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Faraid Head

Walk along Balnakeil Beach and up the tract through the dunes, and on to the peninsula of Faraid Head (Fear Ard – or High Fellow) where high cliffs rise to nearly one hundred metres above sea level at Flirum. The diagonally banded cliffs to the left were formed more than three hundred million years ago by a process known as thrusting and faulting. At this time, the cliffs were alongside Whiten Head ten miles to the east. Puffins and other seabirds, porpoises, seals, dolphins and whales may be observed. From the deserted war time buildings there are commanding spectacular views over to Cape Wrath, Loch Eriboll and Whiten Head. 

Faraid Head peninsula consists of a block of gneiss tilted towards the southwest and terminating on its north and west sides in high cliffs. It is connected on its southern margin to another tilted block, this time of schist. Both of these blocks appear to be fault-bounded, and another fault-line runs west-east across the south side of the bay separating the metamorphic rocks from limestone. Thus the structure is simply that of two blocks tilted towards the southwest, presenting an inclined plane up which large quantities of sand are progressing in a northeasterly direction.

Marine erosion is active around the headland, but on the east side of the peninsula a wide abrasion platform has formed which gives a measure of protection to the cliffs which are now mostly inactive. On the short east-west section, coinciding with the faulted block edges, however, active cliffing is still proceeding, and the existence of stacks, such as the Clach Mhòr na Faraid testify to the cliff recession which has occurred.

A military installation exists on the top of Faraid Head accessed by the road track leaving the farr end of the fisrt beach of Balnakeil. This road has sufferes from submergence by sand, and access along it is not possible for normal vehicles and is cleared when military activities are scheduled. See Durness Village At Churchend where Donny Mackay relates a story regarding the road to Faraid Head.

See Military Connections for further Fariad Head information

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