Stage 8: Helmsdale to Berriedale

View from Ord of Caithness

Distance | 8.9 miles / 14.4 km     Status |  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 some walking near cliffs. This area can become overgrown in the summer. The county boundary is marked by a deer fence with a large kissing gate. After that, you need to walk down a steep staircase (can be 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. Stiles are provided at all fences. The stage is marked.

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.

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. Please also note that like much of rural Scotland, ticks may be an issue in areas of long vegetation.

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 are weekly rental accommodations if you want to base yourself at Berriedale. The Halfway House listed below is the only nightly accommodation available between Helmsdale and Dunbeath.

More information


The Halfway House
Approximately 1 mile north of Berriedale, 5 minutes walk from trail.
Private bedrooms, shared bathrooms, shared cooking facilities, meals available.
Tent sites available with bathroom and kitchen access.
Accommodation for trail walkers only: share stories, make friends.
Tel: 07526 281088