John O’Groats is as wild and rugged as you would expect from one of the most northern points in Scotland and boasts some of the most stunning wildlife – it is one of the only places in the British Isles where killer whales can be observed from the shore.
The John O’Groats site is owned by National Heritage and is the favourite spot for holidaymakers to have their photograph taken to commemorate their visit or in many cases the fact that they have run, cycled, walked or hopped 870 miles from the other end of the country.
The town takes its name from Jan de Groot, a Dutchman who obtained a grant for the ferry from the Scottish mainland to Orkney, then recently acquired from Norway, from King James
IV in 1496. The collective term for people from John O’ Groats is Groatsers.
John O’Groats is popular with tourists because it is usually regarded as the most northerly settlement of mainland Great Britain, although this is not the claim made by the people of John O'Groats. The village's claim to fame is that it is one end of the longest distance between two points on the British mainland, Land's End being the other. The actual most northerly point is nearby Dunnet Head.
The village is small, but contains numerous gift shops and a landmark hotel that is in the process of being redeveloped into five-star holiday apartments, and luxury eco-cabins with glass fronts.
Nearby is Duncansay Head where a walk along the high cliffs will give you views of the offshore rocks that are home to seabirds such as Puffins