Saturday, April 10, 2010

North to Thurso

We’ve been to the most northerly point of mainland Britain, and no, it’s not John o' Groats, it’s Dunnet Head.

The Leed family, Phil’s ancestors, lived in the nearby town of Thurso in the early 1800s. The church that was in business then is still there but closed to the public – Phil took this photo over a high wall and we were surprised to see on the computer that the churchyard is full of gravestones. Thurso has a strong affinity with the sea of course, and the Norse influence is evident everywhere. Maybe Phil has Nordic genes!

At some stage the Leeds moved to Glasgow and in 1853 Robert was working at the Kinneil Ironworks when he decided to migrate to Australia. This week we have been to the excellent Museum of Transport in Glasgow and it highlighted the lives of ordinary people and the industries they worked in, especially the shipyards, and how they used public transport to get to work.

Thurso is also famous for another reason. The surf there, and in several other places along the north coast of Scotland, is a huge attraction to surfers and there is a big competition here each year. I saw one company advertising industrial-strength wetsuits to combat the chill! We went to the surf beach because son-in-law Adam is a surfer, but the tide was out so no waves. (We had to ask for directions because access is between farmyard buildings.) At another beach we saw surf skiers though.

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