You live where?!

The area linking Wick, Thurso and John O'Groats is called the Caithness Triangle. Over the years many cars, lorries, planes, boats, buses and other vehicles have vanished without a trace in that infamous area. Well actually none of that is true but it sounded really eerie and mysterious! :-)

I live in Caithness, on the north east coast of Scotland. Caithness is the most northerly "county" on the UK mainland. Its two main towns are Wick on the east coast and Thurso on the north coast, Thurso being the larger of the two.

Caithness has a lot to offer visitors. Most people head off to John O'Groats but there's loads more to see and do. There's the dramatic scenery, historical interests including the Heritage Centre, loads of great old buildings, castles, ruins, standing stones and burial mounds. For the more active there's horseriding, great walks across open flow country, freshwater fishing for Salmon, wild Brown Trout and stocked Rainbows, while the surrounding coast is a sea fisherman's dream! The coast has a great mix of sandy beaches and high rocky cliff faces and offshore there are great diving oppurtunities. Also we have the Pultneytown whiskey distillery, a bowling alley and a CINEMA, ("YEAH!"). In the summer there's the Highland games and Gala days. Did I mention the pubs? :-) Oh and contrary to popular opinion we do get nice weather. Why I remember back in 1993 the sun shone for hours!

Interesting fact: The fax machine was invented here, in a little village called Watten!

Did I mention the Northern Lights?
One of the great things about living so far north is that you get to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. <Techy alert!> The Northern Lights, (aurorae borealis) and their close relative the Southern Lights, (aurorae australis) are caused by solar activity such as sun spots. These are violent explosions of gas on the surface of the sun. Sun spots radiate streams of particles into the Earthís ionosphere, (a layer of the Earthís atmosphere). These particles collide with air molecules in our ionosphere and get deflected and drawn to the Earthís magnetic poles, (not unlike iron filings being drawn to a magnet). When the particles collide with air molecules they change their electric charge and glow, causing the aurorae borealis in the north and the aurorae australis in the south. Aurorae are often accompanied by magnetic storms which cause compass needles to behave erratically and can even interfere with long distance radio reception!

The "lights" have inspired people for centuries. Creation at itís awe inspiring best, to see them is an experience you will never forget. Wave after wave of dancing, shimmering, multi coloured light which will simply take your breath away. Below are some images of the aurorae from various parts of the world. Click on the thumbnails to get a larger view. I'm sure you'll agree the images are amazing, but you really have to see the lights "dance" to appreciate fully their beauty and wonder. If you havenít seen them already, I hope you will some day.

Aurora photographs
Although not taken in Caithness, these photographs from around the world will give you an idea of the beauty and wonder of the northern lights. Click on the images to see them full size. Also I have included links to the photographers' websites, such as Jan Curtis and Dick Hutchinson. They really are experts in aurora photography. Check out their sites for more stunning images.
northern lights
green aurora
More great photographs by Jan Curtis here
muli coloured aurora
aurora lights

red northern lights

northern lights

spectacular northern lights
More great photographs by Jan Curtis here
amazing view of the northern lights
More great photographs by Dick Hutchinson here
aurora borealis
More great photographs by Dick Hutchinson here

northern lights seen from space
More great images at mtu.edu here

If you are the copyright owner of any of these images and would like a link to your page please let me know.
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Caithness links
Caithness.org
Places to stay
Harpsdale Fishery
Caithness images

Click on the thumbnails to see a full size image and information.
camster cairns burial mound


Images above supplied with thanks by Doug Houghton www.doughoughton.com




Images above supplied with thanks by Andrew Tait

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