Cape Wrath

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Cape Wrath, a promontory in Durness parish, Sutherland, at the north-western extremity of the Scottish mainland, 13 miles WNW of Durness church. Pyramidal in form, it rises boldly from the sea to an altitude of 300 feet; it consists of granite gneiss; it is crowned with a lighthouse, built in 1828 at a cost of £13,550, showing a revolving light every minute, alternately red and white, visible at the distance of 27 nautical miles; and it commands a magnificent view of the Sutherland coast and of the seas around, away to the Butt of Lewis and the Hoy Head of Orkney. Rocky islets lie adjacent to it; a fissured and cavernous reef projects from its base; a lofty insulated rock, with outline rudely resembling that of a large ship under full sail, is in its near vicinity; and wall-like cliffs, 250 to 600 feet high, and pierced with caverns, stretch away from it eastward and southward 'This dread cape,' wrote Sir Walter Scott (1814), ' so fatal to mariners, is a high promontory whose steep sides go sheer down to the breakers which lash its feet. There is no landing, except in a small creek about 1½ mile to the eastward. There the foam of the sea plays at "long bowls" with a huge collection of large stones, some of them a ton in weight, but which these fearful billows chuck up and down as a child tosses a ball. '

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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