropping setting. The villagers here resisted their removal by rioting, but that didn’t change the end result and the land was given over to sheep.
Durness is also home to Smoo Cave, formed by a combination of the sea and a small burn. After visiting the waterfall inside the cave, you can walk up to the point where you can see the hole in the ground through which it enters.
The Village Hall has an interesting garden – though it has seen better days. It was constructed in 2002 in conjunction with the television programme Beechgrove Garden and includes the only permanent memorial to John Lennon in Scotland, which is why we stopped to look. Durness was apparently an area that greatly inspired Lennon – one of his aunts lived there and he spent his childhood holidays between the ages of 9 and 13 in the village. The memorial is the first picture in the gallery below – three standing stones inscribed with lyrics from the song In My Life (There are places I remember) which is said to be about Durness.
As you can see from the skies in some of the pictures, the day was quite overcast. However, there was a spell of sunshine in the afternoon when we walked out to Faraid Head – that deserves a post to itself. Coming soon!