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Salmon, spirals and wide northern skies

Borgie Breco

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.


Parking Picnic area Walking Easy-access trails Viewpoint

Life's essentials

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.

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.

Contact Name : North Highland

District Office Name : North Highland
Address : The Links
  Golspie Business Park
  Golspie
Postcode : KW10 6UB
Telephone : 01408 634063
Email : northhighland@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

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.

Using SatNav?

KW14 7SG is the nearest postcode. It's on the A836 coming from Bettyhill, 4 ½ miles (7.2 km) from the forest.

Public transport

The bus service between Thurso and Tongue stops at Borgie Bridge, a short walk from the forest entrance. See Traveline Scotland for details.

Nearby places

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.