Dunnet Head is the UK mainland’s most northerly point and with views over to the Orkney Islands you will not be disappointed with the scenery and coastal landscapes. The iconic Dunnet Head Lighthouse and cottages are well photographed by the many visitors who take time to travel off the beaten track to see this amazing coastal area.
The RSPB site is an important nature reserve for coastal birds including puffins that nest and raise young on the cliffside just below the car park area. Thousands of other birds nest and raise their young on the cliffs around Dunnet Head including Guillemots, kittiwakes and fulmars. You can also see rock doves, the wild ancestors of domestic pigeons. They nest in caves around Dunnet Head.
Overlooking the lighthouse are several buildings from the Second World War, used as observation points, now abandoned they do make interesting viewing for historical purposes. They also form part of the RSPB nature reserve and you can walk around the area and visit the viewpoint for views over the Dunnet Head Lighthouse and the RSBP nature reserve (birds). The RSPB have a pdf leaflet that can be downloaded and printed for the reserve at Dunnet Head.
The observation point near the Lighthouse is popular with people watching for whales and dolphins as well as seabirds. Orca can sometimes be seen in small packs around this area of the Caithness coastline. It is worth bringing binoculars with you as the whales can be some distance out. In other occasions they pass just below the cliffs at Dunnet Head.
At night this area is also wonderful for observing the night sky and the Milky Way. Under correct conditions you can see the Northern Lights. You can follow the Aurora Borealis forecasts provided on a number of websites including the EU Aurora website and Lancaster University Aurora Watch page, the Aurora Map site (remember to scroll down for useful information on photographing the Northern Lights), as well as twitter feeds.
You generally need a KP rating of 4 or above for you to be able to see the Aurora over Caithness and Orkney, it is best when there is little cloud cover and the light from the moon and surrounding buildings is low. It is therefore a bit of a lucky dip to see the Northern Lights over Caithness from Dunnet Head, if and when you do, it is a site to remember for ever.
To give you an idea of what you can experience under the perfect weather and Aurora Borealis conditions visit Maciej Winiarczyk youtube feed for his videos / photographs taken in Caithness, especially the popular Night of the Northern Lights.