Duncansby Head

Duncansby Head (Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Dhunngain[3] or Dùn Gasbaith[4]) is the most northeasterly part of the British mainland, including even the famous John o' Groats. It is located in Caithness, Highland, in north-eastern Scotland.[5] The headland juts into the North Sea, with the Pentland Firth to its north and west and the Moray Firth to its south.

Duncansby Head Lighthouse
Duncansby Head Lighthouse
LocationDuncansby Head
United Kingdom
Coordinates58.644039°N 3.025120°W / 58.644039; -3.025120
Year first constructed1924
Constructionconcrete tower
Tower shapesquare tower with balcony and lantern
Markings / patternwhite tower, black lantern, ochre balcony
Tower height11 metres (36 ft)
Focal height67 metres (220 ft)
Light sourcemains power
Intensity596,000 candela
Range22 nautical miles (41 km; 25 mi)
CharacteristicFl W 12s.
Admiralty numberA3558
NGA number3016
ARLHS numberSCO-062
Managing agentNorthern Lighthouse Board[1][2]
HeritageSite of Special Scientific Interest 


The point is marked by Duncansby Head Lighthouse, built by David Alan Stevenson in 1924.[6]

A minor public road leads from John o' Groats to Duncansby Head,[7] which makes Duncansby Head the farthest point by road from Land's End.

The Duncansby Head Site of Special Scientific Interest includes the 6.5 km stretch of coast south to Skirza Head. It includes the Duncansby Stacks, prominent sea stacks just off the coast.[8]

Atomic Weapon Test

In 2016, it was reported in The Sunday Post newspaper that scientists from the Atomic Weapons Establishment in Aldemarston had proposed a nuclear weapon test on the Stacks of Duncansby in 1953, but that the prevailing wet weather was too much for contemporary electronics and the idea was shelved.[9]

See also


  1. Duncansby Head The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 10 May 2016
  2. Duncansby Head Northern Lighthouse Board. Retrieved 10 May 2016
  3. Gaelic and Norse in the Landscape: Placenames in Caithness and Sutherland Archived 2011-09-21 at the Wayback Machine. Scottish National Heritage.
  4. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Gaelic/placenamesC-E.pdf
  5. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1862). Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. 3. Neill and Company. p. 499.
  6. "Duncansby Head Lighthouse". The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. Archived from the original on 2014-07-27. Retrieved 2014-07-23.
  7. "Scothighlands - How to drive to Duncansby Head from John O'Groats". www.scothighlands.com. Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  8. SSSI citation
  9. "Experts nearly dropped an atomic bomb on a Scottish landmark in the 1950s - Sunday Post". Sunday Post. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2018-11-08.

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