Our first stop was a photo opportunity at the Kylesku bridge, after which we cut off the top left corner of Scotland in a diagonal line ending at Durness.
We'd received several recommendations for Cocoa Mountain, and had come to try it for ourselves. They served a fantastic hot chocolate, topped with melted chocolate drizzled over inches of foam, and there was a delightfully friendly cat.
Here the rain which had been following behind caught us up, and never went away. It was a cosy rain we could layer against, rather than the downpour of the journey up; softening the edges and the colours so everything was peaceful greens and browns. We stopped for sandwiches in Tongue (but not tongue sandwiches) at a friendly pub, and pulled in to a layby for views of the distinctive Dounreay.
Our home for the night was Castletown, near Thurso. The town was very grey, the hotel and furnishings dated, but everyone we met was helpful and friendly. Howard and I walked down to the beach, among the remains of the town's flagstone industry, and I had a freezing five-minute swim in a sheltered curve of the bay, watched by oystercatchers.