Lighthouse Well, Dunnet Head, Caithness

Healing Well:  OS Grid Reference – ND 20422 75807

Getting Here

Lighthouse Well, Dunnet Head
Lighthouse Well, Dunnet

Take the B855 road northwards out of Dunnet village, through Brough and, nearly 4 miles on, you’ll see the waters of the Long Loch right by the roadside.  300 yards along the side of the loch, keep your eyes peeled to your left-hand side, where the white stone surround falls below the roadside just a couple of yards away.  By its side, a small stone with a plaque highlights its position. You can’t really miss it.

Archaeology & History

Stone & plaque by its side
Stone & plaque by its side

Marked on the earliest OS-map of the region in 1875 (simply as “Well”), this is the most northerly example of a healing well in mainland Scotland, being a good mile further north than John o’ Groats!  Consisting of a standard stone surround, the well has two stone troughs: one inside the surround, and another outside, where the water runs, before being directed back to Earth.

Secondary stone trough
Second stone trough

Although the waters here have long since quenched the thirst of crazy travellers, the well was the main water supply for the men who lived and manned the famous Dunnet Head lighthouse in earlier years, who would carry the water from here more than half-a-mile up to their remote abode, overlooking the great cliffs and out towards megalithic Orkney.  Its healing properties have, sadly, long since been forgotten.  When we visited the site, the waters did not look to be in a healthy state to drink.

© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian

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