Embrace nature at Borgie Breco
Borgie forest takes its name from an outstanding salmon river which springs to life in the Flow Country below Ben Loyal and enters the sea through sandy Torrisdale Bay. The salmon swim upstream through the forest in spring, when yellow gorse blossoms line the riverbanks. Catch glimpses of them in the sparkling water from the riverside trail, or spiral through the Gaelic tree alphabet in A'chraobh.
The nearest public toilets and places to eat are in Bettyhill and Tongue, 6 miles (9.6 km) and 7 miles (11.2 km) away respectively.
You might want to wear insect repellent or long sleeves during the summer: there can be a lot of midges and horseflies about.
Follow the salmon upriver on this circular woodland trail.
Wide gravel path and forest road all the way. Mainly flat with some gentle slopes. Short sections may be muddy when wet.
¾ miles / 1.2 km Allow ½ hours
This is a lovely meander along the River Borgie with wide open views over the surrounding moorland. Picnic beside a mature Scots pine and watch for silver-backed salmon in the river. The trail twists and turns through young native trees, eventually bringing you back to the forest road.
Mountain biking trails
Borgie was one of the first Forestry Commission plantations in Scotland. On the Riverside trail you can still see eight of the original Scots pine and spruce which were planted here in the 1920s, now impressively tall for this far north.
Recently we've taken out many of the conifers and are replacing them with a mixture of broadleaf and native trees, such as alder, birch and rowan. Native trees are especially important to the Gaelic-speaking people of this area for each letter of the Gaelic alphabet is traditionally represented by a different tree.
There's a beautiful depiction of this in A'chraobh (the tree), a short spiral walk through the Gaelic alphabet, with real trees to touch and name. At the centre of the spiral is a twisting drystone wall, its stones taken from a nearby clearance village. You'll find A'chraobh close to the forest entrance, before you reach the main car park.
A'chraobh is one of a number of collaborations with North Sutherland Community Forest Trust to provide high-quality facilities in the forest. You can see more contemporary artwork in the forest at nearby Borgie Glen and a wonderful log building further down the forest road here in Borgie Breco.
How to get here
Borgie Breco is between Tongue and Bettyhill on Sutherland's north coast. From Bettyhill take the A836 west for 6 miles (9.6 km). The entrance to the forest appears suddenly on your left, shortly after the junction to Borgie village. Turn into the forest here and follow the track for just over ¼ mile (400 metres) to the main car park at grid reference NC 663 582.
There's also parking for a few cars next to A'chraobh spiral walk. You'll see it on your right near the forest entrance, at grid reference NC 665 585.
KW14 7SG is the nearest postcode. It's on the A836 coming from Bettyhill, 4 ½ miles (7.2 km) from the forest.
The bus service between Thurso and Tongue stops at Borgie Bridge, a short walk from the forest entrance. See Traveline Scotland for details.
North Sutherland has many fantastic beaches and hills to explore. If you haven't been already, go and see The Unknown in nearby Borgie Glen, or follow the Strathnaver Trail through an evocative highland glen to Rosal clearance village. Over in Caithness you'll find two new forests at Newton Hill Croft just outside Wick and Sibster near Thurso, as well as longer forest trails in Rumster.
Our map guide to the forests of the Far North will help you explore more forest trails in Sutherland.
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