Stories and Solastalgia – The Aftermath of Writing About The North Coast 500, Park-Ups, Potholes and Poo

This summer, I wrote a piece about living on the popular ‘North Coast 500’ route through the lens of my own experience as a resident of Caithness. Entitled ‘Poo, Potholes and Park-Ups – Why Highlanders are Tired of Scotland’s North Coast 500 Route,’ the article was probably more even-handed than the alliterated headline might suggest.…

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Poo, Potholes and Park-Ups – Why Highlanders Are Tired of Scotland’s North Coast 500 Route

Last year, I wrote an article on the ‘summer of discontent’ on Scotland’s ‘North Coast 500’ road trip. As a resident on the route here in Caithness, I spent a lot of time writing about responsible travel and repeating the phrase ‘let’s hope things improve.’ A summer of littering, outdoor toileting and inconsiderate ‘wild camping’…

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No Wilderness: Reshaping The Way We Talk About Far North Places

Exactly a year ago, on the Sunday before the UK entered lockdown, I was out walking with my son here in Caithness when a man pulled over in his car and rolled down the driver’s side window. He asked us where he could find a place to eat and have a cup of coffee. The…

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Where Stories Come From: Caithness Lore and Legend

If you were reading last week, you’ll know that I’m soon to publish my first novel, a Young Adult fantasy inspired by the folklore of my home county, Caithness. I’ll be sharing more details on the story soon, but for now, I wanted to share a little on why I was inspired to write the…

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The North Coast 500 and the Summer of Discontent

Since its inception in 2015, The North Coast 500 – the re-branding of an existing 516-mile loop around the North Highlands – has attracted visitors from all over the world, keen to experience the untamed beauty of this area of Scotland. Originally the brainchild of North Highland Initiative – a non-profit organisation set up by…

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Caithness and Coorie – Embracing the Seasons in The UK’s Most Northerly Mainland County

Over the years, I’ve embraced just about every geographical lifestyle trend imaginable. Hygge – the Danish art of cosiness and contentment: on it. Lagom – the Swedish philosophy of ‘not too little, not too much, just right’: yep, count me in. Ikigai – the Japanese secret to a long and happy life: been there, done…

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Lighting Candles and Other Notes on Happiness

Lately I seem to have so much to say that I don’t even know where to start writing it. Over the last year I have absorbed such a lot of information from reading, podcasts and just living that I really want to share. Some of this is on health, some on happiness, some on self-improvement…

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Opinions, Beliefs and Social Media – Maybe We Should All Just Agree to Disagree

One of the reasons I stopped spending so much time on Facebook was due to the amount of online ‘arguing’. For a while there, it seemed like conflict was the order of the day. It was particularly noticeable around big issues like the refugee crisis, Brexit and the Scottish Referendum. But in general, arguments could…

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What Autoimmune Illness Really Feels Like

As March is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, I wanted to share my own experience of living with an autoimmune condition. As autoimmune conditions – an immune response which causes the body to attack itself – are by their nature often invisible, they can lead to misunderstanding, misconception, and sometimes disbelief. Many sufferers are confronted with the notion that their health complaints are somehow…

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A Sunday Well Spent

Last Sunday we took a trip ‘up west’ to enjoy some unseasonably sunny February weather and sample some of the best beaches the North of Scotland has to offer. We are fortunate where we live to be able to reach something akin to a wilderness within a half hour or so of our front door. The…

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