Whaligoe Harbour – stepping down to the fishing history of Caithness


I have written about the cafe at Whaligoe Harbour a few months ago, but it was only earlier this month that we actually got round to walking down the 300+ steps down the cliff face.

Even on the greyest of days, the steps are a good attraction (though i’d give it a miss on a really windy, stormy day, just see Billy Connelly’s trip here!) to visit, and you can team it with a walk to the Cairn of Get – a well-preserved chambered cairn to get an insight into some of the fascinating neolithic history in Caithness.

Back to the steps, and I’d recommend wearing sturdy shoes for your descent. While many of the steps are shallow, they are also uneven, so wearing flip-flops or flimsy sandals would not be good,  and would probably assist in your descent down being much quicker than you intend, especially when the steps are exposed to the elements! There’s great debate about the number of steps; counts have varied from 330 to 365!

As you do walk down, you get a sense of the incredible work it must have been in the 1800s to shift barrels of fish up the steps after being landed at the harbour. There’s still signs of the once used harbour – ruins of a building which contained salt for curing the catch, and a winch for hauling in the fishing boats.

Whaligoe is so named after times when a beached whale would be brought into the harbour, butchered, then processed – Whale Geo.

If you’re not able to walk down the steps, you can see Whaligoe Harbour from a different perspective – if you take the Caithness Seacoast trip, (read my review here) along the coast south of Wick.