- Hiking, Natural Wonders Type
- 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
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England has the White Cliffs of Dover, Ireland has the Cliffs of Moher and the Scottish Highlands has Duncansby Head. Located on the northernmost tip of Scotland's east coast, Duncansby Head features jagged cliffs – draped in rich, evergreen vegetation – that stretch as far as the eye can see. While you'll likely find this kind of geography in other parts of the coastal Highlands, what makes Duncansby Head stands out are its stacks. The Duncansby Stacks are a series of striking rock formations that stand less than a mile off the coast of Duncansby Head. With their rocky silhouettes so closely resembling that of the mainland's edge, it almost looks as if they are puzzle pieces that could easily fit right back into the slits of the cliffs.
The trail to get to the Duncansby Stacks is a little more than 5 miles in length and incredibly scenic, according to recent visitors. The trail lines the edge of the coast, starting at John O'Groats, a small village nearest Duncansby Head. Before you get to the cliffs, you'll pass by a few low-level beaches. Once you get to the lighthouse, you'll reach Duncansby Head and be less than a mile from the stacks. Visitors note that they had to traverse through grassy meadows along this part of the trail and, considering the damp nature of the area, strongly suggested sturdy boots. Visitors also reported very windy conditions, so bring a sturdy jacket with you as well. When you reach the stacks, don't forget to look down. Travelers say that they were able to spot seals and puffins around the cliffs and on the beaches.
The best way to get to Duncansby Head is by car. If you didn't rent a car for your Scottish Highlands journey, you can get to John O' Groats by Stagecoach bus. For more information on Duncansby Head, visit the John O'Groats tourism board website.