John O'Groats may be most people's idea of the end of the road for those heading northwards through Scotland, but in fact Dunnet Head is the most northerly point on Britain's mainland, with the nearest point of the Orkneys less than 7 miles away. The lighthouse at Dunnet Head was visited by the Queen Mother on one of her many visits to the area, and she was given a guided tour and had tea with the lighthouse keeper. The lighthouse was automated in 1989, and as a sign of the times is now remotely monitored from Edinburgh. The RSPB reserve here is home to a variety of seabirds, including puffins and razorbills. Spring is a particularly fascinating time to visit, as the birds set about their courtship rituals and their nestbuilding. Out at sea, killer whales are often sighted. There are also wartime relics here in the form of disused lookouts which were used during World War II to defend Scapa Flow. The village of Dunnet stands between St John's Loch to the north, and Dunnet Bay with its long sandy beach to the south. Half a mile from the village is the Seadrift Visitor Centre with displays explaining the nature of the area. Recently there was much consternation on the part of local people at the news that there was a proposal to build a wind turbine on Dunnet Head. One despairs at the thought of yet another beautiful place being desecrated by these wretched things.
Map of the area.