Helmsdale to Dunbeath. 7 Miles


NEW : See my campaign to establish a National Coastal Path here


A straightforward walk up the A9. Up being the operative word as the road climbs pretty steadily as you leave Helmsdale and enter Caithness. Also when you get to Berriedale, which seems to be squashed into a crack in the ground, you have a steep walk down to the village, and an equally steep one back up. There are escape lanes for cars and lorries at both ends which gives an indication of how steep it is.


Inverness to John O' Groats - Scottish Coast Guide for walkers

Inverness to John O' Groats - Scottish Coast Guide for walkers

I left Helmsdale once more in the rain and immediately started the climb up and out of the village. The walk was along the A9 and there wasnt too much to do apart from keep my head down and try not to get too wet. Caithness is quite a bleak place when it rained, although the views back along towards the cliffs were quite breathtaking. I also walked past a sign for a place called Badbea which was a clearance village. Badbea is about five miles North of Helmsdale. When the local land was cleared for the establishment of sheep farms, evicted tenants settled in Badbea and hacked out plots of land on the steep hillside. The clearances came about when the landowners realised that they could make more money from rearing sheep than the rent they were getting from their tenants. So they cleared everyone off the land, and those who didnt emigrate, had to try and eke out a meagre existence on the coast. Badbea was an example of one of those villages, and now stands as a ruined historical record of those times.

See Map of section and more photos


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