National Grid 0o0´/0o0´ N/A c.40ha m

RSPB reserve 
summer for breeding seabirds but winter can be good for sea ducks and geese ()

Birding Site Guide

From the A836 Thurso road head east and take the turning at Dunnet, north to this most northerly point on the British mainland continue up past the lochs to the lighthouse. The lochs are worth checking for divers and Common Scoter. At the lighthouse there is parking for about 20 cars but no other facilities at this new reserve. There are several good paths and it is possible to walk along the cliff and look back to view the seabirds.

Species found on the cliffs here include breeding Razorbills, Guillemots, Fulmars, Kittiwakes and Puffins, but also check on the sea. There may be other species such as Greylag Goose (real wild ones), Red-throated and Black-throated Diver, Dunlin, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Common Scoter and Arctic and Great Skuas. There is also the chance of migrant species in spring and autumn, including seabird passage. Twite can be found in good numbers along the cliffs from August on, we saw a flock of 45, the walled garden area near the car park being especially favoured. Large flocks of Starlings and Curlew can be found in autumn in the fields round-about. 

Species seen

  • Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata
  • Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
  • Northern Gannet Morus bassanus
  • European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis
  • Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
  • Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
  • Mew Gull Larus canus
  • European Herring Gull Larus argentatus
  • Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
  • Great Skua Stercorarius skua
  • Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
  • Rock Pigeon Columba livia
  • Common Wood-Pigeon Columba palumbus
  • Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
  • Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
  • House Martin Delichon urbicum
  • Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
  • Pied/White Wagtail Motacilla alba
  • Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
  • Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
  • Rook Corvus frugilegus
  • Hooded Crow Corvus cornix
  • European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
  • Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
  • Twite Carduelis flavirostris

Other Vertebrates Fox Vulpes vulpes , Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus and Common Frog Rana temporaria.


White-tailed Bumblebee (complex 3 species) Bombus magnus Common Carder Bumblebee B. pascuorum Moss Carder Bumblebee B. muscorum Garden Bumblebee B. hortorum Broken-belted Bumblebee B. soroeensis Heath Bumblebee B. jonellus Early Bumblebee B. pratorum Solitary BeeB. Colletes succinctus Hoverfly mimic Volucella bombylans.



  • Creeping Willow Salix repens
  • Dwarf Willow Salix herbacea
  • Alder Alnus glutinosa
  • Autumn Gentian Gentianella amarella
  • Goldenrod Solidago virgaurea
  • Bearberry Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Green-ribbed Sedge Carex binervis
  • Bell Heather Erica cinerea
  • Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix
  • Heather Calluna vulgaris
  • Roseroot Sedum rosea
  • Ragged-Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi
  • Wild Angelica Angelica sylvestris
  • Selfheal Prunella vulgaris
  • Yellow Loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris
  • Sneezewort Achllea ptarmica
  • Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
  • Wild Garden Thyme Thymus polytrichus
  • Crowberry Empetrum nigrum
  • Thrift Armeria maritima
  • Sea Plantain Plantago maritima
  • Scots Lovage Ligusticum scoticum
  • Common Cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium
  • Common Bird's-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus
  • Lousewort Pedicularis sylvatica
  • Devil's-bit Scabious Succisa pratensis
  • Spring Squill Scilla verna
  • Common Butterwort Pinguicula vulgaris
  • Eyebright Euphrasia officinalis
  • Marsh Woundwort Stachys palustris
  • Yellow Iris Iris pseudacorus


Author: BSG