View from Ord of Caithness
8.9 miles | 14.4 km
This stage starts in central Helmsdale and goes along near the shore below cliffs before climbing to cliff tops for spectacular views of the Ord of Caithness headland. You’ll cross two ravines and then an old track that runs for over a mile through moorland. Then you’ll cross a steep gorge with rushing Ousdale Burn at the bottom. Then walk past the ruined houses of the clearance village of Badbea and then follow another old track high above the sea before descending through pastures with strange follies into tiny Berriedale.
Amber The eighth stage of the JOGT is a rough walk. The first 1.5 miles are along a core path on the foreshore: easy going. The next 2 miles to the county boundary involve walking along cliff tops through high summer grass and bracken, while crossing two small burns. The county boundary is marked by a deer fence which you cross at a ladder stile, about 8 feet high. After that, you need to negotiate your way down a steep slope (overgrown in summer) and then cross Ousdale Burn on a bridge. After the burn, it’s just a walk through hillside grazing land and open moorland. There is no barbed wire without a stile. The stage is marked north of the county boundary (the Ord of Caithness).
Take care in stepping or leaping across burns. The deer fence crossing is a high ladder stile. Pastures descending into Berriedale often contain cattle; beware bulls and cows with calves.
Stage End Information
Berriedale is on the A9 and is served by the X98/X99 Stagecoach service. Berriedale has a cafe (open every day between mid-March and mid-December 10am-4pm) and a jewellery shop. There is one B&B located one mile further north along the trail (see listing below.) There are also weekly rental accommodations if you want to base yourself at Berriedale. Otherwise there are no other services or accommodation between Helmsdale and Dunbeath.