Dunnet Head

Coordinates: 58°40′21″N 03°22′31″W / 58.67250°N 3.37528°W / 58.67250; -3.37528
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Sketch map of Dunnet Head, showing position of Easter Head
"Most northerly point of mainland Britain."

Dunnet Head (Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Dùnaid) is a peninsula in Caithness, on the north coast of Scotland.[1][2] Dunnet Head includes the most northerly point of both mainland Scotland and the island of Great Britain.


The point, also known as Easter Head, is at grid reference ND202767, about 18 km (11 mi) west-northwest of John o' Groats and about 20 km (12 mi) from Duncansby Head. Dunnet Head can be seen also as the western limit of the Pentland Firth on the firth's southern, or Caithness, side (Duncansby Head is the eastern limit). Although Easter Head is the most northerly point on the Scottish mainland, the northernmost point of Scotland lies in the Shetland islands, approximately 170 miles (270 km) further north.

Dunnet Head view, Scotland. Rocks are the Old Red Sandstone.

The headland's boundary with the rest of the Scottish mainland can be defined as a north–south line running from Little Clett (ND220740) to the mouth of Dunnet Burn (ND217709) in Dunnet Bay. This line is followed along most of its route by a single track road, the B855, which links Brough with the village of Dunnet, making this the most northerly road on mainland Britain. From this line, the headland projects westward and northward into the Atlantic Ocean and the Pentland Firth and shelters the more southerly waters of Dunnet Bay.

The peninsula is north-east of the burgh of Thurso, and on a clear day, it affords views of the islands of Stroma to the east, and Hoy and the Orkney Mainland, 15 km (9 miles) away to the north, across the Pentland Firth.

Military use[edit]

Near the Dunnet Head lighthouse are minor fortifications built during World War II to protect the naval base at Scapa Flow, including a Chain Home Low radar station and a bunker used by the Royal Observer Corps during the Cold War. Burifa Hill on Dunnet Head was the site of the master station and a monitoring station of the northern GEE chain of radio navigation stations during World War II. There was also an artillery range on Dunnet Head during World War II.


Dunnet Head lochs are restocked every two years with brown trout fry; fishing by permit is between 1 April and early October.

Bird watching[edit]

Dunnet Head has a viewing platform where visitors can watch birds in the neighbouring cliffs. Depending on the season, birds may include fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes, puffins, great skuas, arctic skuas, razorbills, and - at sea - gannets and herring gulls.[3]


Dunnet Head was the central meridian of the 6-inch (150-millimetre) and 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps of Caithness.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ordnance Survey: Landranger map sheet 12 Thurso & Wick (John O’Groats) (Map). Ordnance Survey. 2014. ISBN 9780319226124.
  2. ^ "Ordnance Survey: 1:50,000 Scale Gazetteer" (csv (download)). www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk. Ordnance Survey. 1 January 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Dunnet Head Nature Reserve, Caithness, Highland, Scotland". The RSPB. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ Geodesy, charlesclosesociety.org. Accessed 16 October 2022.

External links[edit]

58°40′21″N 03°22′31″W / 58.67250°N 3.37528°W / 58.67250; -3.37528