Dunnet Head, October 2016
Cards on the table: I’m not a fan of the east coast of Scotland. Sticking out into the North Sea, it’s a bit bare-cliffy, bleak and cold for my liking – I much prefer the white beaches and aquamarine water of the west coast, with the Atlantic lapping at its extremities…
However, I do think it’s quite exciting to stand at the most northerly and westerly points of mainland Britain. So, in 2016, while the hound and I were staying at a lovely cottage on the Kyle of Tongue, we took a daytrip to John O’Groats-shire.
After a quick look at John O’Groats itself, where there’s not a great deal to write home about (!), proper stop #1 was Duncansby Head, the furthest north-east point of mainland Britain.
The little lighthouse is perched at the top of quite a steep slope down to the sea…
….then if you walk a couple of kilometres down the vague coastal path, you’ll see the famous Stacks of Duncansby – pointed rocky stacks that make for rather groovy photos.
And keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife!
Looking back up the coast from the stacks to the lighthouse
Then it was a whizz 40 mins down the coastal A99 to Noss Head lighthouse and Castle Sinclair Girnigo, a 15th century fortress just outside Wick. We had a wonder around the castle ruins, which are craggily impressive, and then peered at the lighthouse from a distance (starting to figure one's much the same as another!!).
After that, we headed diagonally across the corner of Scotland, up the B876 to Dunnet Head, the northernmost point of mainland Britain.
If you get a clear day - which we sort of managed on a re-visit in October 2017 with my friend, Lovely Mark – you get a pretty decent view of Orkney and the Old Man of Hoy.
(The hound does love a good seascape <3 )
Getting there: For a good starting point, follow signs to John O’Groats!
Sat Nav: Duncansby Head KW1 4YT, Castle Sinclair Girnigo KW1 4QT, Dunnet Head KW14 8XS
OS Landranger map: 12 THURSO & WICK, John O’Groats
Terrain: Decent walking boots
Nearest facilities: There’s a gift shop and café at John O’Groats.