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Northern Highlands of Scotland

30 Year Anniversary 1994 - 2024This ALL INCLUSIVE guided hiking tour of Northern Scotland takes us to the remote North Highlands. From the low country of Caithness in the north-east to the spectacular mountains of Torridon and Sutherland in the north-west. You can’t wish for a more scenic Scottish hike in the most spectacular and varied scenery. There is an abundance of archaeological and historical sites and excellent hiking.

We’ll never be far from the coast with spectacular sea lochs, high cliffs, and rocky bays, caves and arches. Always something new to draw you on around the next corner. Scotland at it’s best!

Prices:US$ 6999
US$ 1350 Single Supp
Duration: 10 days

2018 Certificate of Excellence

Itinerary Information

Northern Highlands of Scotland 2025
Date: TBDDepart Inverness Airport 11 am
Return Inverness Airport 5 pm
Duration: 10 days
US$ 6999
US$ 1350 Single Supp


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Tour Highlights

  • Walk along Dunbeath Water with numerous ancient monuments and a spectacular gorge
  • Camster long and round cairns, Caithness
  • View across Loch Torridon
  • Hike on Bealach Na Ba, Applecross
  • Geology of Assynt and view from Knockan Crag
  • Ruins of Ardvreck Castle, Loch Assynt
  • The ever changing shape of Suilven
  • Walking among the stunning scenery of Sutherland

Included In Tour

  • Inverness Airport pick up and drop- off
  • 9 nights 3-4 star accommodation (en suite)
  • All land transportation
  • All boat / ferry transportation
  • Entrance to museums
  • 9 guided walks
  • 9 breakfasts and 8 packed lunches
  • 8 evening meals
  • Evening meetings to set the scene for the next day's hiking
  • Escort of full-time guide
  • Escort of local guides

Beautiful Scottish lake and mountains

Day 1: Travel from Inverness to Helmsdale

We will meet you in Inverness and travel to our accommodation in Helmsdale where we’ll stay three nights.

Overnight: Helmsdale, Sutherland.

Meals Included: Dinner.

Enjoying the beautiful view on the low country of Caithness

Day 2: Dunbeath Strath

The first walk of our tour will be in Dunbeath Strath along Dunbeath Water. The path runs along a gorge through ancient woodland and then reaches open ground. We will see many interesting sites along the way, including an old mill built in 1850/1860, the site of a monastery, an Iron Age broch (fort), a deserted settlement from around 1800 and various chambered cairns. We will visit the Dunbeath Heritage Museum after the walk. On the way back we’ll have a short walk to the remains of the Badbea clearance village, where people that were cleared from their land in the 18th century were forced to live.

Walking Distance: 6 miles and 825 ft ascent

Overnight: Helmsdale, Sutherland.  Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Beautiful sea view at sunset

Day 3: Caithness

Drive farther north into Caithness to explore the wealth of archaeological sites in this part of the north Highlands. Most of Caithness is now uninhabited, but the remains show that this area was highly populated in the past.There are a large number of Neolithic and Iron Age sites. Short walks will take us to some of them, including the Grey Cairns of Camster: two Neolithic tombs ( a long cairn and a round cairn) built more than 5,000 years ago, and the Hill o’Many Stanes, consisting of about 200 small stones arranged in rows running down a low hill. They were placed about 4,000 years ago, possibly for gatherings and religious ceremonies. Large arrangements of stone rows like this are rare.

Walking Distance: 5 miles and 730 ft ascent.

Overnight: Helmsdale, Sutherland. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Stunning views across the loch

Day 4: Helmsdale – Torridon

We will leave the east coast and travel to Torridon on the west coast. Here we’ll do a very scenic walk south of Loch Torridon offering stunning views across the loch to the Torridon mountains and down to the sea.The walk starts with going round a peninsula covered in Scots Pine forest.We continue inland along the river Balgy to the Falls of Balgy where the river drops down in a powerful cascade. Our route continues upstream to Loch Damh, surrounded by mountains. From here we will walk down a track back to the road.

