Read other users walk reports for the long distance trails - and add your own.

NB. This board is for reports on multi-day long distance routes - reports on simply long walks should be added to the standard boards.
Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.

John o groats trail

John o groats trail

Postby giles » Fri Aug 25, 2023 9:55 pm

Route description: John o' Groats Trail

Date walked: 25/08/2023

Time taken: 4 days

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Days 8 to 11

I am quite concerned about the risks to walkers on the John O Groats trail. Narrow strips of 50 cm or so between a field fence and a cliff edge. In many places eroding. In many places the Walk Highlands map compiler has clearly abandoned the official route and his new route is on the map app and I have followed these in some cases over barbed wire fences. The ground is often uneven or overgrown. Fortunately well away from the cliff edge I feel onto my walking pole and snapped it.
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Re: John o groats trail

Postby Jay Wilson » Sat Aug 26, 2023 12:23 pm

Speaking for the charity developing the trail, we do warn users the trail is a work in progress in some places, and that a handful of small landowners have not yet agreed to the placement of stiles or even trail markers. We also emphasise to walkers that anytime they feel unsafe, they should go inside fields to avoid the clifftops. This does mean that there are a limited number of places where walkers need to use common sense and take access over barbed wire fences. Trail markers are provided for reassurance along a coastal route that is usually self-evident. We occasionally see posts about the "official route" being dangerous, but please do not walk with the idea that staying on what you THINK is the official route is more important that your safety!

As for walking on uneven and overgrown ground... this is Scotland. We do strim a large proportion of the trail in summer, but we can't strim everywhere. Come prepared for an adventure on a trail, not a stroll on a path. Also, we find that many people ignore the recommended number of days to complete the trail (14) and try to do it in far less. The epic scenery and the challenges of the trail merit taking your time, to be safe and to enjoy.

For our own part, we are continuously improving the trail to make it safer. Any specific suggestions (with grid references) as to dangers will be attended to.

Jay Wilson, Chair, Friends of the John o’ Groats Trail
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Jay Wilson
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Location: Berriedale, Caithness, Scotland

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