Lighthouse keeper opens the most remote cafe in Scotland


By Rebecca Jamieson

VISITORS to Cape Wrath, one of the most remote areas in Scotland, will now be able to enjoy a nice cup of tea when they reach their secluded holiday destination.

Customers will face a ferry ride and a three-hour trek up a stony path before they reach the most isolated café in Scotland.

But visiting the café – which is situated in a lighthouse on a cliff top – will be worth it for the stunning views.

Lighthouse keeper John Ure plans to sell teas, coffees and sandwiches next month once the visitors start arriving.

He said: “It must have the best views of any café.

“You regularly see whales and dolphins in the sea below and we get visits from sea and golden eagles.

“There are also lots of red deer, badgers and foxes.”

Cape Wrath is the most northwesterly point in Scotland, and boasts Britain’s highest sea cliffs.

John and his wife Kay, both 54, are Cape Wrath’s only official residents.

When they moved in and set up home with their six spaniels, the lighthouse was derelict.

But they share their neighbourhood with the Ministry of Defence who use the area as an army bombing range for two weeks every year.

John added: “We will have to close the café a couple of weeks a year when they bomb the area.”

Despite this, more than 2000 tourists visit Cape Wrath every year.

The lighthouse was built by Robert Stevenson – grandfather of the famous Treasure Island author.

It was built in 1828 and remains a working lighthouse, although it is now remotely monitored from Edinburgh.

John said: “It’s a great location and it was my idea to open a café. There can’t be many like it.”

Director of The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses in Fraserburgh, Virginia Mayes-Wright, said: “The café is even more good reason to visit Cape Wrath.”


  1. This is lovely – what traveller could resist? I have a friend on Arran – it’s miles from this place, but it’s an excuse to go to Scotland!

  2. If readers google Cape Wrath LIghthouse you will find some amazing photos. Wow, this place is amazing! I’d love to go. It would end up being a pretty expensive cup of tea, though.

  3. Dear John and Kay U,

    I heard all about your new cafe venture on the radio yesterday. This fits in nicely with our plan to ‘do’ Caithness and Sutherland this summer, after visiting several islands in Orkney….. I will tell everyone I meet about this cafe. My late father, Ernest Booth, certainly went as far as the lighthouse, in a Land Rover, I believe, 50 years ago or so, when he worked with the Institute of Seaweed Research.

    His various adventures, recounted to us children, have had the effect of sending me north, where I now live, in Unst. I have also been very many times to Orkney, and was there again last month, in 4 different islands….

    All good wishes for your venture.

    Elisabeth Nicolson nee Booth

    ZE2 9XL

  4. Just a simple enquiry please. My late grandfather often told me many years ago that one of our ancestors was the Lighthouse Keeper on Cape Wrath. Over the past year or so I nave been investigating our family history and find there was a GG Grandmother of mine named Dolina Dingwall (1803 – 1886), whose father was Alexander Dingwall, mother Christian (Christina?) McKay from Durness. Dolina migrated to Australia on the ill-fated fever ship ‘Ticonderoga’ in 1852.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. David White

  5. II was a relief Light Keeper on Cape Wrath Lighthouse approx.1971. Eric was the Principal Keeper. I worked on many other Lighthouses including The Bass Rock. I then moved to the MV HESPERUS lighthouse supply ship. I live in Canada now and maybe someday I will return for a coffee at the Cafe. Anyone who remembers me can contact me at [email protected]

    • Hello Christina
      Am convinced someone has already replied to this request – only sorry I’ve only just seen it. The obvious places to stay would be around Durness and the surrounding area but there is a place a couple of miles from the lighthouse at Kearvaig. This is a bothy maintained by the Mountain Bothy Association and which is free to stay at for the odd night and is absolutely breathtaking. The following adress will take you to a series of photo’s detailing the renovation of the bothy over several years.

      Hope this of interest.

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