Cape Wrath and Northwest Highlands


The mighty Suilven, Assynt, Northwest Highlands  (  Humphrey Butler/Marvellous Maps)

The mighty Suilven, Assynt, Northwest Highlands (Humphrey Butler/Marvellous Maps)

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Why Go To Cape Wrath and The Northwest Highlands?

The Northwest Highlands are effing stupendous. They are, to put it simply, home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, let alone Britain. Just some of many things you can do there that you can't do anywhere else...

  • Get to mainland Britain's most north-westerly point (Cape Wrath) via an epic journey
  • Experience some of Britain's wildest, most remote and most beautiful landscapes in Coigach, Assynt and Northwest Sutherland
  • Hike up, or simply stand and admire, Britain's shapeliest mountain, mighty Suilven
  • Spit your tea out in disbelief at a stunning coastline that includes Sandwood Bay, Handa Island and the Summer Isles

Want to find out more? Read on for great photos, articles, videos, top tips and other content to fire up your adventure appetite. Got a question? Ask away.

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Remote, wild and accessible only via boat across the Kyle of Durness and / or a long off-road bike / hike, Cape Wrath is a destination you have to work at to reach. It's worth it when you do - the cafe will open whenever you arrive. The name has nothing to do with anger - it's old Norse for "turning point". To the east and south are two AONBs, North-West Sutherland and the Kyle of Tongue - all told, a beautiful and remote area possessing some cracking beaches, like the famous Sandwood Bay with its long hike in, and others like Kearvaig, Pocan Smoo, Oldshoremore and Bagh Sheigra. John O'Groats it ain't. Down the coast from this north-western extremity is another AONB, Assynt-Coigach, but let's be honest: no acronym can do justice to it. Everywhere you look there are sublime views - the small, scattered, sandy Summer Isles, more stunning things beginning with 's' such as the peaks of Stac Pollaidh and Suilven, and a glacier-scoured landscape that never fails to impress.

Sandwood Bay  (John A Cameron/Shutterstock)

Sandwood Bay (John A Cameron/Shutterstock)

The two essential journeys in the Northwest Highlands are the Cape Wrath Trail (205 miles walking / mountain biking from Fort William to Cape Wrath) and the North Coast 500 (a 500-mile driving / road cycling circuit from Inverness northwards). Both are epic, not just for the distances but the scenery too. You're probably getting the idea.

Getting To Cape Wrath and the Northwest Highlands, Maps & Guides

Getting there: Suitably remote. Get to Durness (2.5 hrs from Inverness by car), get the Cape Wrath ferry across the Kyle of Durness, then the minibus for the 11-mile off-road stretch to the Cape. 1 hr total. Or hike / ride it - spectacular by all accounts.

Travel times from where you are: See Cape Wrath and the Northwest Highlands on Google maps.

Maps: Find the right Ordnance Survey maps and / or get a month's free subscription to their excellent OS Maps app.

Guidebooks: Lonely Planet's Highlands and Islands, Rough Guides' equivalent or Footprint's.

Walking route guidance: WalkingHighlands.

Tourist board: When you've scenery like this, who needs a tourist board? Still, you could check out Discover Assynt, and VisitScotland's Cape Wrath page.

More Cape Wrath and Northwest Highlands Adventure Inspiration

The Summer Isles from Altandhu, Northwest Highlands  (  Jan Holm/Shutterstock)

The Summer Isles from Altandhu, Northwest Highlands (Jan Holm/Shutterstock)

Sea kayaking around the Summer Isles, Northwest Highlands  (Humphrey Butler/Marvellous Maps)

Sea kayaking around the Summer Isles, Northwest Highlands (Humphrey Butler/Marvellous Maps)

Beulah is a short film about a moutain bike trip to Cape Wrath (it's a subscription site but the first month is free). This trailer for the film 'Edie', starring Sheila Hancock and Suilven, suggests the full feature could be a beacon of hope for us all.

The Mountain podcast has some great episodes - in this one they're caving in Assynt.

The view from the peak of Stac Pollaidh...


A post shared by Benoît Gx (@benoitgx) on


And finally... because walking up it is just too easy.

What Next?

Click here to see 49 other Great British adventure locations and tell us about your adventures, plans and suggestions for these pages.

Britain's Best Outdoorsy Bits... Mapped!

Liking what you see, but fancy keeping it old school with an actual paper map? Our Joyously Busy Great British Adventure Map features all of Britain's best outdoorsy bits (including the Top 50), plus some enjoyably random and vaguely useful stuff too. Available either as a 2-sided fold-out map or a framed wall map (office furniture and fake plants not included).