North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath

Scotland
Trekking
Self-Guided
Panoramic views from North Highland Way, Orkney, and Cape Wrath Walk

North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath

Prices

From $1,525USD

Difficulty

Self-guided

Hotels

Start Your Booking

Highlights

Walk the North Highland Way on this self-guided walking tour

Marvel at the breathtaking views of the ocean waves crashing against the rockfaces of the towering sea cliffs while viewing several lighthouses.

Embark on a day trip from Thurso that will take you to John O’Groats, home of the Duncansby Head sea stacks and the Orkney Islands.

Enjoy a tour learning about the ever-so fascinating Wolfburn Distillery, which was once marked as a ruin but has revived itself in new buildings.

Learn about the tragic, heartbreaking story of the Highland Clearances at the Strathnaver Museum.

The North Highland Way is a beautiful walking tour that takes you to the top of the Scottish Mainland. This self-guided walking tour allows you to enjoy the great walking in this remote part of Scotland.

Explore the unspoiled scenery blanketing Northern Scotland on the North Highland Way, Orkney, Cape Wrath tour. Begin this tour by spending three days exploring the scenery cushioning the most northern town on the British Mainland: Thurso. Get acquainted with the remote setting before embarking on a journey that navigates through untouched wonders deep into Scotland’s backyard.

The route spanning this self-guided tour takes you to views of sea cliffs, where the sea roars below, to spots decorated in heritage, to beaches glazed with a dramatic coastline. Expect to encounter a collection of mind-blowing sights, landmarks, and birds as you take part in the undulating hike across the north.

North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Edinburgh to Thurso

You’ll need to make your way to Thurso to star the tour. Most guests take the train from Edinburgh Central Waverly station in the morning, which arrives in Thurso around 6pm (train ticket not included in tour price). Check in to your hotel and get ready for a great day trip tomorrow.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Thurso
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 2 John O’Groats & Orkney Islands

Explore two marvellous parts of this part of Scotland: John O’Groats and the Orkney Islands. Hop on a bus that takes you to John O’Groats. Marvel at the unspoiled natural scenery cradling this rural town. Walk along the ridge where the sea stacks jet into the air at Duncansby Head. Afterward, cruise to Orkney where you join a bus that takes you through the Islands. Blending with the dramatic scenery stands remnants of history: Skara Brae Prehistoric Village and St. Magnus Cathedral. Spend time exploring these monuments. Check out the fascinating Scapa Flow and the quaint Italian Chapel while you’re here. Head back to Thurso in the early evening.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Thurso
Distance
None
Meals
Breakfast

Day 3 Dunnet Lighthouse & Distillery Tour

Eat a hearty breakfast and get ready for a day of walking. Take a morning bus to Brough, where you will begin your trek to the most northern point of the mainland: Dunnet Head Lighthouse. Admire the sea roaring below the sea cliffs just under the Lighthouse. Take a bus back to Thurso and head to Wolfburn Distillery—once marked as a ruin but has revived itself in new buildings—for a tour detailing their handcrafted whiskey. Recharge in Thurso overnight.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Thurso
Distance
30 km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 4 Walk to Bettyhill

Enjoy breakfast before transferring 30 minutes to Strathy. From here, you will embark on your 16 km trek to Bettyhill. Come across an array of gorgeous settings on this journey, including the lighthouse lofting over the swirling sea at Strathy Point, the charming Farr Bay, and Armadale Bay, which is nestled in a green wonderland. End your trek in Bettyhill and relax here for the night.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Bettyhill
Distance
16 km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 5 Walk to Tongue

Today is a 25km walk from Bettyhill to Tongue. Marvel at the golden sand blanketing Torrisdale Bay. Take in the view of the Rabbit Islands. Meander past the pristine sand covering Coldbachie and continue towards the Kyle of Tongue. Expect to see a sea loch backed by towering mountains. Spend some time learning the heartbreaking story of the Highland Clearances at the Strathnaver Museum. Please note that it costs £3.00 to enter the museum. Spend the night at a hotel in Tongue.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Tongue
Distance
25 km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 6 Walk to Durness

After breakfast, you will transfer from Tongue to Polla via a ferry on Loch Eirboll. Upon arrival, you will begin your walk along the Kyle, encountering the massive part-sea, part-freshwater cave, Smoo Cave, en route. Recharge in Durness.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Durness
Distance
24 km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 7 Durness to Cape Wrath

Wake up, eat breakfast, and hop on a ferry over Kyle of Durness. Transfer by mini-bus to Cape Wrath Lighthouse, built in 1828 by Robert Stevenson. Expect to admire magnificent views of waves colliding with the base of the sea cliffs here. Trek back to the ferry. Keep in mind that while the ferry and mini-bus tickets are booked in advance, you are still required to pay the fee locally, amounting to £15.00. Opt to spend the day visiting Balnakeil Durness Beach and Sango Viewpoint or taking a 6.5 km trek across dunes and beaches of Faraid Head instead of Cape Wrath. Enjoy your last night of the tour in Durness.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Durness
Distance
25.5 km
Meals
Breakfast

Day 8 Depart Durness

Eat breakfast, say your goodbyes, and depart Durness. Book your bus ticket in advance.

