Welcome to Dunnet Scotland
This most northerly point on mainland Britain rises some 100 metres above
sea level. The Dunnet Head lighthouse was built in 1831 by Robert Stevenson,
grandfather of the author Robert Louis Stevenson. It was automated in
1989. On a clear day the view point allows the visitor to see as far as
Cape Wrath to the west and enjoy a stunning panoramic view across to John
O'Groats and Duncansby Head. to the south lies Morven, the highest mountain
Accommodation in Dunnet
Price Guide - per person based on sharing room:
under $40 - $41
- 70 - more than
CASTLE OF MEY
Built between 1566 and 1572 by George, the fourth Earl of Caithness, it
became the family home of Sinclair of Mey. In 1789 the elder line of the
Mey family became extinct and for a century it was the seat of the local
earldom. It was in a state of some decay when the Queen Mother bought
it in 1952, shortly after the death of King George Vl. The building was
restored and was now the Queen mother's Highland holiday home until her
death. The Castle is open to the public and can clearly be seen from a
number of vantage points around the Dunnet Bay tour route. On selected
days during the summer the castle gardens are open to the public. For
further details refer to the local press. See Gardens Open to the Public
in Caithness Mey Castle (Barrogil) In ancient Times
FLAGSTONE AND HERITAGE TRAIL
Caithness flagstone is known in the building trade throughout the world.
Although the industry went into decline after the first world war, it
is now enjoying something of a revival. More on The Flagstone Heritage.
See entries on the Flagstone Industry in Walks in Caithness
Look out across the Pentland firth to the island of Stroma. Stroma is
Caithness's only island and was once home to a community of crofter-fishers.
The population reached 375 in the late 19th Century, but steady emigration
thereafter saw the last family leave for the mainland in 1962. Stroma
takes its name from straum, the Norse for tidal stream and it is an apt
reminder of its location amid the ferocious currents of the Pentland Firth.
During an ebb tide you will see the tidal race known as Men o' Mey. On
the foreshore is a seal colony. A ferry run by Pentland Ferries runs from
Gills Bay in Caithness to St Margaret's hope in Orkney making good time
usually the cheapest car ferry to Orkney.
Situated to the west end of the Castle Arms Hotel in Mey, just along from
the castle, the Royal Gallery offers a unique photographic insight to
the Queen mother's life in Caithness. Whether attending formal occasions,
mixing with locals or meeting up with other Royals, the relative freedom
she has enjoyed in Caithness is clearly evident. Open all the year round,
entry to the gallery is free and selected prints are available to purchase.
Dunnet Kirk is one of the oldest religious sites in Caithness. The earliest
references date from 1230 A.D. and, although the building has been altered
a great deal during its long service, much of the surviving structure
still dates from the 16th Century. Dunnet has been served by many notable
men of the cloth. Prominent among them was Timothy Pont, minister from
1602 to 1610 who was the first person to map much of northern Scotland.
His memorial plaque can be seen inside.
Situated at the Dwarwick Pier turning off Mill road, Westside, Dunnet.
This Caithness cottage has hardly altered since it was built 150 years
ago. The Caithness Heritage Trust has restored Mrs Mary-Ann Calder's former
home. This crofthouse features a wealth of family history. It exhibits
original box-beds and a host of early machines and implements which were
used on the croft. For opening times and entry fees Tel 01955 603385.
On the north-west gable of ruined Kirk are date (1633) and the initials
of the then minister David Bruce. A medieval Kirk probably existed on
the site before this date and may have been dedicated to St Trothan. Despite
very strong influence of the Kirk, superstition and legends abound. The
old kirkyard at Olrig is the scene of the tale about the Selkie Woman.
Found as a baby swaddled in a sealskin, she was subsequently banished
from the kirk as a devil worshipper and ultimately died giving birth to
her first child. A small hollow on the stone reputed to cover her grave
is said to never dry out!
Located adjacent to the car park at the north end of Dunnet Bay (next
to the caravan site) the Ranger Centre exhibits the natural history of
the area, including Dunnet Forest.
Leave your car at the small car park at the Southwest corner of the forest.
Follow the signpost from the A836 roadside. Dunnet Forest lies within
the National Nature Reserve and owned by Scottish National Heritage. The
grassland for which the Reserve has been identified supports a great number
of plant species and range of wildlife. Some flowers, such as Primula
Scotia, and a variety of butterflies, can be seen within some of the clearings
of the forest. There is a network of paths through the trees, which provide
ideal short and sheltered walks. This is a good place to go in wet or
windy weather. The ground can be wet in places, but continuing work is
being done to bridge these areas with boardwalks. Dogs are welcome in
the forest as long as they are kept under control. If you are interested
in wildlife and would like to know more, contact the Ranger Service at
Dunnet Bay. The Ranger organises guided walks through the forest and will
point out plants and animals of interest.
The Dunnet Bay Area Committee (Dunnet Bay Initiative) can be contacted
Chairman W Menzies
Westside, Dunnet. Caithness