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Harbour Views

Popular local short walk providing fine views of Helmsdale's historic harbour and old road bridge.

E. Follow path along the shore back towards the Harbour. Turn left and go under the A9 bridge. F. Follow path, enjoying the finest views of the old bridge. Cross the old bridge and take a look at Timespan's picturesque gardens.

The Walk
A. Cross the old road bridge, built by Thomas Telford, and climb the steps which rise just before the 1824 Ice House. B. Walk along the left hand edge of Coopers Park, site of the annual Highland gathering. C. Reach picnic tables, historic site of Helmsdale castle. Enjoy excellent views of the old bridge and river. At high tide, seals and sometimes otters, may be seen feeding between the two bridges. Exit park via steps in left hand corner and arrive at the Harbour View Cafe. D. Walk across car park and follow A9 footpath away from Helmsdale. Reach Helmsdale Sports Club and, crossing the A9 with care, take the track which slopes down to the shore.

Suitability : Level 1
Steps and slight inclines with good quality paths, suitable for all walkers when conditions are dry
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E. From turning circle follow road back to Helmsdale.

Very easy walk along the Strath to the crofting village of Marrel, a settlement of around a dozen properties nestling below the protective arm of Creag Marail

The Walk
A. Cross the old bridge and walk past the 1824 ice house. Pass the road to the cemetery and take the next right hand turning, sign posted to Marrel. Follow the single track road towards Marrel, keeping the railway on your left and river on your right, noting the crofting strips stretching to the banks of the river. Take left hand turn and cross the railway line in to Marrel. Turn right. After first house on right, follow grass track past side of house. Cross railway line with care and head for steps (50 yards on left). Climb stile and go to turning circle. Option - At E, take path to left of turning circle through the shrubbery, emerging in to pasture lands at banks of river. Look out for salmon!


C. D.


Level 1

Gentle walk on hard flat surface. Easier option is to turn back at telephone box


an d_r_e_t_ra_c_e __ __ s_te_p_s to Helmsdale.
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Fishermen's Footsteps
The River Helmsdale, one of Scotland's finest salmon rivers, is frequented by locals, tourists, and members of the Royal Family. This walk follows the river's north bank.

Option - At E, turn left on road and follow along the Strath of Kildonan. Pleasant flat walk past bubbling burns and stone bridges to 'Baile An Or', historic site of the Kildonan Gold Rush (go to Strath Ullie in harbour for more information). Allow 2 to 3 hours for return journey.

The Walk
A. Start at car park opposite Bridge Hotel. Take steps to " right of public conveniences down to the picnic area. Take riverside path. B. At St. Johns Well (1887) take left hand rough trail along river bank. C. Where trail rises to top, select left hand ·spur and stay close to river bank. D. Pass under electricity pylons and climb over the stile. Keep a look out for salmon and fishermen in the river. E. Opposite Marrel, climb stone steps. At top of steps turn right along single track road and head back to Helmsdale. F. Opposite cemetery, take stone steps to St Johns Well, enjoying fine views of old bridge and war memorial. Return to Bridge Hotel.

Suitability : Level 2
Uneven path, muddy and slippery when wet, but relatively flat and even. Wear stout shoes.
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F. Continue along track. At foot of steps turn left and then turn right on to A9. Cross with care and follow A9 back in to Helmsdale.

Bun-Ullidh Loop
Exit the village along the bank of the River Helmsdale, before looping back to a fine vantage point half-way up Bun-Ullidh, Helmsdale's landmark hill.

The Walk
A. Start at car park opposite Bridge Hotel. Take steps to right of public conveniences down to the picnic area. Take riverside path. At St. Johns Well (1887) take left hand rough trail along river bank. Where trail next rises to top, select right hand spur. At top take path between houses and turn right on to Golf Road. Take first left, pass golf club house, and where the road curves to right, follow track straight on to foot of hill. Follow path that climbs upwards to the right - this is a steep track and the thorns are very sharp! At flagpole rest on bench and enjoy the best views of : Helmsdale's grid street plan, the shoreline to Portgower, and on a clear day the Aberdeenshire coastline.
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C. D. E.

Suitability: Level 2/3
Uneven paths and steep incline which can be muddy and slippery. Wear walking shoes.
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Pleasant walk along the north shoreline of Helmsdale with fine views of the Ord of Caithness and abundant birdlife. Return via the settlement of Navidale.

F. Reach the A9 and follow to Helmsdale. Keep to verge on side of Southbound carriageway. Option - Take road behind house called Rosewood (at G) and follow reverse of Walk 4 (Bun-Ullidh Loop). Allow extra 30 minutes for this extension.

The Walk
A. Follow the road along the front of the Harbour and exit the village via East Shore Street. B. At white house leave road and follow path along the shoreline. C. At first headland enjoy fine view of Ord of Caithness. Follow shoreline along the next bay, crossing the Navidale burn, until reaching the old stone building on the next headland. D. Climb path up the cliff. Option - At stone building climb to shale beach and follow shoreline to a waterfall which plunges down the cliff. This is a difficult walk. Allow 1'/, hours for return journey. E. At top of cliff take the path to the left of the farm fence and join the road which runs past the Navidale cemetery and goes up to the A9. Option - At top of cliff take farm track to right along top of the cliff. This is a long cliff top walk with fine sea views, but track often difficult to follow.
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Suitability : Level 2
Mainly level, but parts of walk across muddy tracks and shale beaches. Stout shoes recommended.
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Gartymore Crofts
These walks explore the old crofting settlement of Gartymore. Single track roads meander amongst the working crofts, neglected crofts, and fine vantage points that litter the hills traveling south from Helmsdale.

