A new long distance trail linking Inverness and John o’ Groats has been developed and is now featured on Walkhighlands at this link: John o’ Groats Trail guide.
The challenging route is 235.5km long and is split into 14 stages and there is accommodation and public transport at or near most of the stage ends. The Trail will provide a vital missing link for Land’s End to John o’ Groats walkers. The route was devised by Jay Wilson, who lives at Berriedale. It’s an unofficial route but Jay and an enthusiastic group of volunteers have been busy adding waymarks, stiles and cutting back undergrowth with the aim that the Trail will become a recognised and popular two-week option for both backpackers and those wanting accommodation along the way.
Starting from Inverness (the end of the Great Glen Way) the Trail follows minor roads, pavements and sometimes overgrown paths to cross the Black Isle and head to Alness and then Tain in Easter Ross, before crossing the firth to the beautiful small town of Dornoch. It then becomes a coastal walk, first to Golspie and Brora, and takes to the increasingly spectacular clifftops to pass through Helmsdale, Dunbeath and Lybster en route for Wick. From Wick the cliffs continue until the broad sweep of Sinclair’s Bay leads to Keiss, and a grand and majestic clifftop finale leads to Duncansby Head – the most northeasterly point of the UK mainland. John o’ Groats is a short walk beyond the headland and provides a very satisfying finale to this epic route.
The man behind the Trail, Jay Wilson told Walkhighlands, ““When I set out to walk a coastal route to John o’ Groats back in the summer of 2014, I had no idea it would grow into the project we are embarked on today. We have a dedicated team of volunteers who are motivated by our love of this beautiful coast, and we have been so pleased by the support from the communities and especially the cooperation of the landowners, without whom none of this could happen.”
Jay added that he hopes the new trail will inspire, “From the cliff-carved fishing harbours like Sarclet and Whaligoe to one of the highest sea arches in Britain, from puffin colonies to migrating whales, I hope all walkers will find something to love.”
Work on developing the trail is wholly dependent on voluntary support and the Friends of the John o’ Groats Trail needs funding to continue their work – for more details and to donate see their fundraising page.
To start planning your adventure, check out the detailed description with free OS 1:25,000 mapping of the John o’ Groats Trail on Walkhighlands.