For every purpose, there is life: this is the Northern Point
In every Circus, what is right, the meaty thinking joint
But who’d have thought that John O’Groats served any greater plan
Than Marking out the Mainland, the Northmost point for Celtic Man.
The North Star here will guide us in our quest for education
A solar car and compass: we are guests of trepidation
Unsure of what our life should mean, unsure where we should go
To be at one with hope and fear and feel our Universal flow.
So small this shore, Duncansby Head, no place to launch your boats
The call of oar, the future read, or settle John o’ Groats.
The windswept, windy shores of time where forecasts often changed
With heather smells and ocean wells to wish life re-arranged.
To glance to East at Sunrise or to Western Sunset
To lance the grave where none rise to assist our British Best
Yet looking out and forth and free it’s what we’ve always known
When searching the horizons, friends, we’re never on our own.
Viewed from Duncansy Head, John O'Groats is famous as the most northerly mainland point of the British Isles.
Local legend has that the "O' Groats" refers to John's charge of one groat for use of his ferry, but it actually derives from the Dutch de groot, meaning "the large". People from John o' Groats are known as "Groaters". John O'Groats himself was a Dutchman, Jan de Broot who settled here. In 1496 Jan De Groot was granted a charter to the land by the Earl of Caithness. A house was built to accommodate a grand feast which was to celebrate the anniversary of his arrival in Caithness. His seven descendants quarrelled about precedence and Jan de Groot solved this problem by building an octagonal house with eight doors, one for each of his seven sons and himself, and an eight sided table so that no one occupied the head of the table. Jan de Groot ran a ferry to Orkney and charged 2p a trip. The coin for this denomination became known as the ‘groat’.