Lybster Harbour – Off the beaten track

Recently Mr B had to pop down to Lybster for an appointment so I took a spontaneous opportunity to travel with him in the car and do a little bit of exploration around the harbour. We pass Lybster all the time if we are heading south to Inverness, or to the River Bothy which is one of our favourite cafes at nearby Berriedale.

Lybster is one of many coastal villages on the east coast of the Highlands and has a striking and well-maintained harbour, which was a key fishing port at the height of the fishing industry. Now, just a few local fishing boats are moored here.

I walked down the main street of Lybster, which is striking in itself due to being extraordinarily wide. Again, this is a clue to the success of the past fishing industry - where horses and carts would lug up the catch to the now closed train station.

It's a lovely walk down to the harbour - the operative word definitely being down, as the road winds down a steep hill to sea level. From halfway down the hill, if you are an experienced walker, you can join the John O'Groats trail which runs the length of the east coast down to Inverness.

There's a couple of gorgeous white-washed cottages, and even boarded-up, deserted buildings have their own charm, especially when set against a cheerful blue sky.

As I found myself at sea level, there was a small (now closed) visitor centre and cafe overlooking the harbour and lighthouse.

Inside are a range of interactive displays, pictures and sculptures. You can watch birds nesting on the Caithness cliffs by live remote cameras too.

There's some seating inside the (now closed) cafe too, however, I was quite happy on a picnic bench with a can of fizzy juice and a homemade date slice to enjoy the view.

Unless you knew about Lybster Harbour, or made deliberate decisions to go off the beaten track, you would probably not know that views like this existed. Just this one time of spontaneous exploration has inspired me to go off the beaten track more often!


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