3.4 of 5 (4 votes)

Noss Head and the Caithness coast

A leisurely walk (coast) in Highlands, Scotland, about 8.80km (5.47 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 2:30h. It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Ascent 49m (160ft)
Descent 52m (170ft)
Max. Elevation 50m (164ft)
Altitude Gain & Loss 101m (330ft)
Start & End
Staxigoe, near Wick
Distance 8.80km
Duration ~2:30h
5Created by maryw on 29 Sep 2011
Some striking Caithness coastal scenery can be enjoyed on a walk beginning on the outskirts of Wick, accessed by a regular bus service. The outward coastal route should be safe enough - but do heed the warning about not venturing onto the clifftop side of the fence near the start! Care should also be taken near the castle. 

Walk Functions


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Walk Map

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OS Grid ND382522
Catch the Wick town bus service to the village of Staxigoe, and alight at the end of the route. Turn right and head down to the harbour.
OS Grid ND384524
Some interpretation boards by the old harbour give an insight into life here during the booming herring trade of the 19th century. Very quiet nowadays. Turn north along the track to Field of Noss farm, with a 'Walkers welcome' sign.
About 0.34 km (~0.21 miles) from
OS Grid ND383528
The path goes through the farmyard and then a gate into a field beyond. Follow the right hand edge of the field closely, taking care to avoid trampling growing crops. WARNING: a ramshackle stile is visible at one corner, apparently leading out onto the clifftop - a highly dangerous route and not at all advisable, as the cliffs at this point are high, severely eroded back close to the fence and overgrown with vegetation!! (as viewed in summer 2010). Far safer to stay in the field and then climb over the barbed wire fence to continue, away from the danger zone (whatever alternative walk descriptions may suggest)! The track continues across open grassland, always heading north towards the Noss Head lighthouse.
About 0.47 km (~0.29 miles) from
OS Grid ND387541
The route swings slightly inland to avoid deep sea inlets (geos) at Scholl, and veers northwest a bit towards a gate in the wall enclosing the lighthouse. On reaching the road turn right for the lighthouse.
About 1.35 km (~0.84 miles) from
OS Grid ND386549
The lighthouse is not open to the public, but you can walk around outside and admire the coastal view back towards Wick. Then walk down the tarred road as far as a car park.
About 0.79 km (~0.49 miles) from
OS Grid ND383546
Opposite the car park, turn right onto a track leading to the ruins of Sinclair Girnigoe Castle.
About 0.37 km (~0.23 miles) from
OS Grid ND377549
The castle is situated in a great defensive position on the cliffs, protected by deep, narrow sea geos. The ruins can be viewed from the access track, where there are interpretation boards. See the website www.castlesinclairgirnigoe.org for more information. Good views northwards up the coast towards Duncansby Head. Return by the same track to rejoin the tarred road.
About 0.66 km (~0.41 miles) from
OS Grid ND383545
Turn right and continue down the tarred road.
About 0.72 km (~0.45 miles) from
OS Grid ND377542
The road passes some houses and Noss Farm, bearing to the left before straightening out and running between farmed fields.
About 0.66 km (~0.41 miles) from
OS Grid ND370527
At the back of Wick Airport (no entry), the road turns at a sharp right angle and continues in a straight line back to Staxigoe.
About 1.72 km (~1.07 miles) from
OS Grid ND381521
Past the war memorial to the bus stop, and your return transport to Wick.
About 1.28 km (~0.8 miles) from

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