12.8 miles | 20.8 km
The stage starts in Brora with nice easy walking along a path between a golf course and the sea. Then the path is squeezed between the sea and the railway, making for some slightly challenging terrain. Ford a small river, go through a large peaceful caravan park and then continue along the grassy foreshore for several miles. The trail crosses the railway and passes through the lovely village of Portgower and then along old lanes on a hillside on the way into Helmsdale.
Amber , almost Green (partially marked). The seventh stage of the JOGT includes the minor challenges of a) fording the 3-4 metre wide Loth River, b) fording the 1.5 metre wide Kilmote Burn and c) from June through October there will be tall grass, up to 2 ft high, to push your way through. The stage is marked from the burn at the north end of Brora Golf Course until you reach Portgower, a length of approximately 7 miles. Otherwise unmarked. Route description is needed to get from Portgower to Helmsdale by the inland route. Alternatively, the shoreline route past Portgower into Helmsdale is rough and may be tidal.
Beware of cows with calves north of the golf course and also north of Kilmote Burn. Be careful fording burns.
Stage End Information
Helmsdale is the last east coast stop on the Inverness-to-Wick rail line until Wick itself. Helmsdale is accessible by car via the A99 and by buses that connect to Wick, John O’Groats, Thurso, and Inverness. Helmsdale is a small town with several hotels and B&Bs, a youth hostel, a few pub/restaurants, and a couple shops. The excellent Navidale House Hotel, a sumptuously maintained old hunting lodge, is just a km north of central Helmsdale along the main road and also accessible from the walking route. There is also B&B accommodation in the lovely old village of Portgower just 3 km before Helmsdale.