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Highland Walk
Stacks of Duncansby from Duncansby Head near John O'Groats

County/Area - Highland

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 3.0 miles / 4.9 km

Ascent - 200 feet / 61 metres

Time - 1 hours 40 minutes

Grade - easy

Start - OS grid reference ND404733
Lat 58.643458 // Long -3.028498
Postcode KW1 4YS (approx. location only)
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Stacks of Duncansby from Duncansby Head near John O'Groats
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This Highland walk visits the most north-easterly point of mainland Britain at Duncansby Head a few miles east of John O'Groats. The cliffs in this area are formed from red sandstone which has dulled through wind, weather and its proximity to the sea. During the walk you can see (in season) a wide variety of sea birds including Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Puffins, Guillemots and Great Skuas amongst others.

The start is the small car park at Duncansby Head (grid ref. ND404733) located close to the lighthouse. No maps are needed unless you want to know the names of the various features seen during the walk. All that is required is a good pair of boots as the going can be rough underfoot and suitable weatherproof clothing as the weather can change in minutes! All that is required is to follow the coast south (with the sea to your left) and follow the path as far as you wish. The return route retraces your outward steps.

After leaving the lighthouse the first major feature you encounter is a deep cleft in the cliffs - Geo of Sclaites - which can be full of wheeling seabirds at the right time of the year. The noise can be deafening from the large numbers of birds. Continuing south you will reach the viewpoint over the Stacks of Duncansby which stand as high as the cliffs they were once part of. Most people turn back here but it is worth heading further south if you have time. It is a place where you can enjoy the solitude and the noise of nature!

Please maintain social distancing - keep at least 2 metres away from other walkers.

Maps Ordnance Survey Logo Anquet Maps Logo

Ordnance Survey Explorer 461Sheet Map1:25kBUY
Anquet OS Explorer 461Digital Map1:25kBUY
Ordnance Survey Landranger 12Sheet Map1:50kBUY
Anquet OS Landranger 12Digital Map1:50kBUY

It is recommended you take a map. The preferred scale is 1:25k.

GPS files - right click or option-click the button and choose "Save As..." to download this file.

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