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.