For a sense of the history of the area, now would be a good time to start reading Neil M Gunn’s book, “The Silver Darlings”. This novel is set in the North East of Scotland. It tells the tale of a family in one the herring fishing communities that grew up after the Highland Clearances. You can visit many of these old fishing villages as your travel up the coast. Golspie is a good choice as the extraordinary Dunrobin Castle is nearby. If you take the tour and see the falconry display this will take up a whole day! Helmsdale is another old fishing town worth a visit and was once home to Europes largest herring fleet.
Next, head towards Wick, where you can visit the Old Man of Wick, the castle ruins on the edge of high cliffs. There a many viewing points along this route to stop and take in the extraordinary and striking cliff top scenery. If you need some beach action then the white sands of Sinclair’s Bay are a good place for a walk and swim.
Carry on to John O’Groats, the most northerly point of the United Kingdom, to take the obligatory photo under the sign! If you have time to visit Orkney, this is where you can catch the ferry across. Sadly, there is not a lot that is special about John O’Groats so I would be tempted to carry on around the point to Dunnet Head. There is a lovely walk to the lighthouse with views across to Orkney, or simply enjoy some peace and solitude at the RSPB reserve there.
The Dunnet Bay Caravan Site is a great place to stay if you want to enjoy some time on this amazing part of the coast. Nearby are the Dunnet Bay distillers and sample their gin and vodka, if you fancy a change from whisky.