This post rounds up 3 of my favourite leisurely walks on the east coast of Caithness and was originally written when we were in the depths of the Covid-19 pandemic. These walks could be combined to create your own day trip itinerary.
The first walk I’m sharing is one that I’ve enjoyed in all seasons – Newton Hill Croft, which is just south of Wick. A level gravel path winds around a newly planted community woodland, with wildflowers, a dipping pond and some wooden obstacles for kids to hop, skip and jump over.
Not open to the public is a lovely stone croft (it’s normally available to hire by the Friends of Newtonhill Woodland), but do take a look at the adjoining garden and allotment to see what’s growing. It’s a popular spot for dog owners as there is also a securely fenced field for canine pals to let off some steam.
Moving to the coast, at any time of year it’s hard not to want to take a long walk on a sandy beach, and the longest on this side of the county is Sinclair’s Bay, which sweeps between the communities of Keiss and Reiss, north of Wick.
Apart from very high tide (check the tide times online!), you can walk along the sand (you can also walk on the dunes, but ensure you don’t disturb the golfers on the course which runs parallel to the beach. Views go across to Noss Head Lighthouse (read about my stay at the Lighthouse Keepers Cottage) and the 15th-century Sinclair Girnigoe Castle and so a long walk would form the basis of a perfect day trip activity. The beach looks different every time we visit, with ever-changing light and big sky formations. It’s one of our favourite places ever!
One place that incorporates both inland and coastal aspects is Dunbeath Strath. There are also some fun suspension bridges to cross, and historical elements too – a heritage trail which includes a short detour to Dunbeath Broch, and in the harbour, a statue commemorating local author Neil M Gunn who wrote the popular Scottish novel The Silver Darlings.
We had an autumnal day trip and spotted fellow walkers harvesting hazelnuts but I am looking forward to going here in summer! Walk Highlands have a helpful walk guide for the Dunbeath Strath route, and you can just either add on the harbour section at the end or park down at the harbour and start there.