The brew with a spectacular view
Wednesday 03 June 2009
It has already been dubbed the café at the end of the universe – confirmation, as if it were needed, that the British will go to any lengths for a decent cup of tea.
But John Ure, the proud new owner of the mainland's most remote watering hole, is confident the journey to reach him is worth it. He has set up a new tea shop in the historic lighthouse at Cape Wrath on the rugged extremity of the Scottish Highlands.
To get there, customers must travel two miles from the village of Durness to catch the eight-passenger ferry across the Kyle of Durness, and then undertake an 11-mile trek by cycle, foot or minibus along a rough track to The Ozone café, slap bang in the middle of a Ministry of Defence testing zone.
Once there, customers can enjoy a leisurely brew and take in the wildlife, a spot of whale watching and the magnificent Atlantic seascapes – when, that is, the area is not closed off to allow military exercise, or being battered by one of the 38 gales that hit the coast in an average year.
Mr Ure originally sold drinks from a mobile snack bar, but business was so good he decided to look for something more permanent. "Some 2,000 people a year come off the minibuses and they were always wanting water, so now they can get a cup of tea or coffee. Although the minibuses only run May to September, we will be open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," he said. "If you come to that door you will get a cup of tea, day or night."
The Ures, who moved from Glasgow a decade ago, are the only permanent residents of a community that, before the Second World War, was home to 40 souls and a school. Today, the dwellings are given over to holiday homes. The lighthouse, built in 1828 by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis Stevenson, went automatic in 1998.
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