From Inverness, follow the A9/A99 to Wick. At the roundabout in Wick (at the hospital) continue straight across the bridge over the river. Turn left at the traffic lights and follow the road out of Wick, heading north. As you leave the town, you will pass Tesco on the right. Approximately 3 miles further on, turn right heading to John O'Groats on the A99.
After approximately 8 miles, before you reach the village of Keiss, you will pass a sign saying "Keiss Beach". Sat Nav will probably bring you to this junction. Carry on a short distance beyond and take the next single track road on the right. There is a small sign at the entrance to the road, "The Herons" and a house sign opposite the turn that looks a bit like a lighthouse. The cottage is on the left at the end, as you face the sea. Go through the double gates into the drive.
From the North, John O'Groats, follow the A99 south to Wick. You will pass through the village of Keiss. On leaving the village, take the second small single track road to the left. Look for a house sign opposite the turn that looks a bit like a lighthouse. The cottage is on the left at the end, as you face the sea. Go through the double gates into the drive.
For satnav users, the postcode of The Herons is KW1 4XG
If you don't want to enjoy the drive through spectacular Scottish scenery, there is a small airport at Wick and also a train station as alternative means to arrive.
It is not a case of where do we start, but where do we stop. This corner of North East Scotland is home to so much. Caithness Community website has general information about the area.
The rocky shore land next to the cottage is attractive to waders, rock pipits, wagtails and herons. Great Skua pass overhead throughout the summer. The sea has gulls, terns (including Little Tern), Guillemots and divers (mainly Black Throated and Great Northern Diver). In easterly winds, Manx and Sooty Shearwaters can sometimes be seen. There is a Little Tern colony beside the river that crosses the long beach. There are also numerous sea ducks, such as Eider and Scotter. Curlew and Lapwing are also recorded in season in local fields.
The Flow Country is one of the largest single expanses of blanket bog in the world, and at the heart of it is the RSPB’s Forsinard nature reserve.
The coastal heath alongside the beach nurtures a variety of plants – Scottish primrose and broad-leaved helleborine are only a couple.
Orca, Minke, and Humpback whales can be seen. Watch from the shoreline, do some wild sea watching, or take an exciting trip out with Caithness Seacoast.
Sit outside and watch the stars, with a tot or two or a hot water bottle and some thermals! For an astronomical What's On see Caithness Astronomy Group , while Wild North Skies shows Maciej Winiarczyk's stunning photographs and videos.
Eleven miles from The Herons, Wick rose to international prominence in the 19th century by becoming Europe’s largest herring port (and don’t forget Staxigoe and Whalligoe Steps). At its peak, well over 1,000 fishing boats would set sail during the summer months to net the “silver darlings”. The history of Wick can be seen at Wick Heritage Centre. While the harbour today does not see many “silver darlings” it is still home to local fishing boats and recreational boats. Ebenezer Place is recorded officially as the shortest street in the world and has a good bistro at No 1. The Caithness Business Index shows other places to eat.
For the more energetic we have walking, cycling, and surfing. The beaches at Keiss/Reiss, Dunnet and Thurso are good for angling and dog walking. Flatfish and sea trout fishing can be done from the beach in Sinclair’s Bay. Loch fishing for brown trout. Sea fishing boat trips available from Wick Harbour and fishing tackle and permits can be purchased from Hugo Ross in Wick.
Our nearest neighbours across the Pentland Skerries is Orkney which host several well renowned archaeological sites. To get there, car and passenger ferries are available from North Link and Pentland Ferries while John O' Groats Ferries offer passenger ferries plus wildlife and bus tours.