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Cape Wrath Lighthouse


Location Guide

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The name of the headland where this lighthouse stands, Cape Wrath, comes not from the stormy waters of the area but from the Norse word for a "turning point", for here the Norsemen turned their ships to head home. This lighthouse marks the north western tip of the Scottish mainland, 11 miles from Durness village. To get to the cape you have to first take a ferry from Keoldale across the Kyle of Durness which takes around 15 minutes, and then there is an optional minibus which takes you to the Lighthouse, this takes about 30 minutes each way, and is around 2.5 hours in total.

It dates from 1828, was built by Robert Stevenson, and stands over 121 metres above mean sea level and is situated on cliffs facing the Atlantic Ocean. The buildings, surrounded by a high wall, are extensive and include the lighthouse tower built of hand dressed stone and the rest of the building is constructed of large blocks of granite quarried from Clash Carnoch. A keepers house and a  one storey signal station, from around the 1930s, is adjacent to the light station.  It was manned until 1998. The duties of the lightkeeper not only involved looking after the light, but they also had to do most of the maintenance work on the station as well.

In January 1977 the helicopter carried out the what was called the 'Cape Wrath Relief' - a history making moment as this was the first helicopter relief carried out at a shore-based Scottish lighthouse.

The keeper's house is now occupied by resident caretakers, who opened a café for visitors in 2009.

Much of the surrounding area is set aside for military training, and public access is tightly controlled. However, guided tours are available from Durness via minibus over a rough road for 11 miles.

Lighthouse information Grid


Cape Wrath Lighthouse, Sutherland

Current status:


Geographic Position:

58° 37.538'N   004° 59.952'W

Grid Reference:


Ceremonial County:



Granite tower with 81 steps to the top, attached to a 1-storey keeper's house. Lighthouse painted white, lantern black.

Map Link:


Aerial photo:


Other photos:

photo      closeup photo    Geograph

Originally built:


Current lighthouse built:


Height of Tower:

20 metres

Height of light above mean sea level:

122 metres

Character of light:

Flashing (4) White every 30 Secs

Character of fog signal:

3 blasts every 45 s

Range of light:

22 nautical miles

Owned / run by:

Northern Lighthouse Board

Getting there:

Ferry from Keoldale which takes about 15 minutes


Tours available daily May through September.



Other Useful Websites:

Wikipedia   Cape Wrath

Other Relevant pages:

For more articles, lists and other information see the Lighthouses Section

Lighthouse Map of Scotland

Featured List of lighthouses - Scotland 

List of minor lighthouses and lights - Scotland  



Please let us know any other information that we can add to the Grid or page and any errors that you discover. Before making a long trip to any location it is always wise to double check the current information, websites like magazines may be correct at the time the information is written, but things change and it is of course impossible to double check all entries on a regular basis. If you have any good photographs that you feel would improve the illustration of this page then please let us have copies. In referring to this page it is helpful if you quote both the Page Ref and Topic or Section references from the Grid below. To print the planning grid select it then right click and print the selected area.

Please submit information on locations you discover so that this system continues to grow.


By: Tracey Park  Section:  Lighthouses Section Key:
Page Ref: Cape_Wrath Topic: Lighthouses Last Updated: 06/2010


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