Mackay Country

Reaching Mackay Country means reaching the wild


Mackay Country, the ancestral home of the once powerful Clan Mackay.

Mackay Country can seem wild, empty & remote delve a little deeper and you will find features hidden in the landscape showing how humans have lived and influenced their environment for over 6,000 years.

Today Durness and surrounding communities in the far north west are still Mackay through and through Mackay’s still inhabit this land and the descendants of the many who left these shores return each year to stand where their ancestors once stood.

Clouds sky sunny landscape

Walking and Climbing

Durness lies in the heart of Mackay Country, packed full of natural wonders. Surrounded by spectacular mountains, a rugged coastline and stunning unpolluted beaches makes for a perfect escape.

There are few places in the world which offer more dramatic scenery.

Explore a wide range of routes in and around Durness


For the more adventurous some of the most enjoyable hill walking in Britain can be found in the Sutherland area. Unlike some of the more popular hills these are remote, quiet hills where you are less likely to meet another living soul.

The ridge of hills and mountains stretching south begins ½ km from Durness and includes the magnificent Foinaven (2,980 ft/ 908 m) and Arkle (2,583 ft/ 787 m), while to the east lie the spectacular Ben Loyal (2,504 ft/ 763 m) and of course Ben Hope (3,040 ft/ 927 m), the most northerly Munro.

Heights of Local Mountains

  • Ben Hope: 3,040 feet / 927 metres
  • Ben Loyal: 2,504 feet / 763 metre
  • Arkle: 2,583 feet / 787 metres
  • Foinaven: 2,980 feet / 908 metres
  • Ben Stack: 2,366 feet / 721 metres
Beaches at Mackays


Did we mention Beaches? The choice is yours there is a beach for everyday of the week.


The sand dunes are a most obvious feature of the coast, they represent a large range of habitats and form a machair, grassland of the calcareous type initially stabilised by Marram Grass. The sandy bay is crescent shaped and facing west where bathing is safe from pollution, unspoilt and quiet. The area offers unparalleled sunsets.

Sango Bay

In the heart of Durness village, Sango is a three minute walk from the cottage and always a deligh


Translated form Gaelic Ceannabeinne means head or end of the mountains lies two miles from the cottage. Perfection!

The Secret Beach

We could tell you but then what’s the point in that

Sandwood Bay

The most remote beach in Europe and possibly the most written about now!

Oldshore Mor

This beach is worth the 20 minute drive down through Kinlochbervie. A different feel from any other beach.

Polin Beach

Oldshore Mor’s neighbour great for a skinny dip

Sand and cliffs beach
Cape Wrath

Cape Wrath

The most northwest point of mainland Britain, accessible via a ferry across the Kyle of Durness which connects with a minibus on the other side. The Cape is renowned for its lighthouse built by Robert Stephenson in 1827.

See the astounding Clo Mor cliffs (the highest on mainland UK) which support immense sea bird colonies including thousands of puffins, razorbills, fulmars, kittiwakes and guillemots.

Smoo Cave

Visit Britain’s largest limestone cave, explore the inner caverns and beautiful waterfall. Smoo Cave is a famous natural landmark, Britain’s largest limestone cave.

A burn running through the limestone to the sea itself has through time created a huge cave, which is easily accessible to all.

The massive outer chamber is breathtaking. To explore the inner caverns. a wooden bridge leads into the inner chamber where you are met by the roar of a magnificent waterfall.

Entrance to Smoo Cave
Nature at Mackays


As well as healthy seabird population the Durness & Sutherland area enjoys a healthy wildlife population for everyone to experience and enjoy, often for the first time.

Watch for the eagle overhead the deer on the hill and listen for the haunting of the Greenshank. A famous seabird population on Handa Island deserves a day trip, as it is one of the most important seabird breeding colonies in the UK.

Corncrakes are effectively breeding in the area, once common and recently almost extinct it can often be heard- identified by its repeated rasping calls.

Prepare for the memorable sight of leaping dolphins or graceful whales, which frequent local bays daily during the summer months. Share the sad weary gaze of resting seals as you explore the magnificent landscape.

Rare wild flowers are found in abundance and many locations are protected by SSSI status.