I have realised that I have something against cliches. Especially cliched statements. For instance the term ‘off the grid’ used in the strapline above. And why do these statements bug me so much? ‘Cos of a simple reason. People throw them around like garbage. At times it seems as if words no longer mean what they’re supposed to and these cliched statements further fuel my rising hatred against them.
So I decided, the only way I will use these terms are if I really end up doing something of that sort. I mean, what’s the point of using metaphors if the real stuff is not even a pale shadow of the statement. So in case, you’re wondering why I have used one over here, that’s because I actually went and did that. Went off the grid. And now, it’s time for you to join me and get lost off the grid.
Where It All Began
London… the city that made me fall in love with the act of aimlessly walking around and getting lost in the layers of its magical architecture. But then, this story is not about London. It’s just that, it was in London that I met my super cool companion for this ride. A spunky Audi Q3 in a sinister shade of grey with an ironically soothing pearly effect. So off I loaded my bags, shifter it’s AutoStick to drive mode and started driving north towards the city of Edinburgh. But then, even Edinburgh is not the place I got happily lost at. Yet, there’s a small tale to it.
Glazing Through The City Of Horror
Everything is pretty modern about Edinburgh. It has those lofty buildings with the boring glass facades, car dealerships trying to pawn off exciting cars at attractive prices and beautiful beaches. But what really caught my fancy was the old town. Walking across the Royal Mile you are surrounded by buildings that date back to a time that we all can only imagine. Of course, historians and movie makers have pieced together this and that to give us a glimpse of our digital screens, but a walk through the Royal Mile puts everything in perspective.
There are alleyways and arches that feel so ancient that you can literally hear them talking to you. It’s like, you that at any moment a horse-drawn carriage will show up and pack you off into a dark dungeon… Why? Because you don’t belong to this era. If you are slightly sensitive to the vibrations wafting around, you can actually feel the spirits calling out to you. It’s like your own personal journey through time, splattered with a bit of goosebump-inducing moments. Anyways, since chilling in a city has never been my thing, it was time to say goodbye to the ghosts of Edinburgh and move on.
And Move On I Did
Somehow I have always been fascinated by the extremities of a country. It gives me some sort of satisfaction to drive along the coast with waves crashing and maybe drop into the extreme directional tips of countries. So with that thought, I decided to head further up north towards John o'Groats… to the edge of Scotland. But once again, this story is not about John o’Groats, but the unknown roads and the beaches I chose to get lost on. So post my exit from Edinburgh, my next destination was a nice little Airbnb apartment in the small town of Wick. After a heavy meal, full of meats that would get me killed in our country, I called it a night.
Discovering The Rock Architecture
I know that we’re almost at the end of my tale and we’re just about reaching the spot described in the headline. But then, I find the exploration bit, a lot, if not more, exciting than the discovery. So the process is very important as one ‘right’ turn might actually make you miss the right place. And now that we’re on our way from Wick to John o’Groats, it’s time to find that wrong bend on the road and take to it blindly, like a beagle going on one its olfactory hunts.
I was driving at a heady pace of about 60 mph and about a few miles up north from Wick, I cross a tiny little opening on the right of the road. It just registers on my peripheral vision and somehow I decided to break, reverse and get into that tiny lane. Not expecting anything major, I stay on that dirt track and there it was. One of the most beautiful rocky beaches I had ever laid my eyes on. It was not the grandeur or size of the waves, but the overall loneliness of that place which drew it to me.
I parked by Q3 and there was a short 100-metre rocky descent towards the ocean. And it was when I got down to the sea level that I noticed what the rock face was hiding. A small path that leads to another hidden beach with a waterfall which in essence looked like a naturally made, open-air, but private shower. Bobbing up and down the water was a happy sea lion which after a quick show of head and it’s moustache dashed off to catch its lunch.
The Final Journey
Overall, throughout my drive around Scotland’s glens and lochs, nothing captured my attention the way this unknown rocky beach did. I crossed some iconic distilleries, amazing bridges and some locations where tourists actually go to. But then, that’s not really my thing. So get out, get lost and find your own ‘thing’.