Duncansby Head

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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Duncansbay Head, a promontory in Canisbay parish, Caithness, forming the north-eastern extremity of the Scottish mainland, 1¾ mile E of John o' Groat's House, and 18½ miles N by E of Wick. Rising almost sheer from the sea to a height of 210 feet, it is clothed to the very brink of the precipice with a mixture of greensward and stunted heath, and bears remains of an ancient watch-tower on its highest point, which commands a magnificent view of the Pentland Firth and the Orkneys, and over the Moray Firth, away to the seaboard and hills of Elgin, Banff, and Aberdeen shires. In its northern front, near the top of the precipice, is a vast cavern, called the Glupe; and elsewhere its seafowl-haunted cliffs are gashed with deep wide fissures, one of them spanned-by a natural bridge. The Stacks of Duncansbay, two rocky islets ¾ mile SSW of the promontory, are stupendous pyramidal masses of naked sandstone, that lift their fantastic summits far into the air, and look like huge pinnacles of some old Gothic pile.—Ord. Sur., sh. 116, 1878.

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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