We hit the road again the following day, back to the safe reliability of a land-based vehicle. We checked out the sea stacks at Duncansby Head - pyramidal formations rising out like cousins of the Twelve Apostles which looked great in the morning light.
Further south we stopped to check out the ruins of Castle Sinclair Girnigoe. Much like temples are a dime a dozen in Japan, so too are castle ruins in Scotland. Sinclair Girnigoe did feel a bit special as it's built precariously on the sea cliffs, as if ready to crumble right into the ocean. From my untrained eyes, I couldn't quite see the separation between rock and castle foundation so it looked as if the ruins were carved from the rock itself - a bit like how I imagined Pyke to look in Game of Thrones.
Dunrobin Castle was next, and it was definitively NOT a ruin. I wasn't allowed to photograph any of the interiors, but the place had a definite fairytale/Disney feel to it. We walked through a steady stream of grand decadent rooms covered in lavish tapestries, masonry, panelling, taxidermied heads and other over the top detailing that you'd expect in a well-to-do castle. We also got to see a falconry demonstration in the gardens where a jolly scotsman showed us his confident handling of several beautiful hawks and falcons.
That night our accommodation was something else. Partially because he wanted to tick it off some bucket list, and partially because he was really keen to overdo it for my birthday, Jake booked us into a legitimate castle in Dornoch. I knew it was coming, but the suite was huge, lavish and quite over the top; think four poster bed, champagne on arrival and really fluffy bathrobes. I didn't take any photos because I was too busy trying to enjoy it all, but it was amazing and wonderful and so much more than what I deserve </3