Cape Wrath
For the television series, see Cape Wrath (TV series). For the Morrissey-Mullen album, see Cape Wrath (album) Cape Wrath ( Scottish Gaelic: Am Parbh, known as An Carbh in Lewis) is a cape in Sutherland, Highland, in northern Scotland. It is the most northwesterly point on the island of Great Britain. The name Cape Wrath, though perhaps apt when taken in context of its remote and forbidding landscape and frequent rough sea, is derived from Old Norse hvarf ("turning point"). Vikings would often turn their ships for home at Cape Wrath. Cape Wrath is one of only two places prefixed with the name "Cape" in Great Britain, the other being Cape Cornwall in Cornwall.

Access
From the south, the only route to the Cape is on foot. The more common approach is by taking a passenger ferry from Keoldale near Durness across the Kyle of Durness, and then walking, cycling or taking a minibus for the journey of around 11 miles to the lighthouse, which takes the visitor through a desolate and virtually uninhabited region, which is used as a military bombardment range by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force; hence travel to the Cape is restricted at certain times of year. It is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where NATO forces combine land, air, and sea capabilities in assault mode for training maneouvres, deploying ordnance up to 1,000 lb bombs. Near to the ferry port is the old Ferryman's House (no longer inhabited). All that remains of the hamlet of Achiemore are the bridge, a chequered prefab army building and the stone foundations of the old school, which was rarely attended by more than five pupils. Kearvaig Stack is a notable local feature. Four miles east of the cape lie the Clò Mór cliffs, the highest sea cliffs on the British mainland. Cape Wrath is also the turning point (11 miles out to the lighthouse and 11 back to the ferry dock on the Cape side) for the Cape Wrath Marathon, which is billed as the 'Toughest Marathon in the UK', due to its unrelenting and continuously undulating terrain. The final leg of the race (4 miles) is run from the mainland side from the ferry dock and finishes at Durness Community Centre. The marathon is held each year as the final event in a week of races and challenges billed as 'The Cape Wrath Challenges'.

Lighthouse
There is a lighthouse at the cape, built in 1828 by Robert Stevenson, which was manned until 1998, when it was converted to automatic operation by the Northern Lighthouse Board. Overlooking the Cape are the ruins of the Lloyd's signal station which was used to monitor shipping. The block of crumbling white houses next to the lighthouse are mostly currently disused, although one has been renovated over the past ten years, and another is home to a room with information about George Stephenson. The sole inhabitants are now John Ure and his family, who leased the main building, converted it into a three-bedroomed home, and who have opened what is claimed to be Britain's most remote cafe on the site: the Ozone Cafe was opened in 2009 by the Princess Royal, and seats eight people. It is open all hours of the day and night throughout the year.

Wildlife
Due to its landscape largely untouched by humans, Cape Wrath has an excellent diversity of wildlife, including fulmar, hooded crow, rock pipit, golden eagle, red deer, cormorant and gannet. The red deer are technically owned by the army when they are training in the area and the soldiers are allowed to shoot them to eat in reasonable amounts.

Shipwrecks
On September 27, 1915, while sailing for Scapa Flow, HMS Caribbean (previously known as RMS Dunottar Castle before being requisitioned for wartime service) foundered off Cape Wrath in bad weather. A tow by HMS Birkenhead was unsuccessful; 15 died. An inquiry later blamed the ship's carpenter for being insufficiently familiar with the ship and for failing to shut all the scuttles"like most of the crew, he had joined the ship just 10 days earlier. The ship served in various capacities during World War I, but she was best known for reducing the voyage time from Southampton, England, to Cape Town, South Africa, by half in the 1890s, and for transporting many famous soldiers and statesmen to and from the Cape Colony during the Second Boer War. The wreck was found in 2004, 35 miles off Cape Wrath, undisturbed except for fishing nets.

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