Dunnet to Brora on the North Coast 500

Not such a long section to travel today so after a morning walk on the beach we head southwards. The sun still shines but the cool wind follows us onto the east coast. At various points we spot oil platforms out in the North Sea. We stop in a tiny car park to walk onto the cliff top to visit the sad remains of Badbea, established during the Highland Clearances. At the end of the 18th Century tenant farmers and crofters were evicted by their landowners to make way for more sheep farming. They had to build their own homes from the rocks strewn on the cliff top and scratch a living in whatever way they could. This was a dificult existence in a harsh landscape where livestock and even their children would be tethered to posts to stop them from being blown off the cliff top! I thought this was a very atmospheric and sobering place.

Poster depicting Badea Clearance village

Poster depicting Badbea Clearance village

Our lunch stop was the very pretty little village of Helmsdale, the origins of which were also as a resettlement destination during the Clearances. There was a bit of a gold rush here in 1869! Herring fishing was once big here and there’s a lovely little harbour. We visited the excellent Timespan – museum, gallery, archive, shop and riverside cafe, well worth a visit.

Helmsdale Harbour

Helmsdale harbour


Timespan sign, Hemsdale

Timespan, Helmsdale

Timespan riverside cafe Helmsdale

Timespan riverside cafe

From here it was a short hop onwards to Brora and yes, it was a site with just a short stroll across a golf course to the beach, much to Brodie’s delight! Brora’s claim to fame is that it was the first place in the north of Scotland to get electricity, due to its wool industry.










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