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John O Groats

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John O Groats is a small Village 120 miles north of Inverness, on the north coast, furthest north Settlement in the UK. Dunnet Head with a Nature Reserve, 14 miles west of John O Groats, is the most northerly point in the UK.

John O Groats is popular for its Sign giving information on how far it is to other areas in the UK, 8 Doors Distillery, Ferry / Bus Trips around the Orkney Isles, Fast Boat Trips along this Rugged Coast, Touring & Camping Park, Duncansby Head with a Lighthouse and Sea Stacks 2 miles east, Coastal Walk, Canisbay Kirk with the Grave of John O Groat 3 miles west, and Castle of Mey 6 miles west.

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The top image is of the Sign stating it is 8 miles to Orkney, Shetland 152, Lands End 874, and New York 3,230 miles. The furthest south point in Scotland is the Mull of Galloway, 393 miles southwest of John O Groats.

The Inn at John O Groats is by the small Harbour with views over the Pentland Firth to the Orkney Isles. The Inn was built in 1887 as the John O Groats Hotel. The Building was restored with colourful extensions added in 2013.

2015 - a large Art Work with Boulders and curved Steel Planks was erected by the Visitor Centre.

Ferry Trips leave from John O Groats to the Orkney Islands every day from 1 May to 30 Sept. This Passenger Only Ferry takes 40 minutes to cross to Orkney with a Tour Bus waiting on the Island to take you around the top attractions such as Skara Brae (Stoneage Village), Scapa Flow (World War I Battleships), Kirkwall (Cathedral), Churchill Barriers, Ring of Brodgar (Stone Circle), Standing Stones of Stenness, and the Italian Chapel.

Fast Boat Tours from John O Groats are along the rugged coast.

Car Ferries to Orkney depart from Gills Bay 4 miles west of John O Groats, and Scrabster 21 miles west.

The Touring and Camping Park is close to the Harbour with views across to Orkney.

The Holiday Lodges are by the Inn with great sea views.

The Seaview Hotel is half of a mile south of John O Groats Harbour also with bunk rooms and pods.

Duncansby Head with a Lighthouse and Sea Stacks is 2 miles east via a single lane road to one of Scotland's remotest areas. There is also a Walking Route from John O Groats, about 5 miles out and back.

Canisbay Kirk with the Grave of John O Groat is 3 miles west.

Castle of Mey is 6 miles west of John O Groats, former holiday home of the Queen Mother. The Castle is normally open from 1st May to 30th September. Best check the Website before visiting. HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, bought the Castle in 1952.

The Queen Mother died in 2002, leading to the Castle and Gardens being opened to the public.

Dunnet Head is 14 miles west of John O Groats with a Lighthouse and Wildlife Reserve. This is the most northerly point in Scotland with great views along the Cliffs.

John O Groats History

500s - a Chapel of St Drostan is said to have been built at Gills Bay, 4 miles west of John O Groats.

1496 - King James IV gave permission for a Dutchman named Jan de Groot to run a Ferry between the Harbour here and the Orkney Islands.

The Village would no doubt have grew around the Harbour with Fishing and Farming, with the Village taking its name from the Dutchman.

1560s - the Castle of Mey was built for George Sinclair.

1600s? - Canisbay Kirk / Church was built where the Chapel of St Drostan once stood. Jan de Groot's Grave Stone can be viewed in the Kirk.

1874 - the Highland Railway reached Thurso, 20 miles west of John O Groats.

1887 - the John O Groats Hotel was built.

1952 - HM Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, bought the run down Castle of Mey to have it restored to serve as her summer home.

1987 - the passenger only ferry MV Pentland Venture entered service on the Crossing between John O Groats and the remote small Village of Burwick on Orkney, with a crossing of about 40 minutes. Burwick is 20 miles south of Kirwall with tour coaches picking up at Burwick.

1995? - the John O Groats Hotel closed, leading to the area being described as the most dismal place in Scotland.

2002 - The Queen Mother Died, leading to the Castle of Mey being opened to the public in summer.

2013 - the John O Groats Hotel was refurbished and extensions added before re-opening as the Inn at John O Groats.

A new Visitor Centre, Cafe / Restaurant, and Holiday Lodges have also been added, leading to the area becomming a top rated visitor attraction. Website.

2022 - the small 8 Doors Distillery opened at John O Groats producing Single Malt Scotch whisky, the last Distillery in the area was over 185 years back.

Today - the 90 mile A836 Road along the north coast of Scotland between John O Groats in the east and Durness in the west is one of the top driving roads in Scotland, with a number of Stunning Beaches, and Rugged Mountains.

Many Camper Vans of all sizes can be seen along this road with a large Touring park at John O Groats and another at Durness, both sitting right next to the sea.

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