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"Golspie's hidden gem" - the Big Burn gorge

"Golspie's hidden gem" - the Big Burn gorge


Postby denfinella » Mon Sep 30, 2013 10:46 pm

Route description: Big Burn, Golspie

Date walked: 10/08/2013

Time taken: 1 hours

Distance: 3 km

Ascent: 80m

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The eternal summer of July and August 2013 allowed for days and days of worthwhile trips, and one of these was a six-day stay in Helmsdale, way up north on the A9 between Inverness and John o' Groats. We'd never been any further on the east coast than Alness before, so this was all unexplored territory. First stop, Glenmorangie Distillery and picturesque Tain, but the first walk was a ramble around the Big Burn at Golspie.

The A9 parking area for the walk is marked by a very small sign as is easy to miss (we did!). Once parked up, navigation around the loop is very straightforward. First the path meanders along by the streambed, which wasn't very full of water but was littered with large boulders - evidence that the name "Big Burn" is fully justified. It probably doesn't reach the top of the railway arch though...

1.jpg

The next section of the walk is pleasant rather than dramatic, with lush greenery and a couple of tributaries crossing the path. Abruptly the mood of the place changed as we approached the sudden gorge section - tall, vertical rock walls and a succession of bridges over the stream - this would be an awe-inspiring place during spate conditions.

2.jpg

And on to the waterfall - this is hidden until the very last moment, and accessed by a dead-end path built on a wooden walkway. The whole cascade can't really be captured in a single photo (the photo is just the bottom of the falls), but was impressive nonetheless, and was certainly a popular spot - loads of foreign tourists there as well today!

3.jpg

Returning to the last junction, we climbed steeply around the top of the falls (the views are much more restricted from up here), and slowly round past a car park and back downstream, traversing the side of the valley all the way back to the start, rejoining the outward path midway. A pretty millpond en route:

4.jpg


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This walk is in the perfect location (and the perfect length) for a leg-stretcher on the long journey up the A9 - but this downplays what an attractive place the Big Burn is. Recommended!

Next day: Holborn Head: http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=36845
Last edited by denfinella on Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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denfinella
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Re: "Golspie's hidden gem" - the Big Burn gorge

Postby basscadet » Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:56 pm

As a Golspie girl I must of spent a total of months in these and surrounding woods - such a bonny spot, in all weathers :)
Its easy to make a longer circuit taking in Ben bhraggie and an even longer loop out to Dunrobin through the dairy woods from there to Dunrobin and back along the beach if you were making a day of it. :thumbup:
Oh and the millpond you passed is known locally as the curling rink, so maybe there wasn't a mill close by.. I remember building and putting up a load of batboxes in the surrounding trees when I was in primary school :lol:
The millpond was a little bit up the road toward backies if I remember right.. :crazy:
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Re: "Golspie's hidden gem" - the Big Burn gorge

Postby denfinella » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:31 pm

basscadet wrote:As a Golspie girl I must of spent a total of months in these and surrounding woods - such a bonny spot, in all weathers :)
Its easy to make a longer circuit taking in Ben bhraggie and an even longer loop out to Dunrobin through the dairy woods from there to Dunrobin and back along the beach if you were making a day of it. :thumbup:
Oh and the millpond you passed is known locally as the curling rink, so maybe there wasn't a mill close by.. I remember building and putting up a load of batboxes in the surrounding trees when I was in primary school :lol:
The millpond was a little bit up the road toward backies if I remember right.. :crazy:


There's something about wooded, intimate areas that make them rewarding in all weathers. We actually walked around Dunrobin Castle on the way back to Aberdeen at the end of the holiday - will probably add a trip report at some point.

Interesting point about the curling pond - I think I read that somewhere too. However it did also have what appeared to be a lade running out of it, remaining above the level of Big Burn and heading off through the railway embankment to somewhere.

Probably shouldn't argue with a local lass though :P
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Re: "Golspie's hidden gem" - the Big Burn gorge

Postby Johnny Corbett » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:44 am

Will keep this in mind for next time i'm in the area.
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