This morning, in his cliff-top café 300ft above the waters of Cape Wrath, Scotland’s loneliest restaurateur is rubbing his hands and readying his kitchen for the first guests of the new year.
John Ure, 54, is wise enough to season his anticipation with a large dose of realism. Even without the snow and ice lying thick around the place, he knows his café — set in the former lighthouse keeper’s cottage at the northwestern tip of Britain — is as seriously inaccessible as it gets: a ferry ride across an inlet and an 11-mile hike over rugged moorland.
The journey can defeat even the most experienced travellers in these parts. Eight days ago Kay, his wife, set off to Inverness to fetch the Christmas turkey. She still hasn’t made it back.
“The snow only began after she’d left,” says Mr Ure regretfully. “It’s the first Christmas we’ve spent apart for 30 years. She’s been stuck in Durness all this time.”
More of Mr Ure, a surprisingly happy man, at: Cape Wrath Cafe.
Happy new year, comrades.