Overnight Location
None
Distance
None
Meals
Breakfast

North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour Price and Dates

This self-guided walking tour in Scotland is always run as a custom tour for your group only and the price is fixed per person staying in a double room. Single rooms are also possible for on request for extra charge. Please note, that booking this tour on a short notice might increase the tour price, as the accommodation options here are limited and on high demand.

  • Price per person staying in a double room $1,525USD
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Accommodation on North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour

This tour includes the accommodation in cozy guest houses and hotels. Each room offers modern amenities that will help to elevate your level of comfort after a long day of hiking. Expect to stay in a room with another member of the tour or upgrade to single occupancy for an additional fee.

Note that specific accommodation may vary based on availability but will be substituted with accommodations of a similar standard.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
Single rooms for this tour are on request, and the price depends on the season, availability and the number of days left until your travel. Please inquire to find out more.

Hotel Pennyland House in Thurso

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Hotel Bettyhill in Bettyhill

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Hotel Smoo Cave in Durness

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Hotels on Standard Tour

What’s included in the North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour?

Meals

7 breakfasts are included.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 7 nights along the tour are included.

Transportation during the Tour

Transport for your luggage is included during the trekking days. You must make a way to the start of the trail yourself.

Also Included

  • Detailed route guide
  • Cruise to Orkney and Day Tour of the Islands
  • Wolfburn Distillery Tour
  • Taxes
  • Transfers to Strathy and Polla

Not included

  • Transport to Thurso or back from Durness
  • Guide services
  • Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not stated as ‘included’
  • Entry fee to Strathnaver Museum - £3 GBP per person
  • Ferry to Cape Wrath Lighthouse - £15 GBP per person

Optional Extras

  • Bus tickets from Inverness or Edinburgh to Thurso
  • Extra night before or after the tour

Frequenty Asked Questions about North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath

How hard is the North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour?

We rate this tour as 4 / 5. This self-guided tour may not encompass very long distances, however being in a remote part of Scotland, and subject to variable Scottish weather can make this more challenging. The North Highland Way is best for somewhat experienced walkers, equipped with a map and an ability to read a compass, to consider this tour. The trails lack way-marking and can be tough to navigate at times. Please take extra caution if you’re walking alone.

Do I need a visa to travel to Scotland?

Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.

I’ve never been on a self-guided trip! How does it work?

Self-guided travelling is not difficult! For many, it is a preferred type of travel as you are in charge of your own time and pace. You are provided all the information on which direction you need to go daily. You don’t need to carry lots of things with you and can only carry your daypack, as your luggage will be picked up from your hotel daily in the morning and delivered to your destination hotel.

Are meals included on the North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour?

7 breakfasts are included.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory to have Health and Medical insurance to join this trip. Get your Travel Insurance.

How do I get to Thurso to start this tour?

Thurso is a remote village with not too many connections, so be sure to plan and book your tickets in advance. You can get to Thurso by bus or train from Inverness, Edinburgh, or Glasgow.

Is the North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour in English?

Yes, the tour guide speaks English.

Where does the North Highland Way, Orkney and Cape Wrath Tour end?

The tour ends where it starts, in Thurso.

Do I need special vaccines to travel to Scotland?

Check with your family doctor.

Are there any travel restrictions for Scotland?

Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.

Reviews

All tours on 10Adventures are operated by highly vetted local tour operators and guides.

Having local tour operators and guides means you get a more authentic experience, and your booking creates jobs in the local communities you visit.

Details of the local tour operator will be listed on your booking invoice. If you have questions about the local operator prior to booking, please click the “Ask a Question” button below.

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Prices

From $1,525USD

Difficulty

Self-guided

Hotels

Start Your Booking

What travellers say

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Rated 4.9 on Google Reviews

Tour Difficulty

We rate this tour as 4 / 5. This self-guided tour may not encompass very long distances, however being in a remote part of Scotland, and subject to variable Scottish weather can make this more challenging. The North Highland Way is best for somewhat experienced walkers, equipped with a map and an ability to read a compass, to consider this tour. The trails lack way-marking and can be tough to navigate at times. Please take extra caution if you’re walking alone.


Read about our scale for Tour Difficulty Ratings.

Local guide

Andrew

Falkirk, Scotland

Get in touch

+1 (587) 327-9828

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