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Kyle Of Durness To Cape Wrath Lighthouse

Road (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Kyle Of Durness To Cape Wrath Lighthouse

Classification Road (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) 'Lighthouse Road'

Canmore ID 296088

Site Number NC36NE 101

NGR NC 36000 67054

NGR Description NC 35000 68278 to NC 37096 66035

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Durness
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Sutherland
  • Former County Sutherland

Archaeology Notes

NC36NE 101 35000 68278 to 37096 66035

See also NC27SE 41, NC36NW 18 and NC37SW 26.

This single-track road was constructed from 1828 to link a slipway on the Kyle of Durness (NC 3708 6603) with the lighthouse (NC27SE 3.00) at Cape Wrath. It went some way towards ensuring that personnel and goods could be transported to the latter when the slipways at Clais Charnach (NC27SE 4) and at the north end of the Kyle of Durness (NC36NE 103) could not be used, and is still in use as a public road.

The road starts at the slipway and immediately ascends steep ground, passing milestone 11 (NC36NE 106), before reaching the crest of the slope that overlooks the Kyle of Durness from the west. It continues north-west along this crest for a distance of about 2.4km, crossing two single-arch bridges (NC 3588 6730 & NC 3604 6670) and passing milestone 10 (NC36NE 105) before reaching the valley of the Daill River. From here it descends towards the river, crossing a timber-decked steel-frame bridge, which was installed by the Ministry of Defence in 1981 (Hird 2008, 72-4) and replaced a ford. Once on the N side of the river, the road turns west and ascends the north side of the valley, passing milestone 9 (NC36NE 104), before reaching the western edge of the map sheet.

The method by which the road to the lighthouse has been constructed has been determined to a large extent by the topography, but more than anything else by the extensive cover of peat across the Cape. However, unlike the stretches of the road farther to the west (see NC 27SE 41, NC37SW 26 & NC36NW 18), which traverse tracts of very wet ground, the road here crosses land that is better drained. Relatively shallow deposits of peat have been removed and the carriageway has not required the extensive provision of culverts and side-drains seen elsewhere. At several locations along the road there are sizeable quarries: some must have been opened up when the road was constructed; most probably continued to supply material for road repairs; some may have been opened especially for that purpose after the road was constructed.

Visited by RCAHMS (JRS) 11 August 2008.


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