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Horizon Seaweed Harvesters picking seaweed at Ness of Duncansby

In the first of a series of posts focusing on our harvest sites around Caithness, Peter Elbourne shares some thoughts about the coastline at the Ness of Duncansby. Lying a short distance east of John O’Groats, the site is uniquely positioned at the corner of the most northerly county in Britian. A range of seaweed species can be found there, but the idiosyncratic tides mean care must be taken when harvesting. There are also extraordinary carvings of Chilean poetry to be discovered at low water. Intrigued? Read on to learn more.

A rocky headland in the corner of Scotland

Our Ness of Duncansby site is two kilometres of rocky shore between John O’Groats and the Bay of Sannick, around 25 minutes’ drive from our factory in Wick. The name Ness of Duncansby is Norse in origin – like most placenames in Caithness – and simply means the headland at Duncan’s farm. It marks the eastern edge of the Pentland Firth, where the North Atlantic meets the North Sea. Currents squeeze in between the mainland and the southern extent of the Orkney archipelago. Huge tidal movements create standing waves known as the Boars of Duncansby. Sailors have always passed through these waters with great care, especially as gales tend to amplify the height of the tidally driven waves.