Craft Gin Club Summer Road Trip: Rock Rose rocks the Caithness coast

Summer time = traveling time! What's better than throwing your gear in a suitcase and throwing your work into the dustbin as you leave your stress and troubles far behind in exchange for a sun-filled season of new adventures? We can't think of much - except sipping a cool, craft G&T. But what makes that G&T even better? Drinking it at the distillery where the gin was made!

This summer, we're taking a trip through the regions of our craft distiller partners, the places where they make the delicious, small-batch gins that Craft Gin Club Members enjoy every month.

This August, our Gin of the Month comes from way up at the UK mainland's most Northern Point, the village of Dunnet in County Caithness. Caithness locals Claire and Martin Murray returned with their children from some time abroad to launch their distillery, the Dunnet Bay Distillery, and have produced one of the UK's fastest growing craft gins, Rock Rose. Caithness is one of the counties through which the North Coast 500 - Scotland's answer to America's Route 66 - passes. Drivers along the route will marvel at the beauty of Caithness, of which Claire and Martin are very proud. Here we visit some of their favourite spots.   


The Dunnet Bay Distillery

Where Claire and Martin make their magic!

Where Claire and Martin make their magic!

Duncansby Stacks

These dramatic rock formations known as the Duncansby Stacks reach heights of 60 meters, taller than the cliffs from which they broke off millions of years ago, with The Great Stack situated 200 meters from the shoreline. 

These dramatic rock formations known as the Duncansby Stacks reach heights of 60 meters, taller than the cliffs from which they broke off millions of years ago, with The Great Stack situated 200 meters from the shoreline. 

Castle of Mey

Originally built in the 1500s, the Castle of Mey became a royal residence when Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother saved it from despair in 1952 not long after the death of her husband, King George VI. The Queen Mother would summer at the castle, a practice adopted by her grandson, Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, who stays at the castle with the Duchess of Rothesay the last week of July or first week of August when Castle Mey, which is now open to the public, closes for ten days.

Originally built in the 1500s, the Castle of Mey became a royal residence when Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother saved it from despair in 1952 not long after the death of her husband, King George VI. The Queen Mother would summer at the castle, a practice adopted by her grandson, Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, who stays at the castle with the Duchess of Rothesay the last week of July or first week of August when Castle Mey, which is now open to the public, closes for ten days.

Dunnet Head

The most northerly point on the UK mainland, Dunnet Head is a peninsula that juts out towards the Orkney Islands some 9 miles in the distance and forms the eastern boundary of Dunnet Bay. At its tip, called Easter Head, sits a lighthouse built during World War II which as it turns points its light towards the nearby Dunnet Bay Distillery which makes a delicious spirit every drinker would love to find in their Easter basket, Rock Rose Gin.

The most northerly point on the UK mainland, Dunnet Head is a peninsula that juts out towards the Orkney Islands some 9 miles in the distance and forms the eastern boundary of Dunnet Bay. At its tip, called Easter Head, sits a lighthouse built during World War II which as it turns points its light towards the nearby Dunnet Bay Distillery which makes a delicious spirit every drinker would love to find in their Easter basket, Rock Rose Gin.

Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Like a vision from the popular series, Game of Thrones, Castle Sinclair Girnigoe sits perched on a rugged cliffside looking as if at any moment it will fall in to the sea. It has sat this way since the 1400s when Clan Sinclair, whose noblemen have held the Earl of Caithness title since the time the castle was built, ruled the county and the Orkney Islands. The castle is currently undergoing renovations and will eventually open to the public. Photo credit: Charles Tait / North Coast 500

Like a vision from the popular series, Game of Thrones, Castle Sinclair Girnigoe sits perched on a rugged cliffside looking as if at any moment it will fall in to the sea. It has sat this way since the 1400s when Clan Sinclair, whose noblemen have held the Earl of Caithness title since the time the castle was built, ruled the county and the Orkney Islands. The castle is currently undergoing renovations and will eventually open to the public. Photo credit: Charles Tait / North Coast 500

Whaligoe Steps

This staircase of 365 steps descends steeply towards a small port called Whaligoe which means “inlet of whales.” Built in the 19th century, they served as an access point for transporting a days catch of fish to the town of Wick some seven miles to the north of the inlet.

This staircase of 365 steps descends steeply towards a small port called Whaligoe which means “inlet of whales.” Built in the 19th century, they served as an access point for transporting a days catch of fish to the town of Wick some seven miles to the north of the inlet.

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