Stage 14: Keiss to John o’ Groats

 ! Alert ! 
Freswick and Skirza Harbour

Owing to landowner concerns about the safety of the cliff and beach route between Freswick and Skirza Harbour, the route between GR ND378677 and ND386680 is temporarily closed. Please use the Skirza road: Northbound following the track to the road before turning east for approx. 1km until signs for the Harbour, once at the harbour rejoin the coastal route. Southbound, at Skirza Harbour follow the road until a T junction, turn west and continue for approx. 1km until a track with a green Path sign, follow this to the beach and rejoin the Trail here.

Stacks of Duncansby

13.6 miles | 22.1 km

From Keiss the walk is mostly along cliff tops with particularly beautiful walking between Samuel’s Geo and Bucholly Castle. Then Ness Head provides a sweeping view of Freswick Bay and previews the next few miles. After Skirza Head the walk becomes largely a stroll (though sometimes a boggy one), taking in the beautiful Stacks of Duncansby and then Duncansby Head lighthouse.

 Green  (marked). There are one or two gates to climb across. From the beach at Freswick, take a track up to the road and go along the road until you follow a sign for the harbour. From there resume the coastal walk. Please don’t walk to the road end and through Skirza Farm. From Skirza Farm to JOG, the trail is mostly a lovely stroll with the exception of a few boggy bits. The most difficult sections are approaching Freswick from the south and at Skirza Head, both of which become overgrown July-September.

Risk of injury on barbed wire. There is a risk of death from falling off cliffs along most of this stage.

Stage End Information
John o’ Groats is at the end of a minor road and is served by buses from Thurso, Gills Bay, and connecting through Wick to Inverness. Beware that not all busses stop by the main car park in John O’Groats (at the bottom of the hill near the visitor centre). Some busses that come from Gills Bay only stop up the hill at the junction of the A99 and the A836, in front of the Seaview Hotel. There is also ferry service to the Orkneys from John o’ Groats.

More information:


Alba Sunrise B&B
2 miles north of Keiss and about 1 mile from the trail.
Mob: 07833670958
Landline: 01955 631340
The Naze Guesthouse
1.5 miles north of Keiss, 100 metres off the trail across one field.
Book on Airbnb