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The Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Cliffs In Scotland
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The Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Cliffs In Scotland

Picture of Tori Chalmers
Updated: 9 February 2017
Gargantuan sweeping rock faces stand proudly as they stare across the temperamental Scottish seas. The most transformative panoramic views of all time wait to be witnessed. Fresh air swoops in and caresses the awestruck faces of those absorbing the stunning sights. Suddenly, all troubles become a figment of the imagination. Taking a trip to Scotland without witnessing the outstanding and breathtaking cliffs seems unthinkable. Explore and absorb our top picks.

Clo Mor Cliffs

The Clo Mor Cliffs are sacred for humans just as they are a sanctuary for colonies of seabirds. Approximately five miles from Cape Wrath, these impressive lumps of rock happen to be one of the highest cliffs in Great Britain. From sweeping panoramic views of Scotland’s tumultuous seas to puffins, kittiwakes, and fulmars pottering about, standing atop such impressive natural works of art puts life’s little intricacies into perspective. Speaking of perspective, the cliffs sport a significant drop of nearly 300 metres (approximately 920 feet). Down on the beach stands the magical Smoo cave — an impressive sea cave guarded by a wondrous waterfall.

Clo Mor Cliffs | © Jim Barton/Geograph
Clo Mor Cliffs | © Jim Barton/Geograph

Kilt Rock

A glimpse of Kilt Rock could render the most gifted purveyor of words absolutely speechless. Every surface on Skye is a vision but Kilt Rock really stands out. This sea cliff — which resides in northeast Trotternish — is said to resemble a kilt. The vertical basalt columns transform into perfectly tailored tartan pleats and the intruded sills of dolerite woven throughout mimic the kaleidoscope patterns of this iconic Scottish garment. The flowing waters of Mealt Waterfall gush like a tap sprinkling down from this picturesque cliff. Kilt Rock, undoubtedly, deserves to be marvelled at during every minute of the day.

St Johns Head

St Johns Head on the Isle of Hoy in Orkney is hands down one of the most impressive cliffs in Scotland. Even the most deftly skilled climbers cannot deny the sheer magnitude of this menacing cliff, which acts as the ultimate challenge. It is said to be one of the hardest sea cliff climbs in the world. 1970 saw the very first direct ascent, while 2011 witnessed the first free climb. This towering wonder is as steep as it is breathtaking with a straight-down drop of 352 metres (1,154 feet), and is one of the UK’s highest vertical sea cliffs. Vibrant shades of yellow and red — painted as such from weathered sandstone beds — can be seen dazzling and dancing when the sun serenades the cliff.

The Quiraing

The rocky ridges hidden within The Quiraing can be considered the emperors of Scotland’s cliffs, just as the haggis is the chieftain of the pudding race. This picturesque landscape in the Trotternish area of Skye is close to the neighbouring villages of Staffin and Uig. Walking the tricky 6.8km loop of the Quiraing is like stepping into the deepest depths of the imagination. The Trotternish ridge hosts the most marvellous conglomeration of jagged cliffs, surreptitious plateaus, and looming rock pinnacles that were created by a gargantuan landslip. Traversing this mystical land filled with overpowering beauty should be a mandatory requirement for any adventurer’s bucket list.

Trotternish Range, Isle of Skye, Scotland © Joe Gough
Trotternish Range, Isle of Skye, Scotland | © Joe Gough

Dunnet Head

Sprouting up from glistening beaches and alluring dunes are the Dunnet Head cliffs — the most northerly point on mainland Britain. These remarkably imposing cliffs gaze down unassumingly into the Pentland Firth. Even the seabirds must shudder at the thought of the 300 foot drop. Still, the extraordinary views of the Orkney Islands and the north coast of Scotland are some of the most awe-inspiring sights ever to be seen. Staring at the resplendent sandstone cliffs while acknowledging the sweeping, steep, vertical faces offers the kind of therapy unique to Mother Nature and her alone. Hours can pass in a flash when wandering the narrow, meandering paths and tackling the gloriously challenging ascents.