This was the first day of this leg of the walk. I had travelled up to Inverness yesterday and then taken a bus onto Wick. It was a much colder day compared to what I have recently been used to, with occasional rain showers passing through but there were sunny spells as well. I walked along the A99 from Wick to Lybster and saw whales off the coast along the way. Along the way I met a girl called Catherine Yarrow who was near to completing her Land’s End to John o’Groats walk for charity. Good on her! Lybster is a quiet village and like so many communities in this part of the country, is struggling to cope with the economic and financial pressures during these challenging times. I arranged to stay in a local ‘hotel’ which was showing the stresses and strains of the current business climate. Tourism has declined over recent years in these areas. Where once tourists would stop and stay a night en route to their final destination, now they are either no longer visiting Scotland, or if they are, they aren’t stopping off in these smaller villages. This decline in passing trade is certainly having a serious impact on these communities. They weren’t serving food in the place I was staying until breakfast so I headed to a café. The lights were on but I discovered that they had problems with their electricity supply to their kitchen tonight, so they weren’t able to cook any food. So I visited the main hotel back on the main road (which is where I should have stayed with hindsight) and had dinner. The management there confirmed that times were very tough, although they had plans to refurbish the hotel in 2013 to try and catch the passing trade once again.