Option 3
At C, take right hand turn and arc over the top of Helmsdale, enjoying picture postcard views of harbour. Join Option 1 at H and return to village.

The Walk
Option 1
A. Walk over the A9 road bridge and pass over the railway line. B. Take first right turn and climb the flight of stone steps. Follow road up the hill. .. C. At top of hill pass road on right (see option 3) D. Pass next road on right (see option 2) E. At cross roads take road to right and climb hill. F. Take right hand turn at top of hill. Walk along top road and pass the Land League Memorial. G. Take left hand turn after memorial and follow the road which starts to go down the hill. H. take next left turn and follow road. Turn left at end of road and cross railway bridge and return to village.

Suitability : Level 2
Some steep inclines but all of the routes are on hard, single track roads.

Option 2
At D, take right hand turn and climb steep hill. Join Option 1 at G and return to village.
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Mountain Hares
A walk over the moors behind Helmsdale where wildlife and fine views abound. From the high spots there are good views of the distinctive peaks of two of Scotland's Munroes : Moven and Scaraben.

Reach track in next strath and turn left. Follow track to stile. Take road straight ahead, down the hill. Option - At F, follow track to the right. When track splits take left spur to peat cutting fields in the foothills of Beinn Mhealaich where deer frequently graze (add 1 hour for return journey). At cross roads turn left and follow road back to Helmsdale.

The Walk
A. Cross the old bridge and follow the road and take the first right hand turn after crossing the railway bridge and follow the single track road up the hill. B. After a sharp left bend take the next right hand road (after new house) and continue up the hill. C. After a sharp left bend continue up hill and take next right hand road. Follow road up hill and. after the farm, continue along farm track. D. Climb stile and follow track over top of moor. Option - After 50 yards follow track to right and climb to top of Creag Marail which provides the best view of Helmsdale (add 20 minutes for this extension). E. After 15 minutes follow a farm track to left (opposite white cottage at base of Strath). Where the track splits, take the right spur. Go over and down the slope. Option - At E, carry straight on and follow track to top of Eldrable hill. Fine views and deer (add 1 hour for return journey).
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Suitability : Level 3
Steep hills and uneven paths - walking boots are essential.



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Lothmore Beach
There are many marvelous sandy beaches in the Northern Highlands; home to a thriving seal population, the beach below Lothmore is one of the most beautiful and least visited.


At foot of hill cross railway line and turn right. Follow coast path for one hour until reach bay with watch towers on the hills at either end.

The Walk
A. Walk over the A9 road bridge and pass over the railway line and take first right turn and climb the flight of stone steps. Follow road up the hill. Go straight on, pass two right turns and a cross roads .. B. Where road curves to the left, take right hand farm track down and across a small burn. .', C. Before reaching large pylon, take track up to the left. Climb hill, go through gate and walk in front of old croft house. Go straight ahead, through gate and down to wooden bridge over burn. D. After burn, follow track to gate, pass through gate and follow road down to Portgower. At A9 turn right and cross the road (with care). E. Turn left opposite Old School House and follow road round. Take track to left opposite end cottage and at cliff top take path to right where track turns left.
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Suitability: Level 2/3
Some inclines and coast sections include uneven stretches and small burns which have to be crossed. No Dogs.
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Perched on the cliff tops on the border lies the of Badbea. A a dozen families site Sutherland/Caithness of the clearance village memorial marks where

G. Follow rough track that winds through At memorial follow Option 1.

site of village.

Warning - The early residents of Badbea were reputed to tether their livestock and children to prevent them from blowing over the cliff. On windy days be careful!

v: -'

survived on the windy cliff tops. Also enjoy views of the Piper Oilfield, the only one visible from the British mainland.

Getting There
1. Leave Helmsdale heading north on the A9. 2. Drive for approx 7 miles. Look for brown sign for Badbea - park in lay-by on right hand side.

The Walk
Option 1 A. Depart car park at gate behind notice board B. Take path straight ahead over boardwalk. C. At memorial explore site of village. D. Return same way. Option 2 E. Take poorly marked path which leaves car park diagonally to the left. F. Follow track over top of moor. The track crosses wall at far left hand corner of site of village (ignore first hole in the wall).
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Path down Option is uneven

: Level 2/
and slopes and Boots
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to the memorial. 2 is unmarked terrain.

over rough are essential.

Glen Loth
With steep hills, spectacular views, and abundant wildlife, the route over Glen Loth is one of the Highlands' most scenic drives. The road however is little more than a track and is not suitable for large vehicles, caravans, or trailers.

The Drive
A. Leave Helmsdale heading south on the A9. B. After passing Loth and Crakaig, look out for a sharp right hand turning signposted for Glen Loth. Follow the single track road over the top of Glen Loth. The views are spectacular but there are few proper passing places. C. At Kildonan, turn right and head back along the A897 to Helmsdale. D. Unwind in one of Helmsdale's cafes and restaurants.

The Walk
This is a very long and strenuous walk. Attempt in Summer only and allow full day. Notify someone in Helmsdale of your intended route and take all safety precautions. WARNING - weather conditions in Glen Loth are subject to rapid 'and severe change all year.
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Suitability : Level 4
Steep inclines and long distances with no rest facilities. Walk for experienced endurance walkers only.
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