Cape Wrath
 


Cape Wrath... To The Edge

 

 

Possibly the most unvisited place on the North Coast 500, when it should be one of the Most.

 

People who fail to visit will in my opinion make a big mistake by missing out on one of the splendours of the Highlands.

One of the Few real places in the UK that can be described as a wilderness.

 

Cape Wrath is a cape in the Durness parish of the county of Sutherland. It is the most north-westerly point in mainland Britain.

 

The cape is separated from the rest of the mainland by the Kyle of Durness and consists of 107 square miles (280 km2) of moorland wilderness known as the Parph ( an Old Norse saying for 'Turning Point').

It was at this very North-Western tip of the British mainland that the Vikings adventurers knew that they must alter course to the South on the outward voyages or to the east on their return if they were to reach their objectives in the Northern Seas which were very Harsh water most of the time. The first road was built in 1828 by the lighthouse commission across the Parph/Durness. This road connects a passenger ferry that crosses the Kyle of Durness with the buildings on the peninsula.

Much of the cape is owned by the Ministry of Defence and is used as a military training area, including as live firing range. Areas of it are also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Protection Area, a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Landscape Area.

Cape Wrath is well known for its extreme weather, which can be wild with wind and cold like you have never experienced before. But even Cape Wrath can have its good days and with clear weather you can view on one side the land masses of the Isle of Lewis and Orkney on the other. And standing still all you here is just birdsong and the waves crashing ashore 200 feet or more below its mighty cliffs. There is just no where you will feel an experience than here on the edge.

The only road crossing Cape Wrath was built in 1828 to service the Lighthouse. Proposals in the 60's and 70's to replace the road to this day remain unfulfilled dreams and so it should. This is an area to be protected and a road suitable to replace the Ferry would sign the end to the Cape and all it is. The Cape comprises some of the Oldest Geology in the World. The underlying Rocks are principally Lewisian gneiss and Torridonian sandstone's laid down 1,00- 750 million years agate Lewisian gneiss is between 2900 - 1100 million years old. Many international and British Universities send students on field courses to study the area such is its importance.

 

 

The whole area of the North West Corner of Scotland is of Stunning Natural beauty from Colgach, North of Ullapool right round to Loch Erboll on Sutherland's far North coast.   The North West Sutherland European Geopark was officially opened in 2005 by Aubrey Manning a well known TV presenter, geologist, zoologist, and author.There are buildings on Cape Wrath that were erected during the early days of radio Communication. As Radio range and reliability increased these installation were expanded. They formed a vital watch station in the Two World Wars, but lie derelict since there non use after the end of World War 2.

A century ago there were about 25-30 people settled on the Cape, there was also a small School known as Cape Wrath Academy, this closed in 1947. The Site of Special Scientific Interest on the Cape have huge seabird colonies, and the whole area is home to long established hearts of Red Deer. The Cape is  a place where if you choose to travel on your own to be exceedingly careful. Planning your trip and ensuring you have the right equipment and food etc is essential. Over the Years people have died and perished over the years, being victims of the extreme weather or unfortunate circumstances they find themselves in.

 

Of course the main objective at the Cape for the Tourist is the Journey to the Lighthouse and the knowledge that you are at not just Britians most North Westerly point but excluding Greenland Europes. To reach your goal you start with the Ferry from the Kyle of Durness, which is also the smallest Ferry service in Great Britain. The service operator is a John Morrison and he has been that Ferryman since 1984, a local born and bred Highlander. Once across there is only one transport to the other end to the Edge of Britain and thats by the one Mini Bus to take you along the 11 mile of road. James or Sturat will take good care of you when on the Bus, there the local experts, so if in doubt , ask, there friendly folk up here.

The whole experience of the Cape is certainly not to be missed. The whole route of the North Coast 500 is filled with scenery to die for, but the Cape is one truly magical and unforgettable place that missing it would be pointless travelling the route in the first place. Plan ahead so as to avoid disappointment for the ferry and the bus by clicking HERE  

A Great Wee Video showing the Experience.