John O’Groats Trail

John O’Groat’s Trail ~ 145 miles (233 km)

The John O’ Groats Trail offers an amazing walk experience over the 147 mile coastal route from Inverness, the Capital of the Highlands, to John O’ Groats in the far north of Scotland.

Walk on isolated shorelines, along cliff tops, around rolling farmland and through forest footpaths in an ever northerly direction that is both exciting and educational in terms of local history and viewing the wildlife of the area.

This is one of the longest trails in Scotland, (50 miles longer than the West Highland Way) and therefore EasyWays is offering the route as separate Southern and Northern Sections over 7/8 overnights with a variation of between 11 and 14 overnights for walkers who want to complete the route in full as one tour.

A carefully selected choice of local inns, B&B’s and small hotels offering the best in Scottish hospitality awaits all who embark on this trail with the option of adding a Day Tour crossing to Orkney for those who arrive at the end point in John O’ Groats and want a snapshot visit to the islands with their rich history of neolithic ruins at the Ring of Brodgar and historic locations such as the Churchill Barriers and Italian Chapel.

 

South Stage 6 days / 7 overnights Inverness to Helmsdale (78.75 miles / 126.25 km)

North Stage 6 days / 7 overnights Helmsdale to John O’ Groats (66 miles / 106.75 km)

Full Trail 11-14 nights Inverness to John O’ Groats (145 miles / 233 km)

 

Ask for information of the Orkney Extension at time of booking enquiry.

Key Symbols

ROUTE TERRAIN

 Moderate to Challenging

ROUTE SIGNPOSTING

Waymarked

NAVIGATIONAL SKILLS

Easy to Moderate

John O’Groat’s Trail ~ 145 miles (233 km)

South Stage 6 days / 7 overnights Inverness to Helmsdale (78.75 miles / 126.25 km)

North Stage 6 days / 7 overnights Helmsdale to John O’ Groats (66 miles / 106.75 km)

Full Trail 11-14 days Inverness to John O’ Groats (145 miles / 233 km)

Easyways Suggested Itinerary

Click each day to expand.

Arrive in Inverness

Arrive in Inverness the vibrant “Capital of the Highlands”

Inverness to Culbokie (15 miles / 24 km)

The official start point of the John O’ Groats Trail begins at Inverness Castle overlooking the River Ness in the centre of Inverness.  The trail follows the river out of the Highland Capital before crossing the Kessock Bridge high above the Beauly Firth by pedestrian walkway before edging around Ord Hill on the Black Isle.  Munlochy Bay then appears following on to the village of Munlochy  and heading north through open farmland to Culbokie.

Time 6 – 7 hours

Ascent 467m

 

 

Culbokie to Alness (9.25 miles / 14.75km)

Depart Culbokie on quiet roads before joining the A9 Causeway across the Cromarty Firth.with spectacular views either side   Please note that this is a very busy crossing and care must be taken at all times.  On the northern side of the first the trail returns to  It then leaves the busy road verge and soon joins a minor road through the village of Evanton that follows the Main A9 to Alness.

Time 3.5 – 4.5 hours

Ascent 92m

Alness to Tain (13 miles / 21 km)

The 3rd Stage of the John O’ Groats Trail continues north east on  minor roads from Alness through the open Easter Ross landscapes and Forestry Commission Plantations  before a final descent into the quant of Tain home of the iconic Glenmorangie Distillery.

Time 5 – 6 hours

Ascent 290m

Tain to Dornoch (8.75 miles / 14km)

Today the trail crosses the Dornoch Firth, once again by a causeway leaving Easter Ross behind and entering the county of Sutherland.  Before crossing find time to visit the Glenmorangie Distillery which is located on the south side of the firth.

This stage is offers varied walking with some walking alongside the Main A9 road before reaching  a mix of paths, minor roads, and woodland.  This is a particularly beautiful part of the route where it is possible to see large offshore oil exploration platforms moored in the deep water of the firth.

Time 4 – 4.5 hours

Ascent 51m

Dornoch to Golspie (13.75 miles / 22 km)

The fifth stage of the trail involves mainly coastal walking departing Dornoch to head north past The Royal Dornoch Golf Course and the seaside holiday village at Embo.  Thereafter the route encircles Loch Fleet crossing by way of the A9 and the Mound Rock to leave the road and return through Balblair Wood to reach shoreline pathways beside the town golf course into Golspie.

Time  6.5 – 7 hours

Ascent 127m

Golspie to Helmsdale (19 miles / 30.5 km) - Option to split day

Depart Golspie by the Main A9 road to the north edge of the town where the trail heads off towards the coastline by way of a small bridge over Golspie Burn.  Heading north the route then passes the magnificent Dunrobin Castle following the shore all the way until reaching the lovely town of Brora.

