It’s both subject to interpretation and trivia, but some say the easternmost and westernmost points in the United States, territories included, are neighboring islands in the Aleutian archipelago: Semisopochnoi and Amatignak.
The easternmost point in Scotland is Keith Inch in the town of Peterhead (both names should have been included in September 2nd’s “R Rated Great Britain”). West is Corrachadh Mòr, Gaelic for “great tapering field”, near the Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse. Neither are promoted as tourist attractions. Corrachadh Mòr is especially remote and weather-challenged. Scotland’s southernmost point is Mull of Galloway and its northernmost is Dunnet Head. Both attract busloads of tourists.
Mull of Galloway, about 17 miles south of the town of Stranraer (pronounced Strun rah), is a particularly worthwhile spot since it has become a major nature reserve. Seabirds–black guillemots, kittiwakes, etc.–live and breed on its soaring cliffs. The two women running the visitor centre were a bit disappointed that we didn’t share their detail-oriented enthusiasm for local birds. They reminded me of the lady the evening before who was crushed when I didn’t want to hear the history of every person buried in the Stoneykirk cemetery. The Galloway ladies kept track of sightings, paying special attention to puffins. By mid-July they had already recorded 16 species. Trails, some rather challenging, took us to viewpoints and places where strictly local butterflies, graylings, and plants, purple milk-vetch, abounded. Sunning seals and frolicking porpoises are common sights, but not that day. Mull of Galloway’s 1830 lighthouse, scene of a Hollywood-worthy plane crash in World War II, is only opened daily in July and August. The summer weather here is fine, for Scotland.
The summer weather is not so fine at Dunnet Head where, like at Galloway, orange-legged puffins are beloved. The area has so many avian visitors that it has been dubbed Seabird City. Dunnet Head is not only Scotland’s most northerly mainland point, it’s also Great Britain’s. Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Treasure Island’s Robert Louis, built its 1831 lighthouse. During World War II Dunnet Head was a U-boat station.
Near the village of John o’Groats where travelers get a boat to the Orkney Islands is a vigorous hike past some dramatic sea cliffs dotted with nesting fulmars and sure-footed sheep to the Duncansby Stacks seen above.
More trivia. The most southerly point of US controlled territory is Rose Atoll in American Samoa. The most northerly is Point Barrow, Alaska. The Mull of Galloway and Dunnet Head, truthfully, are a lot easier to get to.