Stage 11: Lybster to Whaligoe

Occumster Waterfall

Distance | 7.4 miles / 11.9 km     Status |  Amber 

This stage starts from the high street in Lybster and goes along the cliff tops most of the way. It passes a beautiful cascade of waterfalls and a needle-like sea stack before reaching the stunning hidden world that is Clyth Harbour. It then passes more waterfalls and there is a chance to see the remains of ancient sea access steps at The Haven. It ends at the stunning Whaligoe Steps. Please note, if you are continuing on to the next stage, go round to the left of the stone building (a private residence) and follow the markers from there. Please do not go in the private garden gate below the stone building.

There are 2-4 barbed wire fences to cross depending on the exact route walked. There are two or three burns which may be leapt and there will be tall grass on some sections in summer. Most of the stage is marked (For notes on unmarked sections, please see Mid-Clyth Unmarked Fields below.)

Risk of falling when crossing burns. Risk of injury when crossing barbed wire. There is a risk of death from falling off cliffs along most of this stage. Please also note that like much of rural Scotland, ticks may be an issue in areas of long vegetation.

Mid-Clyth Unmarked fields (see orange route on map at the bottom of this page)
There are two places where stiles and markers give out toward the north end of stage 11, at Mid-Clyth and just further north at Bruan. This will require the crossing of some low barbed wire fences. Unfortunately no suitable alternate route exists for these, so the best thing is to be prepared. There is a single GPX file for both Mid-Clyth and Bruan because they are so close to one another.

Northbound: Approximately 1 mile/1.5 km north of the Clythness Lighthouse, after crossing the neck of Halberry Head, there are two small bridges in quick succession. Use these bridges to continue outside the fence. After a minute, cross a stile and continue along the inside of the fence. Ignore the next stile and continue inside. You will then need to cross three low fences to continue inside the fields over the next 600 metres or so. Eventually you encounter a stile and markers again. Continue inside fields for 2/3 mile/1000 metres or more, following markers and crossing stiles, and eventually pass through a thick section of gorse for a minute or two. Then see Bruan Unmarked Field below.

Southbound: After the gorse, follow markers through fields and use stiles to cross two burns for approximately 2/3 mile/1000 metres. Staying inside fields, eventually you’ll find a fence with no stile. Cross the barbed wire here carefully, then cross two more low barbed wire fences, staying inside the fenced fields away from the high cliffs. Eventually after about 600 metres, you find a stile. Don’t use it, but continue to the next one, and go outside the fence there to continue south on marked trail.

Bruan Unmarked Field (see orange route on map at the bottom of this page)
Northbound: After the gorse, you will come close to the A9, with a roofless church nearby. Still in the field, at a marker post, the next fence crossing has no stile. There is a rusty old small gate and just to the left of the gate is a section of fence that has been crushed down. You should be able to cross at the gate or at the crushed fence. Then continue downhill on a diagonal looking for the far lower corner of this field. Coming close to the corner, aim just to the left and cross the fence at a low spot with a helping stepping stone. After that, continue ahead on the level, past a pile of stones, and turn right down a track that runs on a diagonal towards another field corner, where you will again see stiles and markers.

Southbound: Approximately 10 minutes after leaving Whaligoe Steps, markers and stiles will give out at a low barbed wire fence. There is a good place to cross where stones have been arranged to help walkers, and the fence post has a white spot. Cross here and continue up across the field on a diagonal, getting close to but not onto the A9. At the upper corner of the field, cross at a small rusty gate with a marker post just beyond it, or at the very corner where the fence has been crushed down. Once over into the next field, head left and follow the fence line and markers through gorse. After the gorse, see Mid-Clyth Unmarked Fields above.

Download alternate route gpx here.

Stage End Information
Whaligoe is a small community with the Whaligoe Steps historic stone steps. From the A99 look for a sign for the Cairn of Get but go the opposite way from the sign, toward the sea. The steps itself doesn’t have a road-side sign. If coming from the south, look for a red van parked in a field just before Whaligoe, marked “skip hire.” Busses will pick up and drop off on the A99 near this area. As Whaligoe currently has no accommodation, you could stay at Thrumster House or The Lemon Tree, asking them to pick you up from Whaligoe. Alternatively, you could walk as far as Sarclet Harbour and then either walk the 3 extra km to Thrumster House or ask them to collect you from there.

More information:


The Lemon Tree B&B
4 miles north of Lybster
Tel: 01593 721180
Mob: 07561 423417
Main Route

Mid-Clyth & Bruan Alternates