3 Most Scenic Cliff Views in Scotland
John O’Groat’s is famous as the most northeasterly point in mainland UK, and many people drive, walk or cycle between here and Land’s End (the most southwesterly point in mainland UK) as a challenge.
But if you venture just a little further east of the village, you’ll find Duncansby Head and Duncansby Stacks. The former is a lonely, humble lighthouse, while the latter is part of a cliff-packed peninsula with pointy stacks, and crashing waves.
These two crumbling, jagged stacks rise around 50 meters from the sea, separated from the on-land cliff face beside them.
If you want to explore the area properly, a popular, easy coastal hike includes the town, the stacks, and the lighthouse. It’s 8km, takes 2.5 hours, and is one of the best well-known coastal walks in Scotland.
No matter why they’re visiting Dunnet Head, you’ll always find people clambering around on these gigantic cliff edges, desperate to seek out the best view they can.
Again, Dunnet Head is the lighthouse’s name, but the limestone cliffs around it are excellent, packed with birds, 100-meter sheer drops, and lovely places for a stroll. If you get a clear day, you can see the Orkney Islands ahead of you, a rugged archipelago off the northeast coast of Scotland. But more on those later, as they’re one of the best cliff-hunting destinations in Scotland.
If you fancy a lengthy walk, you can complete a near-perimeter loop from Dunnet village to Dunnet Head, taking in the cliffs, the lighthouse, and almost all of the lumpy headland. Unfortunately, the entire loop is a hefty 17km.
Accessing these faraway cliffs is a surreal, adventurous, and challenging experience.
The Clo Mor cliffs are some of the biggest in the UK, looming large at Scotland’s most northwesterly point. But because they’re many kilometers from any major road, there’s only one way to access them.
That arduous journey begins on a small rudimentary boat, which you catch from close to Durness. This small boat takes you over the Tongue of Durness, a watery inlet that (sort of) separates this remote lump of land from the mainland.
When you’ve crossed the water, you’ll be greeted by a minibus taking you to the appropriately-named Cape Wrath. Here, you’ll find a lighthouse (this is becoming a pattern) along with the ridiculously-remote Clo Mor cliffs. This 18-km journey will take around 90 minutes since the roads are so bad and the landscape is so rugged.
The Clo Mor cliffs rise almost 300 meters from the sea, making them some of Scotland’s loftiest and most impressive.
Cliffs aside, Cape Wrath is worth a visit anyway. It’s home to the endless wilderness, one of the most remote areas in a very remote country, and it’s the finishing point for the Cape Wrath Trail, maybe the most challenging long-distance walk in the UK.