Just on the Sutherland side of the Sutherland/Caithness border, on the coast at Drumhollistan Moss, is a complex series of deep geos, or coastal inlets, with a steep sided island called Wester Clett in the middle. Wester Clett has been popularly named “Puffin Island” and the surrounding geos as “Puffin Cove”, which is fair enough given the number of puffins here in the summer months. The upper turf section of the island is pock-marked with puffin burrows. They’re all over it during the late spring and early summer.
Please note: convenient parking is not currently available – I have recently been informed that the unofficial gravel pull off the road, frequently used for parking south of Wester Clett, has been fenced off and is currently not accessible for parking. There may not be any safe parking areas nearby.
What I hadn’t realised (having visited only once before in autumn when the puffins were all at sea) was that the colony has also spilled over on to the surrounding grassy hillsides of the mainland. Following the small path across the hillside in the lower right of the photo above, I turned a corner and almost stumbled over a group of puffins. I quickly stepped back, not wanting to alarm the birds. Over the course of the next couple of hours I moved carefully around the steep slopes taking photos and enjoying peaceful time watching and soaking up the atmosphere. The puffins were remarkably tolerant of my presence but I was keen to minimise any disturbance.
See a map of the location of Wester Clett below. The puffins begin to arrive from late March but the best time to see them is between late spring and early August, outside of this time the birds spend their time offshore in the Atlantic and North Sea.
Even without the puffins this stretch of coast is worth a wander. The cliffs aren’t the highest but it is wild and feels remote even whilst the road is nearby.
Prints and other products featuring my images can be purchased in a wide range of sizes and media at my online store at Redbubble and are shipped globally.
The morning of the partial eclipse of 10th June 2021 was bright but with extensive cloud cover over Caithness in the north of Scotland - but I was lucky to get a single glimpse and single decent shot as a small break passed in front of the sun and moon ... Read More
Bucholly Castle is a fascinating ruin set in a stunning, remote location on the east coast of Caithness between John o' Groats and Wick, just south of Freswick. It is perched above the North Sea on a rocky peninsula joined to the mainland by a narrow neck of land with ... Read More
A grey Saturday afternoon in Caithness, just a fleeting hint of brightness from the west and a choppy Pentland Firth with Dunnet Head, the most northerly point of the British Mainland, in the distance. Shot during a brief stop on our lockdown cycle and foreshore walk during the Covid-19 shutdown ... Read More
After two weeks away Caithness welcomed us home with a beautiful dawn and sunrise. Happy 2020! As the light developed showers closed in from the north and the clouds were ablaze as the rain fell. Behind, to the north, a complementary rainbow to go with the sunrise; typical Caithness conditions! ... Read More
It’s been a dark, damp and sometimes windy week in the north; so here are photos from a more serene Sunday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. At the west end of the village of Dunnet in Caithness a small road winds down the hill to Dwarwick Harbour where there ... Read More
By September in the north of Scotland, it's really noticeable how much earlier darkness is gathering. The sun is already down several hours earlier than in late June when, although the sun does go down behind the horizon, it doesn't get completely dark. Time to re-visit some of the long ... Read More
Just on the Sutherland side of the Sutherland/Caithness border, on the coast at Drumhollistan Moss, is a complex series of deep geos, or coastal inlets, with a steep sided island called Wester Clett in the middle. Wester Clett has been popularly named "Puffin Island" and the surrounding geos as "Puffin ... Read More
With the first strong northerly winds of the autumn, the weekend of 28-29th October was fairly stormy for the North coast of Scotland. With a strong northerly, the swell in the North Atlantic builds quickly and pounds the coast. A few miles west of Thurso lies the headland of Brims ... Read More
A few pictures of flowers in the verge and lawn. Many Northern Marsh Orchids appear every year at the end of May or start of June in the lawn pictured. Primroses grow in the verges and at first I thought the Common Bugle pictured was a different type of orchid ... Read More