Thursday, 27 April 2017


Golspie → Brora

sputie-burn-waterfall.jpg Distance: 7.04 miles
Ascent: 122 metres
Duration: 2 hours 38 minutes

Done robbing
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dunrobin-castle.jpgGolspie seems to be dominated by two reminders of its former overlords: the huge statue of the first Duke of Sutherland, up on a hill overlooking the town (more on this one later), and Dunrobin Castle, which lies a short walk to the north. Unlike some of the bleak ruins that we've seen along the coast, the castle has survived changes in power and fortune and still stands, a white, Disneyesque riot of pointed roofs and narrow towers, on a low rocky outcrop. The seat of Clan Sutherland, the current building was extensively remodelled during the early 19th century and now resembles a French chateau, but the original was a sparser and more obviously defensive building, which had seen off an attempted Jacobite invasion. Its owner at that time passed it to his daughter, the future duchess Elizabeth, who was instrumental in clearing her tenants from their long-held grazing land to the wind-blasted coastal strips where they eked out a difficult living. It was hard to walk past Dunrobin without thinking about this, and the extreme imbalance of power at work.

carn-liath-broch.jpgIn sharp contrast, the Iron Age broch at Carn Liath was striking for its size and engineering skill. The northeast of Scotland has a lot of broch sites but Can Liath was the best-preserved example that we've seen so far; there's enough left of the building to explore the hollow wall construction, and follow the network of guard chambers on the way in to the circular central space. On a warm, sunny day like today, with a sight of the sea, it felt like a beautiful way to live.


An easy walk along the grassy foreshore gave way to a shingly beach, and the glorious double mini waterfall of the Sputie Burn, which pours into a clear pool on its way out to the sea. After a brief pause to enjoy the scent of the gorse, the sound of the rushing water, and the sight of an inquisitive seal watching us, we headed on to Brora where we were met at a boat shed by The Softest Cat In Scotland™. A lovely end to a stunning walk.

Notes for future walkers:

  • There is a signposted shoreline footpath all the way from Golspie to Brora.

    Posted by pab at 21:19 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!