Walk 3101 - printer friendly version
Ben Bhraggie traverse from Golspie Walk
Author - Andy Smith
Length - 4.7 miles / 7.6 km
Ascent - 1300 feet / 394 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference NC833001
Lat 57.974802 + Long -3.9747173
Postcode KW10 6RF (approx. location only)
Sutherland is a sparsely populated part of Scotland and gives a true sense that you are approaching the northernmost end of the Britain. The region around the Dornoch Firth is quite mountainous and gives a surprisingly impressive introduction of the northeast coast of the Scottish mainland.
The primary objective of the walk is Ben Bhraggie. The statue just below the summit commemorates the life of the first Duke of Sutherland, which to this day is still highly controversial. Although well known for his achievements in road building and transport, he was heavily criticised for the large-scale eviction of thousands of people from their homes and Glens to achieve land improvements for farming communities. Whilst in the area, a must visit is Dunrobin Castle, approximately half a mile north of Golspie. This remarkable building was last rebuilt in 1845, and apart from being the largest, it is also the most northerly stately home on the British mainland.
The walk starts from the main car park behind the supermarket in the town centre of Golspie (grid ref. NC833001). From here, head north out of the town passing the fountain and continue through Rhives Farm taking the path to the left into the forest. Within minutes the path reaches a crossroad. Carry straight over until the next junction where you turn right to head north through the forest. Take time to find the huge variation of fungi on the forest floor, including the likes of Winter Fungus, Fly Agaric and Sickener.
Around 1km further on, the path reaches a T-junction. Turn left here on the wide path with the stone wall to your left. You are now on the recently built, EU funded, mountain bike track. Although this track is shared with bikers, it does not present too many problems as the path has adequate width to pass, although it pays to be alert at all times! Stay on this track as it leads you out of the forest and onto the northeast face of Ben Bhraggie.
After half an hour of climbing the path turns back on itself to reach the summit with the huge statue coming into view. At 100 foot tall this can be seen for miles down the coast. To the south, you can take in views right across Dornoch Firth towards Inverness 58 miles away and northwards the high peaks on the coast can just be seen if you know where to look. To return to Golspie, leave the statue by the steep track heading southeast towards the town below. Cross the mountain bike track back down into the forest and past the farm. Continue on the outward route back into town where a great morning on one of Sutherland's greatest coastal mountains is complete.