History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: 1828 Stephenson lighthouse
Despite the name, Cape Wrath has nothing to do with anger. In this case, 'Wrath' comes from Old Norse meaning a turning point, suggesting that the Norse mariners used the cape as a landmark to tell them where to turn their vessels while sailing along the coast.
Despite its isolated location, Cape Wrath traditionally supported several small crofting settlements, but there are now almost no permanent inhabitants. For much of the last several centuries, the area has been used for sheep grazing, and this practice still continues. There are surprisingly few historic remains, though a possible prehistoric fort has been discovered at Eilean nan Coarach, east of the Cape Wrath headland.
The relative isolation of the area means that it has remained free from the negative effects of human population on wildlife, bird populations and landscape. Tere is a very large bird population, with large numbers of kittiwakes, gannets, fulmar, and golden eagles. Red deer also abound.
Significant landmarks include a sea stack known as The Cathedral or Stac Clo Kearvaig in Gaelic. The name comes from a pair of slender 'spires' and an opening like a window formed by erosion.
The Stephenson LighthouseIn 1828 Robert Stephenson, one of the famed family f Scottish engineers, designed a lighthouse to stand atop the cliffs. The lighthouse, now listed Category A for historic importance, stands 400 feet above sea level and can be seen for 22 nautical miles out to sea. From 1894 Lloyds of London erected a signal station to track vessels around the Cape. The station closed in 1932, though it was briefly reused during WWII as a coastguard station. s for the lighthouse itself, it was manned until 1998, before it was converted to run automatically by the Northern Lighthouse Board.
Cape Wrath TrailA new walking trail has been launched to cover the coat of Sutherland and Wester Ross. The trail begins at Fort William and heads west to Glenfinnan, before turning north and following the coast through some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery before ending at Cape Wrath after a distance of 200 miles.
Access to Cape Wrath is by passenger ferry across the Kyle of Durness, then by regular minibus service which runs May - September. Access may be limited by military training exercises, so it is good to check ahead. If you're feeling energetic, the trail from Sandwood Bay (part of the Cape wrath Trail) provides access from the south, though again the route may be blocked at times if there are military exercises underway.
About Cape Wrath
Address: Durness, Highlands, Highland, Scotland
Attraction Type: Countryside
Location: On the A838 11 miles from Durness, accessible by ferry and minibus
Website: Cape Wrath
Photo Credit: Helen Baker, licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons Licence
NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Sandwood Bay - 6.5 miles (Countryside)
Balnakeil Church - 8.8 miles (Historic Church)
Smoo Cave - 10.9 miles (Countryside)
Dun Dornaigil Broch - 22.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
North West Highlands Geo Park - 26.4 miles (Countryside)
Wailing Widow Falls - 28.2 miles (Countryside)
Strathnaver Museum - 28.8 miles (Museum)
Old Man of Stoer - 28.8 miles (Countryside)
Nearest Accommodation to Cape Wrath:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Cape Wrath. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.