CONFUSION surrounded the future of Scotland's world famous Cape Wrath last night following conflicting reports on the purchase of the beauty spot.

The peninsula, in the far north-west tip of the mainland, is up for sale and concerns have been raised that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) may buy it and restrict access.

Locals, represented by the Durness Development Group, have already applied to buy the land under the Land Reform Scotland Act 2003 and are awaiting a decision by Scottish Government ministers.

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Land protection group, the John Muir Trust, say if the bid fails, the MoD will step in and purchase it for training purposes – spelling an end to public visits to the site. However, the MoD says it has no plans to restrict public access more than it already is.

John Hutchison, John Muir Trust chairman, said: "It is unthinkable that Cape Wrath should be turned into a military exclusion zone, from which the people of Scotland and overseas visitors are locked out."

Currently, Cape Wrath is closed to the public during military exercises and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation claims that will not change. A spokesman said: "The Ministry of Defence has shown an interest in the site at Cape Wrath and is aware that a community right to buy application is currently under consideration with the Scottish Government. However, should the site be purchased by the MoD, there are no plans to restrict public access further than present arrangements."