NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here
From Thurso the obvious route west and (therefore the one I obviously took) was along the main A836. When I say “main” – that gives the impression that there is a lot of traffic about, but thats not the case up here. I opted to catch a bus out to Reay – there is a regular-ish bus service out here because of the workers who are working on decommissioning the Nuclear Power station at Douneray. (see photo above). This was one of the UK’s first nuclear reactors and the powers that be obviously thought that the best place to build such a thing would be up here where any potential problems would have minimum effects (at least as far as Londoners where concerned). What I found interesting about the place was that it was obviously the biggest employer in the region; in just about every car that passed me, the driver or passenger(s) were wearing green highly visible safety bibs. (when I say visible I DONT mean they were glowing in the dark – I suspect that is a sign of something not going right somewhere). As I plodded along, and passed the car park which was FULL of workers’ cars, I wondered how many people worked there when the plant was actually operating! Apparently, It will take something like 20 years to decommission the power station – what does everyone do exactly? Are they dismantling the whole plant at a rate of one tile a day I wonder? Maybe someone can tell me what is involved exactly? Apparently it will cost around £1 billion to knock the thing down. Im sure there are loads of sheep farmers up here with JCBs that could do a quick demolishing job for a grand (in brown envelopes, used notes, no questions asked). I cant see what all the fuss is about – the operators have been flushing the stuff into the sea for years anyway.
Anyway, maybe that was a good excuse for me to avoid walking along the beach as radioactive particles on the beach seem to be as common as muck now. If I pass any three headed sheep you will be the first to know. Toodle pip!