Not the usual calendar type view of Duncansby Head, and its various sea stacks, that would be from the cliff-top... safely away from the extreme tidal currents that hurtle past it. Just wish our coach for the day had told us we'd be surfing on the standing waves caused by the tide. Much as I like surfing, I'd have just had a light snack for lunch, if I'd known that rollercoaster fun was to follow. Suspect he was disappointed that Jenny (above) and myself didn't capsize or have any fear of the fun, and that he didn't wear us out. My stomach wasn't so comfortable, and feeling distinctly queasy hindered my progress over the last few miles from the head.
Jenny and I had planned the trip, after consulting all the necessary weather and tidal information. We launched from Skirza, about 6 km South of the head, and would be using the tide to hurtle around it, and then finish at John o'Groats. Not a very long paddle, but we had hoped to extend it, and there were very impressive caves and geo's a plenty along the way to explore. And as we were just guinea pigs for the coach to try and improve our paddling skills, there were various stops and exercises to be done. The coach was the one being assessed on the highest level of sea kayak coaching ability, hence the need for some challenging (i.e. notorious) water to train us on.
Weather was glorious for April and very calm... aside from the tide. Seabirds galore on the cliffs, flying about, and on the water.
On the way back to accommodation, Jenny and I took a wee detour to see what state the "Merry Men Of Mey" looked like from St John's Point... just in case that was going to be tomorrow's venue. The name refers to underwater rocks that extend right across the Pentland Firth, and cause the water to be somewhat challenging as the very strong tides flow over them. If there's a strong wind blowing in the opposite direction to the tide, things can become rather nasty. Add some swell in for extra challenge. And we're talking about any seaborne traffic, not just five metre long kayaks.
Extras - this new camera seems to have a good macro capability, some Red Campion and another flower at the lunch stop beach; and close in segment of the Merry Men Of Mey, from St John's Point - those waves are caused by the tide, not the wind, and this wasn't at "peak flow."