Durness is a coastal Village 105 miles
northwest of Inverness, one of the
most remote areas in Scotland.
Durness is popular for its Beaches,
Golf, Touring Park, Smoo Cave, Balnakeil
Craft Village, and trips to Cape Wrath,
furthest northwest point in Scotland.
View a Click on Map for the Area
Attractions and Mountains.
The image top is of the War Memorial in the
centre of Durness.
The second image is of Durness main street
with a Spar Shop and small Gas Station. Places
to fill up your car or camper van are few and
far between up this way and most of the roads
are single lane with many passing places.
Sango Sands Touring and Camping Park is
situated on the east side of the Village with
great views over Sango Sands Beach.
B&B is in the centre of the village by
the shop and memorial.
The Lazy Crofter
Bunkhouse is also in the Village
Balnakeil is situated about 1 mile west of
Durness with the Durness Golf Club, vast White
Sand Beach stretching out to Faraid Head, and
Old Church built in the 1600. This is a popular
walking area with trails well marked. Faraid Head
Also at Balnakeil is the Balnakeil Craft
Village with a number of local artists &
businesses such as a chocolatier, art
galleries, paintings & prints, ceramics,
woodwork, glass work, and more.
Cave is situated under 2 miles east of
Durness, a popular spot to explore with it
being one of the largest Sea Caves in the UK.
There are also scenic walks in that area.
Stone Age - there are two turf dykes of
Neolithic origin to the south of the Village.
There is also what looks like a Broch on Faraid
Head, although this is now mostly covered in
700s - a Celtic Monastery was built at
875 - the Norse / Vikings began taking
control of the North and Western Islands of
Scotland. They also tried to gain control of
some areas in north Scotland, and carried out
many brutal attacks throughout Scotland.
1200s - the Vikings were forced out of
mainland Scotland, and later out of the Islands
1300s - the Mackay's became the dominant
Clan in the Durness area owning vast amounts of
1500s - the earliest parts of Balnakeil
House were built for the Mackay's.
1600s - the earliest parts of Balnakeil
Church were built.
1623 - Donald McLeod dies and is buried at
Balnakeil Church. McLeod was a henchman of the
Mackay's, said to have committed a number of
murders in the area for the Mackay's.
1800s early - Clan Mackay sold their land
and Balnakeil House to the Countess of
1800s early - the Countess of
Sutherland began clearing Crofters from the
land so she could start large scale sheep
farming. Many of the Crofters from this area
moved to the coast for fishing, others south to
large towns and cities, and others emigrated to
America and Canada.
1814 - a parish church was built at Durness,
leading to Balnakeil Church falling into ruin.
The graves of the Gaelic poet Robb Donn, and
Elizabeth Parkes, aunt of the Beetle John
Lennon, can be found at Balnakeil Church.
1841 - the Durness Riots began after women
in the area refused to be evicted from their
land. The Military were brought in to end the
riots. The Riots are said to have prevented as
many families being removed from the area than
1886 - the Crofting Act
was introduced to make it harder for Landowners
to evict long standing Crofters. As long as
they worked the land and paid rent, Crofters
then had a legal right to remain.
1904 - Balnakeil House was sold to the
1950s - after World War Two - there was a
Radar Station installed at Faraid Head. There
was also Military Barracks built at Balnakeil,
although these were never used by the
1964 - the Barracks at Balnakeil were bought
by the local Council to be rented out for small
1976 - the Crofting Act gave Crofters the
legal right to purchase their land.
1980 - the Council sold the Balnakeil
Barracks to the Sitting Tenants, leading to
them becoming the Balnakeil Craft Village.
1991 - the body of a young Viking boy was
discovered in the sand dunes at Faraid Head.
Erosion had led to the body being exposed.
2000 - the body of a Pictish child was
discovered at Sangobeg beach.
Today - Durness and Balnakeil are extremely
popular with the vast numbers of tourers
traveling around the north coast of
Cape Wrath is
the most north western area of Scotland, best
visited through tours as it is used by the
Ministry of defense for target practice with
large warships often seen or heard firing
shells and missiles at targets on the Cape.
Probably best to visit when this is not taking
place, you do not want to be having a picnic on
the wrong beach at the wrong time.