Walking in Scotland: Walks in Sutherland

For the purposes of these pages, Sutherland stretches from Loch Assynt to Cape Wrath. This is a varied, wild and dramatic landscape, from the remote interior of Sutherland to the rugged coastline with its sheer sea cliffs, crashing waves and golden stretches of sand. Sutherland is noted for its beautiful beaches, from the beaches on the north-west coastline at Sandwood Bay and Oldshore Mor to the beaches on the northern coast at Faraid Head, Bettyhill and Strathy. The different landscapes of Sutherland provide a wide variety of walks from the relatively easy walk to Eas Coul Aulin, Britain’s highest waterfall, to the more strenuous climb up Scotland’s most north-westerly Munro, Ben Hope.

Here is a map of Sutherland.

sutherl

Walks

Easy:

Moderate:

  • Eas Coul Aulin, 300 ft, 5 miles: An easy walk on rough, rocky stalkers’ paths to the highest waterfall in Britain. The stream you follow eventually becomes the waterfall, disappearing over the cliff-edge.
  • Faraid Head, 400 ft, 7 miles: A series of walks across a sandy beach and over cliff-tops on Scotland’s north-westerly coasline. East of Durness lies Smoo Cave, a large cave in limestone cliffs with an 80 foot-high waterfall. Public transport to start of walk.
  • Sandwood Bay, height negligible, 6 miles: An easy walk on peat cutters’ paths over moorland to the remotest beach in Britain. Sandwood Bay, reputed to be haunted, is a glorious golden stretch of sand with a sea stack.
  • Stoer Point and the Old Man of Stoer, 300 ft, 5 miles: An exhilerating walk along cliff tops to see the Old Man of Stoer. An excellent place for watching birds and seals.

Hard:

  • Ben Hope, 3000 ft, 6 miles: A straightforward climb up Scotland’s most north-westerly Munro. On a clear day you can see the Orkney Islands.

Maps

OS Landranger 1: 50,000
No 9: Cape Wrath
No 15: Loch Assynt & Surrounding Area

See individual walks for recommended maps.

Further Information

  • West Highland Walks Volume Two: Skye to Cape Wrath by Hamish MacInnes, published by Hodder & Stoughton.
  • The Munros by the Scottish Mountaineering Club.
  • The Corbetts and Lesser Hills by Scottish Mountaineering Club.
  • The Scottish Peaks by W. A. Poucher, published by Constable.
  • 100 Best Routes on Scottish Mountains by Ralph Storer, published by Sphere.
  • Enjoy Assynt and Sutherland by the Assynt Community Association Tourist Group. Available from the Sutherland Tourist Board, Information Centre, The Square, Dornoch IV25 3SD (01862 810400).
  • Scotland’s North Coast by the Caithness and Sutherland Tourist Board, Information Centre, The Square, Dornoch IV25 3SD (01862 810400).
  • Climbing in Sutherland Leaflet by the Sutherland Tourist Board, Information Centre, The Square, Dornoch IV25 3SD (01862 810400).
  • Explore the Durness Area: Walking in Durness. Published by the Highland Region Ranger Service.
  • The Cape Wrath Trail by David Paterson, published by Peak Publishing, 88 Cavendish Road, London SW12 0DF (ISBN: 0 9521908 1 8).

Stalking Information: Telephone Numbers

  • (01847 611291) Ben Loyal
  • (01847 611226) Ben Hope (east)
  • (01549 411248) Ben Hope (all other routes)
  • (01971 500223) Foinaven (south) + Arkle
  • (01971 521282) Foinaven (north)
  • (01971 511224) Beinn Spionnaidh + Cranstackie
  • (01549 411521) Ben Kilbreck

Accommodation

Assynt Field Centre (B&B and Hostel)

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