Helmsdale Explorer (Overview)

Station(s)

Helmsdale (on Far North Line between Inverness & Thurso)

Walk Length & Gradient

3.75 miles circular (Jaunt), hilly

OS Explorer map(s)

444 Helmsdale & Strath of Kildonan

Walk Link(s) and Source(s)

External Website: Walkhighlands

Walk Description

A short but very varied route. Passing through Helmsdale’s village centre, you wander past the harbour before venturing east along secluded beaches before climbing away from the coast for spectacular views back across to the village, the sea, and up the Strath of Kildonan. Finally,the route descends to finish by the pretty Helmsdale river.

Other Useful Information

This route begins in the car park next to the public toilets at the west end of the village high street, which is a short walk downhill and over the bridge across the Helmsdale river from the station.

There is a convenience store as well as eating establishments in Helmsdale, including a riverside café at the excellent Timespan museum, a visit to which is thoroughly recommended. The museum covers the eventful history of the area, including the boom and bust of the herring fishing industry; the dark  period of the Highland Clearances; the 1869 gold rush at Kildonan; the shameful burning of the last witch in Sutherland; Pictish mythology and the Borrobol Stone; the last Wolf in Sutherland shot in 1700; the poisoning at Helmsdale Castle and the history of domestic making and craft essential for the parish’s agriculture and fishing industries.

There is convenient and comfortable self-catering accommodation available for groups of up to eight people in the Helmsdale station building. The accommodation makes a perfect base for a stay in the area, and for more walks from stations along the Far North line! The station is run as a community project, with all proceeds going to station improvements, promoting the Far North Line and assisting community projects in and around Helmsdale.