It's an amazing place -- truly a getaway to rival all others. I've been here many times and always camp above Sango Bay, where you can spot dolphins and minki whales from your tent. Some local guys once told me about the secret beach and the elephant caves -- they alone are worth the long trip from Edinburgh.
I expected to be blown away by Durness as I had read about how amazing it was, but I would only recommend looking around for a couple of hours at most. The whole place is terribly backward and a bit like Craggy Island from Father Ted!
Last summer my friend and I visited Durness. We had heard that it was a very beautiful an unique place, but when we got there we were simply blown away! There is a special spirit around Durness. Some may find the life up there too simple and lonely, but my opinion is that if you need a place to completely relax and want to experience a piece of the greatness of nature, Durness is the place to put on your travelmap. The "Balnakeil Beach" is so beatiful with its black cliffs, everyone owes themselves a visit to Durness!
I have visited Durness on several occasions this year and cant get enough of the place! The views and the locals are second to none. I was unfortunate to lose my dog in the area and the locals could not have done enough to help by letting me put up posters in their shops,pubs, etc. There are plenty of stunning walks along the beaches or the cliffs, the amenities include a general store, camp site, Bunkhouse, Garage, Sango Sands complex (Restaraunt & Bar),Stonemason shop (owner's a smashing guy!), and the nearby Balnakeil craft village. I would recommend Durmess as a "must-go" place to visit.
In 1999 friends from county Durham took my husband and me on a wonderful drive around Scotland. We had been as far north as Lochinver by car before, but this time we got as far as Orkney. I had longed to see Durness for years, and it was all I expected. We had a gorgeous meal as well at the bookshop at Balnakeil Bay. Northwest Scotland is fabulous!
I recently visited to Durness and thought that the scenery and beaches were very impressive. But you need more than this to make your stay memorable or comfortable. Apart from Mackays Hotel, there is absolutely nowhere to get any quality food or drinks. There are countless fish farms around the lochs but I never saw any of this on a menu anywhere - a cheese toastie with some iceberg lettuce and a sorry tomato was all I could find. The local pub was more like a hospital waiting room and the laughable craft village was something out of horror movie. I recognise life is different in this part of the country, but that is no excuse for lack of imagination and minimum effort. I would reccomend Durness for a very short day trip but would not consider reccomending anyone stay for longer periods of time.
Durness is an amazing place. I went there this summer and it may the most beautiful place that I have ever been. It is also wonderfully peaceful. I could have sat on those beaches for hours. I didn't want to leave.
Durness sits in the far reaches of the Scottish Highlands. The area is widely uninhabited and the landscape is amazing. To reach Durness, you have to travel by a narrow, single-track road, which can sometimes be frightening if another large vehicle is coming down the opposite direction! Buses run fairly regularly from Ullapool, Lairg, and Inverness if you are planning on traveling via public transportation.
The hostels in Durness are located fairly centrally in the village, well within nearby walking distance to the local pubs and a small grocery store. Smoo Cave is right nearby as well -- a vast sea cave that sometimes has waterfalls (if it has recently rained), Smoo Cave is best explored by boat.
The village itself is small and quiet most of the time, but has a wonderful view of the ocean and there is plenty to do in the area. Cape Wrath is a popular destination, as is the lighthouse that sits at the point, built by Robert Stevenson, the grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson. Just east of Cape Wrath are the Clo Mor Cliffs. Balnakeil is also neat place to visit. Just northwest of Durness, Balnakeil has a wonderful beach (easily accessible and safe to swim, if it is not too cold!) and the Balnakeil Church ruins is a fascinating archaeological site to explore. It generally never gets too busy in Durness, so booking far in advance is not required, but perhaps advisable during the end of July because the Highland Games take place on the last Friday of July.
Hi, I'm Emily Schreiber,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Durness hostels. Welcome.