Our campsite in Melvich was among hills and fields of sheep.
I could not see the sunset because of the hills but there was some colour in the sky afterwards.
We woke to a rain forecast but managed to get organised and leave before it started. Melvich and Portskerra the next community, are almost continuous. We did a diversion to Portskerra Pier which has views over Melvich Bay.
There is a memorial to some fishing disasters with the names of those lost.
From the headland there are views out to sea.
The next village we entered was Strathy. Like much of this part of Scotland it was still owned by traditional chiefs in the 19th century and the land was divided into estates. However, landowners wanted a more reliable income than their poor tenants and cleared the communities to coastal towns or gave them passage to Canada and the United States to create space to enable sheep farming. In 1790 Captain John Mackay of Strathy sold his estate to an Edinburgh lawyer William Honeyman; who leased the land to sheep farmers from Northumberland. In 1813 he sold it to the husband of the Countess of Sutherland. By 1815 more people were cleared to the coast and the mains farm was divided into crofts. We continued down to the parking space on Strathy Point and walked down the road down to the lighthouse.
There are views to cliffs and a natural arch.
Further along the A836 we passed a sign to a place called Brawl! Entering Bettyhill, we stopped for a coffee at the Farr Bay Inn and were the only people in the café. Bettyhill was a clearance village. It was named after Elizabeth, Countess of Sutherland who was responsible for many of the clearances. Hundreds of families were moved from Strathnaver townships to 3-acre crofts, too small to meet their nutritional needs on uncultivated Strathy Point. The rocky coast here has no harbour but they were told to develop a fishing industry despite knowing nothing about it and having no funds to purchase boats and equipment. The town has the Strathnaver museum in a disused church which is currently being renovated and is closed. Behind the museum is an ancient Pictish Cross – the Farr stone. Up the river Naver valley is Achanlochy Clearance village which the seven families were forced to leave in 1819. We could not really wander around as it was raining heavily so I have no current photos of Torrisdale Bay.
Near Borgie Forest we turned off to Skerry where we spent a week in a cottage in 2015. We parked down by the harbour and had our lunch. Skerry harbour was constructed in the 19th century by cutting access through the rocks.
The island in the distance is Eilean nan Ròn, an island populated for many years. 73 people lived there in 1881 and 30 in 1931 but it was evacuated in 1938. The final evacuation list contained nine people from the Mackay family. The island now has a lot of grey seals with many coming to pup every summer.
The geology is different here from the Caithness flagstones we have seen for the last few days. There are red rocks visible in the cliffs here.
We continued on to the Kyle of Tongue campsite to wait until the rain stops and permits some exploration.