Our August bank holiday trip this year was to Durness, a northern outpost of UK sitting at the far north western corner of Scotland. Cape Wrath is the actual most north-western point in the UK, and this is accessed by a small passenger boat and a rough road across a military training area. Our home for the three nights was Durness Youth Hostel, a rather run down building in an old army barracks, but quite spacious and kept immaculately clean by the warden (hostel manager?), Mary-Ann.
The objectives for the weekend were the two most northerly Munros (Scottish hills over 3000 feet) of Ben Hope and Ben Klibreck, which are quite ‘close’ by (in Scottish terms, i.e. about an hour’s drive away), Ben Hope being the better of the two hills, standing prominently above Loch Hope. All eight of us made the two hour walk to the summit, and were rewarded with views out to the Orkney Islands and the stunning north coast of Scotland.
The next day was a bit showery but we had a good eight mile coastal walk out to Faraid Head, a headland just to the west of Durness. Balnakiel beach runs for about two kilometres on the west side of the headland and is a really stunning with white sand characteristic of this part of Scotland. We took coffee and hot chocolate in Coco Mountain – a shop famous for its hot chocolate recently featured on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den.
On the Bank holiday Monday, two of us made the trip around to climb Ben Klibreck in less than ideal weather, while others took the ferry over to see Cape Wrath.