John o'Groats Trail: Brora to Helmsdale

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The seventh stage of the John o'Groats Trail heads along the superb golden sands from Brora before continuing between the coast and the railway and eventually climbing to Portgower (B&B), then descending through farmland on minor roads to Helmsdale (all services). Livestock in fields, one river crossing may require wading. Mostly waymarked.


Short sections next to fenced railway are stony and narrow (easier walking on the beach at low tide), overgrown vegetation and long grass make the going difficult in places, Loth Burn sometimes requires wading (could be impassable in spate conditions).

Public Transport

Brora and Helmsdale are both served and linked by bus and train.


Centre of Brora, next to Co-op supermarket. Open start point in Google Maps for directions.

Hillwalking in Winter

Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. All route descriptions and difficulties given here are for summer conditions. See our Winter Skills page for basic information on the essential skills, techniques and knowledge needed for winter hillwalking.

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