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Coordinates: 58°38′N 3°04′W / 58.64°N 3.07°W / 58.64; -3.07

John o' Groats
Scottish Gaelic: Taigh Iain Ghròt
John o' Groats.JPG
John o' Groats House
John o' Groats is located in Scotland
John o' Groats

 John o' Groats shown within Scotland
Population 300 
OS grid reference ND380734
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Caithness
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town WICK
Postcode district KW1
Dialling code 01955
Police Northern
Fire Highlands and Islands
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Scottish Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
List of places: UK • Scotland •

John o' Groats (Taigh Iain Ghròt in Scottish Gaelic) (grid reference ND380734) is a village in the Highland council area of Scotland. Once a part of the county of Caithness, John o' Groats is popular with tourists because it is usually regarded as the most northerly settlement of mainland Great Britain, although the actual most northerly point is nearby Dunnet Head. (ND202767)

The name John o' Groats has a particular resonance because it is often used as a starting or ending point for cycles, walks and charitable events to and from Land's End (at the extreme south-western tip of the Cornish peninsula in England). The phrase Land's End to John o' Groats (LEJOG) is frequently heard both as a literal journey (being the longest possible in Great Britain) and as a metaphor for great or all-encompassing distance, similar to the American phrase coast to coast.

The punctuation and capitalisation in John o' Groats is the correct form. The space after o' appears to vary but was probably the correct older form. The town takes its name from Jan de Groot, a Dutchman who obtained a grant for the ferry from the Scottish mainland to Orkney, recently acquired from Norway, from King James IV in 1496. The collective term for people from John o' Groats is Groatsers.



The population of John o' Groats is approximately 300 ± 10.[1] The village is dispersed but has a linear centre where council housing, sports park, and a shop which is on the main road from the nearest town of Wick.


John o' Groats attracts large numbers of tourists from all across the world all year round. Not all commentary is good - in 2005 a popular tourist guide, Lonely Planet, described the village as a "seedy tourist trap".[2]


The famous "Journey's End" signpost at John o' Groats is privately owned and operated by the same Penzance-based photography company which operates its counterpart at Land's End, with a fee payable for having pictures taken next to the signpost. The signs on the sign post have now been removed but the post remains. A free plastic signpost is situated on the wall next to the First and Last souvenir shop and the harbour.


John o' Groats is home to two football clubs, John o' Groats and Canisbay Juniors. John o' Groats FC are an amateur outfit who play in the top flight of Caithness Amateur Football, they also enter a team into the Winter 7s which are played in Thurso. They are current champions of the second division. They also have the distinction of being the most northerly British mainland club. They recently won the Eoin Mackintosh Memorial Cup with a 2-1 victory over local rivals Pentland United, claiming their first major county trophy. Canisbay Juniors are the "feeder" team to John o' Groats FC with many of the key first team players having played for the juniors side at one time. They play in the youth development leagues in Caithness where they enter teams at all age groups.


The John o' Groats House Hotel was built on the site of Jan de Groot's house and was established in 1875. Although no longer a hotel or public bar, it has been described by Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Rhoda Grant as "one of the UK's most famous landmarks"[3]. It is currently closed and has fallen into disrepair although there have been plans for renovation for several years.

See also


External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From Wikitravel


John o'Groats (Gaelic: Taigh Iain Ghròt [1]) is a small village in the traditional Scottish county of Caithness and the Highlands region of Scotland. John o'Groats is popularly thought of as the northernmost point on the mainland (the counterpart to Land's End in Cornwall) - although not actually the northernmost point (this honour belongs to Dunnet Head nearby), John o'Groats is certainly the northernmost settlement on Great Britain.


John o'Groats takes its name from one Jan de Groot, a Dutchman who obtained a grant for the ferry from the Scottish mainland to the island of Orkney, recently acquired from Norway, from the Scottish King James IV in 1496.

  • John o'Groats Tourist Information Centre, County Road, tel +44 (0)1955 611373, fax +44 (0) 1955 611448, open Easter-October - information on travel, accommodation, local services and emergency services - also stocks a range of books, maps, gifts and souvenirs.
  • the Last House and Last House Museum
  • the Castle of Mey [2], 6 miles west of John o'Groats towards Thurso - the Caithness residence of the late Queen Mum, lovingly restored by her after the death of her husband King George VI in 1952
  • Go to Land's End! The John O'Groats to Land's End, (or Vice Versa) journey has been undertaken by many individuals as a personal challenge, and to raise funds for good causes. It is often undertaken on foot or by bicycle to raise funds. Ian Botham the former England Cricketer popularised the journey in recent years when raising funds for charity.

Get out

Head back the other way to Land's End, its a long walk!

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