An eleven mile journey to the north-west tip of Scotland.
Despite the way it sticks out into the North Atlantic, Cape Wrath is not the most northerly point in the mainland, that distinction belongs to Dunnett Head. Cape Wrath might be a mile or two further south but the highest sea cliffs in mainland Britain are here, 920 feet high at nearby Clo Mor. The route to Cape Wrath was at one time a surfaced road, but it's in such poor condition now that your average dirt road is often better. Perhaps it's cheaper nowadays to supply the lighthouse by helicopter, than maintain the road. The track to Cape Wrath is separated from the rest of the road network by the Kyle of Durness, a foot passenger ferry takes you over. The only other vehicle on the road will be a minibus that operates a shuttle service. The minibus is taken over by lighter at the start and end of the tourist season. Bear in mind that there's no shelter of any kind along the way, and that the route is very exposed. The weather can change very rapidly - take waterproof clothing. The ferry service is frequent in summer, but because the Kyle of Durness is tidal, the ferry can only operate at certain times, phone 01971-511376. Access is from the minor road just south of Durness. The hotel by the ferry provides teas.
As soon as you get off the ferry there's a steep climb, this is very steep at first but gradually gets easier until you are at 70 metres high after travelling a mile. There's a great view over The Kyle of Durness towards Balnakeil, following this you plunge to sea level again to cross a little bridge over the Daill River, before turning west away from the sea. The next climb is higher still, and just as steep at first as the previous one, there's a bit of a respite at a couple of lochans then a more gradual climb to 180 metres. By now the terrain has opened out, you pass quite close to the conical hill of Maovally and the crags of Fashven are clearly visible to the south. Shortly after this another track runs down to an attractive beach at Kearvaig. There is an interesting rock stack here, Clo Kearvaig (Cathedral Rock). On the main route there's a gradual descent to cross Kearvaig River. After that the remaining four miles to the lighthouse are not too difficult, though there are a couple of steep little hills along the way. The lighthouse at Cape Wrath was completed in 1825. The engineer was Robert Stevenson, grandfather of the author Robert Louis Stevenson.
Until quite recently this was a manned lighthouse, Cape Wrath was one of the last to be made fully automatic. No doubt there are some stories it could tell. Nowadays supplies are taken to the lighthouse by helicopter or boat, rather than horse and cart from the Kyle of Durness. The lighthouse consists of a twenty metre high tower on top of a 102 metre cliff. It gives a flashing white light every 30 seconds, or in fog, a 6 second blast every 90 seconds. Naturally it's a listed building of historic and architectural interest. If you look east you should be able to see the high cliffs at Clo Mor, as well as the rock stack Clo Kearvaig. If it's windy you'll have had a tough journey, but the surf on the rocks below will be impressive. The return journey to the Kyle of Durness should be much quicker. You did remember to check on the return ferry times didn't you?