Day 309: Cape Wrath to Cape Wrath Bombing Range – Bothy & Battlefield

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Scotland, Sutherland

Date of walk: 14/6/19

Cape Wrath Lighthouse I, Sutherland, Scotland.

My feet were white and crinkled from permanently wet boots when I fell asleep and are now hard and calloused in the morning. I treat them with cream in the tent to keep the skin supple and prevent splitting. As I’m putting on my still wet trousers, I hear the sound of voices, foreign accent – German I think. Not expecting any people about, I imagine the first bus must have arrived, and the ferry must be open. To my surprise, there’s a basic cafe in the lighthouse buildings which I didn’t know about. I open the door to find an assortment of bedraggled hikers who’d slept there in a bunkhouse. Tea and cooked breakfast are available. Water vapour steams off me. There’s a bucket in the centre of the room collecting a generously dripping leak in the roof.

Forghorn I, Cape Wrath Lighthouse, Sutherland, Scotland.

Cape Wrath Lighthouse II, Sutherland, Scotland.

Forghorn II, Cape Wrath Lighthouse, Sutherland, Scotland.

Below Cape Wrath Lighthouse, Sutherland, Scotland.

Cape Wrath Lighthouse III, Sutherland, Scotland.

Cape Wrath Lighthouse V, Sutherland, Scotland.

Ross and Tomáš, from Czechia, on their completion of the Cape Wrath Trail, which runs 230 miles from Fort William to Cape Wrath, the northwesternmost point of mainland Britain. Sutherland, Scotland.

Clò Kearvaig and Clò Mór, the highest vertical sea cliffs in mainland Britain in haar, Sutherland, Scotland.

Haar over Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Clò Kearvaig and Clò Mór in haar, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy from Cape Wrath, Sutherland, Scotland.

Checkpoint buildings I. Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig River I, Sutherland, Scotland.

Checkpoint buildings II. Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig River II, Sutherland, Scotland.

Checkpoint buildings III. Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Checkpoint buildings IV. Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Stack Clò Kearvaig, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy I, Sutherland, Scotland.

Clò Kearvaig, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy II, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy III, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy IV, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy V, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy VI, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bothy VII, Sutherland, Scotland.

Kearvaig Bay, Sutherland, Scotland.

Cape Wrath Lighthouse from Kearvaig, Sutherland, Scotland.

Triangle of light over the Atlantic from Cape Wrath, Sutherland, Scotland.

The Atlantic ocean from Cape Wrath, Sutherland.

Rainfall above Cape Wrath I, Sutherland, Scotland.

Rainfall above Cape Wrath II, Sutherland, Scotland.

Rainfall above Cape Wrath III, Sutherland, Scotland.

Cape Wrath Lighthouse from Kearvaig, Sutherland, Scotland.

The moorland wilderness known as the Parph that surrounds Cape Wrath. Cape Wrath is a day or two’s walk from the nearest road in the south & separated from the rest of the mainland by the Kyle of Durness in the east. Most of the area is a military training area and bombing range though public access is allowed when training isn’t taking place. Sutherland, Scotland.

Faraid Head from Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Three armoured personnel carriers within the pockmarked surface of Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Later in the day, I’m picking my way through the craters at Cape Wrath bombing range. The pockmarked landscape is scattered with armoured personal carriers in various states of destruction. I’ve triple-checked the range isn’t firing today, yet it’s still disconcerting to walk across fresh peaty bomb craters with their edges folded back surrounded by scattered gobs of peat. Rusty artillery shells poke out of the violated landscape in some areas; the whole scene is littered with parachutes from illumination flares. It felt like walking into a dystopian WW1 painting: the silence in abrupt contrast to the evidence of destruction.

Spartan Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range with Faraid Head range control tower in the distance, Sutherland, Scotland.

Crater, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Spartan Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Mortar tail fin, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

FV432 Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Spartan Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Shell and peat crater, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

An Garbh-eilean (Garvie Island) overlooked by a Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Rusty Shell, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Saxon Armoured Personnel Carrier and crater, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Perforated target, Cape Wrath Bombing Range, Sutherland, Scotland.

Garvie Island and lochan in Cape Wrath Bombing Range at dusk, Sutherland, Scotland.

 

Camp at the edge of Cape Wrath Bombing Range (Yes, I had triple-checked the firing schedule!), Sutherland, Scotland.

Unexpected breakfast at Ozone Cafe with people who had slept the night in the bunkhouse.

At Cape Wrath Lighthouse. Mainland Britain’s northwesternmost point.

Quicksand, Kearvaig Bothy.

Kearvaig Bothy glitter ball.

Waking up at Cape Wrath – it’s still raining!
Stac an Dunain and Cape Wrath Lighthouse.
Cape Wrath Lighthouse.
From the foghorn at Cape Wrath Lighthouse.
Following the track east away from Cape Wrath Lighthouse in rain.
Kearvaig Bay and Bothy.
The peaty Kearvaig River.
Rain patter.
Gentle rain.
Kearvaig Bothy glitter ball.
Kearvaig Bothy, Sutherland.
Cape Wrath and Kearvaig Bothy.
First signs of destruction, Cape Wrath Bombing Range.
A momentary break in the rain, Cape Wrath Bombing Range.
Cape Wrath Bombing Range target at sunset.
Target and shell case, Cape Wrath Bombing Range.
Pockmarked terrain of Cape Wrath Bombing Range.
Garvie Isand and a target on Cape Wrath Bombing Range.
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British Architectural & Landscape Photographer.

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