Ben Bhraggie and the Big Burn.

Start. Golspie (Fountain Road car park).

Route. Golspie (Fountain Road car park) - Fountain Road - Rhives Farm - Ben Bhraggie Wood - Ben Bhraggie - Kilbraur Windfarm Road (track) - Ben Bhraggie Wood - Golspie Burn (Big Burn) - Golspie.

Notes. This was a rewarding walk full of contrast, starting with a leg burner of a climb up Ben Bhraggie, a curtain of trees hides extensive views, but when the curtain is drawn back views over the coast are nothing short of breathtaking. We descended through Golspie's hidden gem, along the banks of Golspie Burn (Big Burn), a gorge walk with waterfalls tumbling through stunning woodland and, footbridges criss-crossing the river.

We parked on Fountains Road car park just off the main street, up the road we wandered passed the ornate fountain the road takes it’s name from then under the railway line, tarmac ended at Rhives Farm, desecrate arrows guided us between farm buildings depositing us on a narrow track next to a green finger-post promising passage to Ben Bhraggie. This path we followed along the edge of Ben Bhraggie Wood, after a few hundred yards a path emerged from the forest, we ascended this, blue markers kept us on track.

Sometimes steep other times not so, through dense woodland we climbed, when the trees started to thin we reached a strange structure, a bridge, we passed beneath it a metal gate allowed access to the open fell. The bridge carried cyclists with wide knobbly tyres across the deer fence, a sign warned of a multi-use path. We continued ascending our aiming point now in view, the 100ft high Sutherland Monument.

For the past 180 years, the Duke of Sutherland’s likeness had stood on the top of Ben Bhraggie, looking down over the lands where, in his name, thousands of Highlanders were evicted from their homes. The Mannie, as it’s known locally, has long been one of Scotland’s most controversial statues, and attempts, some legal and some not, have been made over the years to see it taken down. On a personal note I firmly believe these edifices whether to slavers, tyrants, famous military leaders both good and bad even cruel Scottish lairds remind us of the past and the past should never be forgotten, or it will be repeated.

On a lighter note back to the walk, the monument makes for a great wind shelter, we sat around soaking up the views before following an obvious path north, this passed a strange seat with a roof, it looked odd up there covered in lichen and moss, in the , middle of nowhere, we made good use of it, a perfect place to dine. Lunch over an easy descent followed as the path curved across the heather moorland gifting us with good views in all directions.

Ignoring all paths except the one guiding us we continued descending, through a large gate we passed entering woodland, the path continued between large trees crossing Kilbraur Windfarm Road (track). We were doubting our chosen route when a small car park tilted into view and a sign announcing the Big Burn Link Trail. This path we followed, it meandered through woodland descending depositing us on a narrow tarmac lane, we turned left, crossed the burn, then took the lower of two paths. This path guided us along the edge of the garden of a house before descending to the river. Down the left bank of the Big Burn we wandered, a number of footbridges criss-crossed the burn, we criss-crossed with them, soon a railway bridge loomed above the trees, a final footbridge deposited back in the streets of Golspie.

view route map.


We couldn't pass this without comment, the fountain in Fountain Road, found opposite the United Free Church it is dedicated to Elizabeth Countess of Sutherland, erected around 1850.

Near Rhives Farm we get our first view to the coast.

Ascending along the edge of Ben Bhraggie Wood.

Every now and then we were gifted with stolen views through the trees.

Above the tree line soaking in staggering views up the coast.

Views over Dunrobin Glen to the flat top of Cagar Feosaig.

One eye on the views, the other for cyclists.

Breathtaking views from the ascent of Ben Bhraggie, Loch Fleet and the Dornoch Firth.

Toiling up Ben Bhraggie savouring wonderful views up the coast.

Climbing towards the Sutherland Monument looking over Silver Rock with Creag an Amulaidh and Cnoc Odhar dipping their toes in Loch Fleet.

A good path guides us towards the 100ft high Sutherland Monument.

Visible for miles around, love it or hate it it's there, if you fall into the latter group turn your back to it, ignore it just enjoy the views you've earned them.

This is what you've earned, majestic views, fabulous vistas over stunning countryside.

Rather than dine in the shadow of the Duke of Sutherland we opted to make use of this fine structure.

Nestled in the palm of the mountains grassy hand Loch na Moine.

In shadow Ben Horn.

Rising above Dunrobin Glen, Cagar Feosaig

Autumns golden gown.

Following the banks of the Big Burn.... the tune of falling water and bird song.

One of a number of footbridges criss-crossing the burn.

Across Loch Fleet Ben Bhraggie.

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