Stage 10: Dunbeath to Lybster

Old Bridge at Latheronwheel

Distance | 7.9 miles | 12.6 km     Status |  Amber 

The tenth stage of the JOGT is a bit rough in places and still involves crossing 2-4 barbed wire fences. It may require walking in tall summer grass along some of its length. The stage is marked except for a half-mile gap midway between Dunbeath and Latheronwheel (See Laidhay Alternate below.) The 2/3 mile from the whale-watching viewpoint down to Lybster harbour is a good developed trail and then the walk into Lybster is along a quiet tarmac road.

The route rises immediately to clifftops and continues outside the fences most of the way. There are wonderful views and several interesting landscape features along the way. The route visits the beautiful harbours of Latheronwheel and Lybster, the abandoned fishing station at Achastle-shore, and the sweeping panorama of Forse Bay with its castle at one end and waterfall at the other.

Burn crossing may be on slippery rocks with risk of falling. Risk of injury on barbed wire. Risk of injury when crossing dry stone dykes due to falling stones. Beware cows in fields in a couple places. Please also note that like much of rural Scotland, ticks may be an issue in areas of long vegetation.

Laidhay Alternate (see orange route on map at the bottom of this page)
This alternate can be used to avoid three large fields where the trail is unmarked and cattle are often present. This alternate only adds 100-200 metres walking but does require around 700 metres of road walking (with a verge).

Northbound: Approximately 1.5 miles/2 km north of Dunbeath you will find yourself walking next to a deer fence on your right. Continue uphill along the deer fence, and as the trail starts to level out and you start to see a view ahead of you, you’ll see an alternate route marker pointing you to the left on a diagonal up across the hillside. Follow that direction, past a pile of stones, and head for a large stile over a double fence. Continue over another double fence stile and then take a diagonal towards the left across that field. Cross one more stile, go up to the A9, turn right and walk along it for about a half mile or 700 metres. While still walking the A9, a stony embankment will rise on your right. After the embankment, at a marker post, turn right off the A9 and head towards the sea and turn right (backtracking slightly) along a sunken deer fence. Follow the deer fence around a corner and downhill between the fence and a stone wall, finally rejoining the main JoGT at a stile.

Southbound: After Latheronwheel Harbour and the old stone bridge, you’ll find yourself walking outside a deer fence for some distance. At the end of the deer fence, turn uphill over a stile and ascend steeply between the deer fence and a stone wall. Turn right at the top corner of the deer fence and continue between fence and stone wall embankment until there is a way up at a marker. Head for the road and turn left and walk about a half mile or 700 metres until you see markers on the left. Follow these over a series of stiles back to the main JoGT.

Download alternate route gpx here.

Stage End Information
Along the walk, there is a friendly butcher shop in Latheronwheel that sells some ready-made food and drink. Lybster is accessible by car via the A99 and by busses that connect to Wick, John O’Groats, Thurso, and Inverness. Lybster is a small town with a couple of each of hotels, pubs, and shops. The long wide Main Street runs from the A99 south to the cliff tops.

More information


North Star Glamping
Luxury Glamping Pods on the edge of the village of Lybster. Pick Up/Drop Off from your Start/Finish points with prior notice.
Approx. 1 mile from end of stage.
Tel: 07747588253
The Windy Roost
Occumster, Lybster
Caithness, KW36AX
Contact: Mandy and Peter Jenkins
Tel: 07958 123668 or Mob.: 07961483270
Email: Website
The Antlers B&B
1 mile north of Lybster, 5 minutes walk from trail.
Main Route

Laidhay Alternate