Address: John O'Groats, Wick KW1 4YR

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Phone: +44 (0) 1955 611373

 

John O’Groats History

As with many place names over years, John O’Groats originated from another name before evolving into the name we know today. It was named after Jan de Groot. He was the local ferryman, running the service to and from The Orkneys. He bought the ferry boat in 1496 from the Scottish Crown and it was a vessel that had previously come from Norway.

Today it’s a well known name and often accepted as the most northerly point on the UK mainland. This is actually incorrect as Dunnet Head, a place nearby to the west, is slightly further north, but it gains its reputation, and place in notoriety, as one end of the longest journey possible on British mainland major roads, the other end being Land’s End in Cornwall. The places are 874 miles apart. It’s therefore part of legendary end to end walks, cycle rides etc.

Whilst Dunnet Head is further north, and from there you move slightly south and east to John O’Groats, you can move, from John O’Groats, slightly further south and east again to Duncansby Head. This involves going a few hundred yards south and then taking the two mile road east to Duncansby. The area has a few houses along the way and a lighthouse at the end of the road. The cliffs at Duncansby are quite spectacular.

 

John O’Groats Visit

John O’Groats itself is a village that’s surprisingly small. It’s almost a string of houses down to a small port with a village store and the Seaview Inn along the way. By far the busiest and most important aspect of the place are the daily ferry sailings for tourists to the Orkney Islands. It’s about a 45 minute trip, with the boat and the large car park being fairly full in the summer. If you’re into camping or caravanning, there’s a nice campsite on top of the cliffs. It’s located about a hundred yards or so from the ferry terminal.

The village itself has the newly built, multi-coloured ‘Natural Retreats’ luxury lodges and apartments as well as a smaller hotel just up the road. Also in the village is a shop, cafe and tourist information centre. By the campsite, there’s a ticket office for ferry crossings and also for sea wildlife trips. Certainly, in the summer, there are a surprisingly large amount of ‘end to enders’ – those adventurers, be they on foot or wheels, who make the journey to Land’s End. And good luck to them!