On Wednesday morning, I had a couple of hours to kill before catching the ferry across to Cape Wrath. I therefore drove 2km east of Durness for a visit to Smoo Cave.

If in the area, a visit to Smoo Cave is a must. The outer chamber of the cave, which is approximately 40m wide and 15m high, was formed by the action of the sea. The inner chambers were formed by the action of freshwater. The cave is 83m long. Smoo Cave is essentially two caves joined together over time. The Allt Smoo (Smoo burn), which flows through the cave, has a 20m waterfall within the cave. Archaeological investigations have turned up Neolithic, Norse and Iron Age artifacts, and it is thought that usage may extend back to the Mesolithic age.

An excellent quality path leads down from the Smoo Cave car park to Geodha Smoo and Smoo Cave.

Geodha Smoo tidal gorge:

Looking out of the outer cave:

Inner cave waterfall:

After my visit to Smoo Cave, I drove back around the coast to the Kyle of Durness to catch the ferry across to Cape Wrath.

When in the area, a visit to Cape Wrath is also a must. A ferry runs from May to September seven days a week (cost £7 return). On reaching Cape Wrath, minibuses transport the majority of visitors from the Kyle of Durness to the Cape Wrath lighthouse (cost £12 return).

Prior to visiting Cape Wrath it is essential to check if the military will be bombing in the area. If walking the infrequently visited hills in the area, it is also essential to keep a keen look out for unexploded ordnance. Be Careful!

Looking across the Kyle of Durness towards Cape Wrath:

Hill: Sgribhis-bheinn
Date: Wednesday 31st May 2017
Company: Just myself
Distance: 25.7km, Ascent: 830m
Time: 5Hrs 50Mins

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

Of the fifteen passengers waiting to cross at 9am, all other passengers were being transported by minibus. I was glad I was walking as it provided the opportunity to stop whenever I wanted to to take photographs. The blue sky weather and low tide made for great views along the Kyle of Durness. The strong breeze was also ideal, no midge!

Kyle of Durness from Cape Wrath:

Kyle of Durness from Cape Wrath:

Kyle of Durness from Cape Wrath:

Kyle of Durness from Cape Wrath:

After walking a couple of kilometres along the Cape Wrath road, I passed the first evidence of military presence - a gate with various warning signs advising not to touch anything suspicious and advising on the illegality and dangers of taking any ordnance.

Military range - various warnings:

There are several ups and downs as you progress along the road the first of which drops back to sea-level at Daill.

Bridge over the Daill River:

As I progressed further along the road, it was great to see Fashven again. I believe I was the first to upload an internet trip report for an ascent of Fashven. These are seldom-visited hills. Following this walk, I was only the seventh person to register an ascent of Sgribhis-bheinn on the very popular Walk Highlands website.

Fashven beyond Lochan nam Breac Buidhe:

Sgribhis-bheinn is one of eight Marilyns located within the Cape Wrath area. I had ascended the other seven on previous trips.


On reaching the road high-point, I was pleasantly surprised to find an ATV track heading up the hill. I followed this track to just below the summit.

Following ATV track up Sgribhis-bheinn:

Fashven and Maovally from Sgribhis-bheinn:

The hills in this area may not be high but what they lack in height is more than made up for with views.

View along the north coast:

On reaching the summit I stopped to take some photographs and then pressed-on as I also wanted to visit Kervaig Bothy and make it back out for the final boat at 4pm.

Cape Wrath and Kervaig from the summit of Sgribhis-bheinn:

I took a different line in descent, passing a nice Torridonian Sandstone crag. The geology in this area is fantastic. Durness Limestone at Smoo Cave, Lewisian Gneiss and now Torridonian Sandstone.

Sandstone crag passed in descent:

During the descent I passed a line of signs warning of ordnance. There is no mistaking that this area is a bombing range as there are a multitude of water-filled bomb craters to avoid. I have not come across unexploded ordnance in Cape Wrath but friends have, so another warning to be careful if walking these hills.

Looking back to Sgribhis-bheinn from one of numerous danger signs:

Bomb crater:

Bomb crater:

As I crossed an area of bog cotton, I stopped to photograph some Sundew, an insectivorous plant.


Once back on the track, I made my way down to Kervaig Bothy. I was very conscious of time and knew I would have twenty minutes at the most at the bothy before having to return to catch the final ferry.

Despite the visit being fleeting, it was absolutely worth it. Kervaig bothy is possibly the most ideallic, scenically-situated, of all the Scottish bothies. The only other two bothies I have visited which come close are Camusunary and Dibidil.

Kervaig bothy:

Kervaig bothy:

Inside Kervaig Bothy:

View from Kervaig towards Cape Wrath:

From the bothy, I made my way back along the road to catch the ferry.

Heading back:

Cape Wrath ferry:

Despite having now ascended all eight Marilyns in the Cape Wrath area, I will definitely be back. The Cape Wrath area is an SSSI, a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It has one of the nicest beaches in Scotland, Sandwood Bay. It has several nice bothies. There is the lighthouse, which I have yet to visit, and there is lots of fantastic wildlife. Oh yes, and several great wee hills.