Whiten Head

"There can be few places in Britain that offer as remote and committing a day's paddle as Whiten Head..." says the Scottish Sea Kayaking guide by Doug Cooper and George Reid.
A bold statement. But one which I can at long last judge from personal experience.
Whiten Head has been one of those trips that has been in my mind for as many years as I can remember. More than twenty years ago, pouring over the maps while staying in Tongue, at little further east on Scotland's north coast, I'd noted the headland, the wonderfully isolated Freisgill Bothy...
...and the wild expanse of moorland that stretched for miles from the cliffs, uninterrupted by road or any other sign of man.
After rounding Cape Wrath two days earlier, to find the swell was lower even on the north coast than the west, conditions were perfect. And so we launched at Ard Neackie, heading first towards the bothy and then on and out around the vast cliffs.
Given the choice of paddling around Cape Wrath or Whiten Head, it would be hard not to opt for Cape Wrath, such is the allure of the north-west corner of Britain. But Whiten Head is quite simply, something else again - it is without question, the most dramatic piece of coastline I have paddled on the mainland.
The scale was such that these pictures will never convey the sense of awe we felt, or the very real exposure, despite the low swell and unusually benign conditions. Nor can they really capture the scale of the cliffs, stacks, arches and caves...
...these being among the biggest I have encountered. Shetland offers more, but with just a few exceptions, notably Papa Stour, not on this scale.
You will just have to go and see for yourself. And if you have to wait a week, a year or even twenty, it will be a wait worthwhile.

Comments

Mark Johnson said…
Such drama in your photos. Lovely!
Will Herman said…
Thanks Mark - it's a dramatic spot!
Best,
Will
Ian Johnston said…
Brillaint Will! Like you until recently, Whiten Head is on my "must do" list. I've looked at the coast here in a winter gale and been mightily impressed; you've rekindled the flame for this paddle :o)
Will Herman said…
Hi Ian - worth waiting for the lowest of swells - the caves and arches are simply stunning...A one way paddle / hitch back etc. from Durness perhaps, with a camp would be a wonderful trip...
Hope you get there sometime soon.
Best,
Will