The Cape Wrath peninsula encapsulates some of the most remote and wild landscape the UK has to offer.
The North Highland Coast is an outdoor playground extraordinaire: hiking, sea kayaking, canoeing, mountaineering, cycling, mountain biking… But after all that fresh air, and exercise, you crave a piping hot chocolate, great food and a warm fire. So where to go? These are my top three places to grab a cuppa in the Cape Wrath area:
This is no ordinary café. Cocoa Mountain in Balnakeil on the north east side of Cape Wrath is a chocoholic’s heaven, or a weight-watcher’s hell. This artisan chocolatier makes their own organic chocolate on the premises and then produce the most divine hot chocolate you have ever tasted: molten chocolate in a mug. Don’t expect much in the way of ‘sensible’ food here, a hearty lunch is not the reason visit. In fact, the savoury menu is there to offset the sugar high from all that amazing chocolate but if locally produced, organic sweetness is your thing, you won’t be disappointed. They claim to produce the best hot chocolate in the world. In my view, as a confirmed chocolate addict, they’re spot on.
The Ozone Café
Getting to the Ozone Café is an experience in itself. It’s situated in the old keeper’s cottages at the Cape Wrath lighthouse on the tip of the headland named ‘Turning Point’ by the Vikings. Standing on the headland one can appreciate why turning the corner to head south away from the tumultuous seas of the north coast was so significant for early seafarers.
The café is tiny, and simple, and just reaching it is an adventure. You can arrive on foot from Kinlochbervie perhaps having having completed the 200 mile long Cape Wrath Trail or take a boat across the Kyle of Durness before hopping on the minibus up to the lighthouse. The only inhabitants on the headland are those who live in lighthouse buildings including the proprietor of the café, John Ure, and his wife Kay. Serving simple fare of tea and coffee, soup and sandwiches, sweets & snacks, the café is open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. Turn up late at night, and you’ll still get a cuppa, and a wee chat: now wouldn’t that be a story to bring home…We visit this remote cafe at the very top of Scotland on our luxury guided walking trip of the North Highland Coast.
Smartly refurbished the Kylesku Hotel has plenty of space, roaring fires, friendly staff and a spectacular view. You will always get a warm welcome and some excellent food here. The team serve locally sourced food and drink, and always with a smile. If you come to one place in Scotland for a seafood platter, this should be it! I’ve had some very special meals here watching otters and seals playing in the loch just outside the restaurant. Highly recommended.