North Highland Way
The North Highland Way
The North Highland Way (NHW) links up with the Cape Wrath Trail (CWT) in the west which was officially opened in January 2013 and the Moray Firth trail in the east.
The full length of the route John O’Groats to Cape Wrath is 116 miles by road and 150 miles round the coast and goes through some of the most spectacular countryside in Scotland, if not in the world.
The ultimate aim is to develop a route akin to the South West Path and the Welsh Coastal Path.
The walk can be completed in different ways, with a route by road and a route along paths and wild walking usually done in 13 stages, though it can be done in 10. Some of the current 'path' route is in fact on the road, especially around Loch Eriboll, and the organisers are working hard to ensure that access issues are addressed by working closely with the Highland Council Access Officer and land owners.
Of course you can work out a mixture of the available routes. However, if you would like, the
organisers can write you a bespoke route in consultation with you.
Other routes are being developed to form circular walks that take in part of the NHW, ideal for those staying in one place and wanting to experience parts of the coastline.
There are good bus services and accommodation so please check www.northhighland-way.com for details
It is very remote in various areas so please bear in mind that you may not have a mobile phone signal for long periods of time and distance.
The section between Thurso to Fresgoe Harbour at Reay is currently difficult to traverse and it is recommended that parties walk along the road, it is highly recommended that high-vi clothing is worn and all care and attention is paid.
On reaching the 'wild' part of the NHW it becomes a lot more rugged than the east side with quite a lot of steep geos to circumnavigate but the views are spectacular! There are four quite large hills between Armadale and Kirtomy to the navigated. It is not recommended that you traverse this section alone.
It should be noted that for any walk(s) along the NHW, as a precaution, walkers should ALWAYS leave details of your route and timings with someone.
Another difficult section is the part between Achininver and Hope. The organisers are trying to get land owners permission to place way markers to assist walkers but walkers should avoid attempting this section alone.
The section from Hope to the Cape Wrath ferry is logged as being partly on the road due to the proximity to cliff edges. From the Ferry you can either go around the coast or follow the good track to the Cape Wrath Lighthouse, where there is also a small cafe. For the trip back it is suggested that the minibus is used otherwise you might miss the last ferry.
There's information about access - rights and responsibilities - on the Scottish Natural Heritage and Outdoor Access websites.
The people behind the North Highland Way
The North Highland Way was first mooted back in 1992 by the local walking group, the Caithness Waybaggers. Unfortunately they could not get any backing. LetsGoNorth was a tourism initiative promoting the north of Scotland. The North Highland Way was just one of its projects.
Now it is being taken forward by Ian Ellis who walked the full route and registered the route with Walkingworld. He is at the moment trying to get assistance from anybody who would like to donate time and effort in any shape or form.
Information can be found on our Caithness and Sutherland pages.
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North Highland Way: a walk from historic Dwarwick Pier along the coast and three miles of golden beach at Dunnet, culminating at the Castlehill Trail, the home of the Caithness flagstone industry. Return via Dunnet Forest and Dunnet. This walk links... More info
A linear walk from the north-easterly point of the UK to an idyllic small pier.... More info
The North Highland Way takes walkers to the most northerly point of the UK.... More info
This is a linear walk following a section of the North Highland Way, mainly along the coast.... More info
A road-walk to Fresgoe Harbour near Reay.... More info
Part of the wild side of Caithness.... More info
This walkis a mixture of coast and small villages.... More info
A walk taking in all types of surfaces.... More info
A short road-walk through the countryside.... More info
A walk round the wild part of Sutherland!... More info