The route to Brora marks the 6th Stage of the JOG Trail (6.25 miles / 10 km)

Depart Brora on a route between the local golf course and the pristine shoreline sands, crossing Loth Burn (where care must be taken in crossing), before continuing between the coast and the railway and eventually climbing to Portgower where it crosses the A9 once again and the rail line before descending through farmland on minor roads into Helmsdale.

Time  8.5 – 10 hours

Ascent 259m

If you wish to split this day, with an additional overnight in Brora, please make note of this in the enquiry form.

Helmsdale to Dunbeath (15.25 miles / 24.75 km) - Option to split day

The intial stage of today’s walk to Berradale is the most elevated section of the trail, crossing moorland high above the coastal cliffs offering views of the Ord of Caithness Headland.   Two ravines then follow on track through moorland to cross a steep gorge with rushing Ousdale Burn before passing an ancient prehistoric broch and the ruins of Badbea Village where the local population were driven off their homes to relocate during the time of the Highland Clearances.

The route to Berridale marks the 8th Stage of the JOG Trail (9 miles / 14.5 km)

The route from Berridale to Dunbeath, starts at the swing bridge over the Berriedale Water and  ascends to continues on cliff top trails offering wonderful views and several interesting landscape features along the way. There is a fine coastal arch, a waterfall falling into the sea and an impressive rock stack along the way.

Time  10 – 11.5 hours

Ascent 1,072m

If you wish to split this day, with an additional overnight in Berridale, please make note of this in the enquiry form.

 

Dunbeath to Lybster (8.75 miles / 14.25 km)

A dramatic coastal walk along cliff tops that links the harbours of Dunbeath, Latheronwheel and Lybster.  Today encounter sea stacks, a natural arch and a ruined castle with the challenge of three ravines to cross and where landowners have retained some fences to cross.  Terrain can be uncertain at times over uneven ground and therefore care must be taken at all times.

Time  5 – 6 hours

Ascent 549m 

Lybster to Whaligoe (7.5 miles / 12km)

Wonderful scenery dominates this stage of the John O’ Groats Trail with sea stacks, waterfalls and a number if inland ravines.  Pass the ancient secluded Clyth Harbour before reaching the famous Whaligoe Steps, the remains of ancient sea access steps at The Haven Harbour. Once again care must be taken on this section as there are many fences to cross and the terrain can be difficult at times.

Time  5 – 6 hours

Ascent 580m

Whaligoe to Wick (10.75 miles / 17.25 km)

Begin the 12th Stage of the trail today by departing the stunning Whaligoe Steps by the left of the stone building (a private residence) and follow the markers to the north. Continue along cliff tops, through scattered farms before passing a fascinating hole with a view straight down to the sea. Witness spectacular natural arches and sea stacks to arrive at the pretty harbour of Sarclet before reaching the ruins of Old Wick Castle to end in the town of Wick, the largest settlement on the John o’ Groats Trail.

Time  5 – 6 hours

Ascent 882m

Wick to Keiss (10.5 miles / 17 km)

The penultimate stage of the trail departs the town of Wick on clifftop walking past Wick Airport to continue north to Noss Head lighthouse, the dramatic ruins of Castle Girnigoe and the impressive Ackergill Tower (now a hotel) to reach the long set of sands at Sinclair’s Bay. This stage can be demanding in inclement weather and involves crossing the River of Wester that enters the sea at the mid-point of the sands and can be almost impassible at times and a detour inland to the A99 road is required to pass safely into Keiss.

Time  5 – 6 hours

Ascent 200m

Keiss to John O’ Groats (13.25 miles / 21.5 km)

The final stage of the trail passes the impressive ruin of Keiss Castle and follows the coast passing Nybster Broch with wonderful clifftop scenery around Freswick Bay to reach  Duncansby Sea Stacks and the Duncansby Lighthouse before arriving at John O’Groats and the end of the trail and the iconic signpost known all over the world.

Time  6 – 7 hours

Ascent 325m

Depart John O'Groat's

Congratulations – you have completed The John O’Groat’s Trail! After breakfast, it is time to set off on your onward journey.

South Trail – 6 days / 7 overnights Inverness to Helmsdale – from £675.00 per person

North Trail –  6 days / 7 overnights Helmsdale to John O’ Groats – from £685.00 per person

Full Trail – 11 to 14 days Inverness to John O’ Groats – from £995.00 (11 days)

Prices based on sharing a twin/double room with en-suite facilities

Full trail price – dependant on requested number of overnights.  Itineraries available 11 – 14 overnights.

Single supplement – On request

What’s included?

  • Accommodation for 2 people sharing in quality en-suite B&Bs, guest houses, inns and hotels.
  • Breakfast each day
  • JOG Trail Guide Book
  • GPS Mapping App detailing full tour routing
  • Travel information to the start and from the finish point of the walk
  • Suggested equipment list
  • Emergency support

What’s not included?

  • Evening meals
  • Packed lunches and drinks
  • Travel Insurance

MAP

Photo Gallery

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