Walking Distance: 4.75 miles and 575ft of ascent

Overnight: Achnasheen, Wester Ross. Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Spectacular views into the surrounding forests and mountains,

Day 5: Applecross Peninsula

We drive onto Britain’s most spectacular pass, the Bealach Na Ba. Weather permitting, our first hike on the peninsula will be from the highest point of the pass into the Applecross peninsula. From here we’ll walk up Sgurr a’ Chaorachain 2600ft/792m. Our walk starts at 2000ft/600m, so it is a nice short hill walk with spectacular views into the surrounding corries and mountains, getting better with every step. On a clear day the views are all the way to the Isles of Raasay, Skye and Rum. We will visit Applecross after the walk, another pretty village, where we’ll have a number of walks to choose from, including a walk to the Coral beaches.

Walking Distance: 7 miles, and 1790ft of ascent.

Overnight: Achnasheen, Wester Ross. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Northern Highlands of Scotland

Day 6: Torridon

We have a number of options around Torridon from coastal walks till hill walks.There is a very nice coastal walk from Diabeg to the bothy at Craig or if we are up for a hill day we could walk up Beinn Damh, offering a stunning introduction to the mountains of Torridon or we can walk into the spectacular Coire Mhic Fhearchair.

Walking Distance: to be decided: 5-9 miles and 985-3215ft of ascent.

Overnight: Achnasheen, Wester Ross. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

spectacular mountain and coastal scenery

Day 7: Torridon – Lochinver

We’ll travel north to Lochinver. Our journey will take us along the scenic coastal route with spectacular mountain and coastal scenery. Suilven, the showpiece of Assynt dominates the landscape north of Ullapool.This is a hill of many shapes. From the south it is a long, drawn-out sugarloaf, with an obvious depression in the middle, from the east it can look like the Matterhorn, rising from its bedrock plinth of Lewisian Gneiss to a narrowing spire. From the north it forms a huge rounded bastion of quartzite capped sandstone. There will be short walks along the way and since we will be in the North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark some of the walks in Assynt are geology themed, starting with the Knockan Crag interpretative geology trail on our way north.

Walking Distance: up to 4.5 miles and 770ft of ascent.

Overnight: Lochinver, Assynt, Sutherland. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Loch, hills and mountains

Day 8: Falls of Kirkaig and River Inver

Two walks today, starting with a hike up along the river of Kirkaig to some spectacular waterfalls and beyond. The first walk starts in a beautiful wooded glen with hazel and birches. We soon leave the woodland and continue on open moorland. As height is gained mountains begin to come in view. The falls plunge 20 meters down the gorge. After having admired the falls we continue along the glen for even better views of the Assynt mountains. Back in Lochinver we’ll walk through mixed woodland beside the fast-flowing River Inver which rushes over rocks with many small waterfalls.

Walking Distance 7 miles and 770ft of ascent

Overnight: Lochinver, Assynt, Sutherland. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Van on side of road with spectacular view on lake and mountains in Northern Scotland

Day 9: The Old Man of Stoer and Clachtoll Broch

On our last day, we’ll do a rough walk to the Old Man of Stoer, a spectacular sea-stack. The return walk is across the moor and a low hill with fantastic views in clear weather up the Sutherland coast backed by Foinaven mountain and inland the mountains of Assynt – Quinag, Canisp, Suilven, Cul Mor, Cul Beag and Stac Pollaidh. On our way back we will stop at Clachtoll for a short walk to the beach and the remains of Clachtoll Broch.

Total of 6.5 miles and 1300ft of ascent.

Overnight: Lochinver, Assynt, Sutherland. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Hikers walking near costal cliff in ScotlandDay 10: Lochinver – Inverness

We’ll drive back to Inverness.

Meals Included: Breakfast.

Note: The above scheduled itinerary is subject to change for varying reasons. Any changes made by Joyce’s Ireland and / or the tour leaders will be in the interest and safety of all participants.

Note also: Many clients come on a Joyce’s Ireland tour who wish to do very little hiking. Every day there are alternative options such as sight-seeing, relaxing, reading, painting, listening to Scottish traditional music, and generally just soaking up the Scottish atmosphere. You can opt out of the hiking on any day! All our accommodations are based in scenic locations, so you are very welcome to just remain “home” for the day.

Northern Highlands of Scotland

Northern Highlands – Dunbeath Strath – Helmsdale – Scots Pine forest – Applecross Peninsula – Sgurr a’ Chaorachain – Torridon – Coire Mhic Fhearchair – Suilven – North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark – Kirkaig – Old Man of Stoer – Clachtoll Broch

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