logo Walking Britain
Home About Holidays FAQ Email MENU ☰

Stacks of Duncansby from Duncansby Head

Highland Walk

County/Area - Highland - Northern Highland

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 3.0 miles / 4.9 km    Ascent - 200 feet / 61 metres

Time - 1 hours 40 minutes    Grade - easy

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

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Stacks of Duncansby
Click image to see photo description.

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!

Other walks nearby

Walk 3649 Old Man of Hoy from Rackwickeasy/mod5.4 miles
Walk 3650 Rackwick, Old Man of Hoy & Cuilagsmod/hard9.6 miles
Walk 3648 Old Man of Hoy & Glens of Broadiface moderate10.0 miles
Walk 3652 The Gloup, Deerness Brough & Mull Headeasy4.0 miles
Walk 3287 Morven, Smean & Maiden Paphard10.2 miles
Walk 3742 Westness Heritage Traileasy3.0 miles
Walk 1991 Vat of Kirkbuster & Bay of Housebyeasy/mod7.6 miles
Walk 3651 Noup Head from Backarass Farm, Westrayeasy4.5 miles
Walk 3101 Ben Bhraggie traverseeasy/mod4.7 miles
Walk 1791 Tarbat Ness from Porthmahomackmoderate9.0 miles

Recommended Books & eBooks

Skye's Cuillin Ridge Traverse

Skye's Cuillin Ridge TraverseThis 2-volume set provides all the information required to complete the main ridge traverse on Skye's Black Cuillin. Strategy, gear, training, navigation and logistics are covered, and 10 classic scrambles are described. A lightweight second guidebook gives the scrambler detailed maps, topos and route description for the ridge traverse itself.
More information

Walking the Munros Vol 2 - Northern Highlands and the Cairngorms

Walking the Munros Vol 2 - Northern Highlands and the CairngormsGuidebook to walking the northern Munros, covering the northern Highlands, the Cairngorms and the Isle of Skye. 70 routes are described, including those up Ben Macdui, Braeriach and Cairn Gorm. Routes range from 7 to 46km, requiring a fair level of fitness. The second of two guidebooks to walking Scotland's Munros: peaks higher than 3000ft.
More information

Messaging & Social Media

Message Walking Britain and follow the latest news.

Facebook  Twitter

Mountain Weather

Stay safe on the mountains with detailed weather forecasts - for iOS devices or for Android devices.