The bed and breakfast at Dunnet Head has been operating for almost 30 years. It is now under new management and franchised out. When the current owners took it over in 2000 there was also a tearooms which had been operating for about twelve years. The tearoom is operational as well.
The new owners immediately saw the potential for outdoor activities and marketing the Head as the most northerly point of the UK mainland. The owners set about raising the profile of Dunnet Head, dubbed “Caithness in Miniature” by Wild Scotland, by forming the Dunnet Head Educational Trust in 2003. An information centre was set up on the site of the tearooms and ran successfully for a few years, providing information for walkers and other visitors to the area. However, it was not profitable and was only viable at all due to the owners providing the property free of charge. It was closed in 2008 and has recently been regenerated by franchising it out.
The LetsGoNorth branding was formulated by John Thurso in 1998 and passed to Brough Bay Ltd. in 2010. The brand currently covers four elements – the campsite, B&B and tearooms at Dunnet Head, equestrian tourism development, walking development, in particular currently focussing on the North Highland Way, and the Dunnet Head Educational Trust. We have recently started developing cycling as well as it fits so well with the North Highland Way project. By joint working with Orkney Tourism Group, London South Bank University and other organisations, the company and the Trust have both gone from strength to strength.
The Trust has founded and run many projects, including the Caithness and Sutherland Walking festival which was launched in 2004 and still continues under the auspices of Wick Paths. As the voluntary sector arm of Brough Bay Ltd. t/a LetsGoNorth, the Trust continues to operate and has recently become the administration service for the Friends of the North Highland Way. The Way started as a commercial project in July 2013 with eight businesses and there are now thirty three participating businesses. It is hoped in the long term to get the Way adopted as a national trail.
On the B&B side, the number of visitors has increased year on year and the owners strive to provide an excellent service and get good feedback from visitors from all over the world. The Trust also holds visitor figures for people visiting Dunnet Head and is working with the local authority to provide toilet facilities for the landmark.
The owners like to think that they have been instrumental in raising the profile of the Head. There are now a number of other accommodation providers in the village of Brough