Browse the delights of Borgie Glen
Borgie Glen takes you to the edge of a vast northern interior of hills, heather moor and thousands of tiny lochans. It's an expansive place, where red deer roam and buzzards circle in the enormous sky. Climb towards The Unknown, an enigmatic sculpture by artist Kenny Hunter, and feel the mystery and grandeur of these so-called 'empty lands'.
Our map guide to the forests of the Far North will help you explore Borgie Glen and other forest trails in Sutherland.
The nearest toilets and places to eat are in Bettyhill and Tongue, 5 ¾ miles (9.2 km) and 8 ¾ miles (14 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.
Lonesome Pine Trail
Climb through the pines and get close to the ‘The Unknown’ with a majestic view across the forest to Ben Loyal and Ben Hope.
Loose gravel surface with some uneven and grassy sections. Long steep slopes up to viewpoint.
¾ miles / 1.1 km Allow ½ hour
The circular route past the lonesome pine is not long, but take your time and admire the views, for they are remarkable. At the top there's a handy picnic bench and Kenny Hunter's eerie sculpture to enjoy.
Mountain biking trails
Cyclists and horseriders are welcome to explore the forest roads here. The routes are not waymarked so please bring a map and compass and let people know where you are going.
Borgie was one of the first forests we planted back in 1920. The few original trees still standing are now some of the tallest in Sutherland, and you'll see many of them in Borgie Glen. After a devastating fire in the 1940s we replanted most of the forest and now these trees have reached maturity too. We're replacing them with a mixture of broadleaf and native species, ideal for wildlife.
In 2012 the renowned Glasgow artist, Kenny Hunter, chose Borgie Glen as the site for his new sculpture The Unknown. This stirring skeleton stands at the top of the Lonesome Pine Trail, like a legendary giant or warrior alone in a vast landscape. It's an inspiring sight and worth the climb to the top.
The project was hosted by Timespan and supported by the Scottish Arts Council.
Around the corner from the car park is another tall sculpture – a totem pole developed by the local school and officially blessed by a Canadian First Nation Indian.
How to get here
Borgie Glen is between Bettyhill and Tongue on the north coast of Sutherland. From Bettyhill take the A836 west for 5 miles (8 km) until you see signs for Borgie Glen. Turn left into the forest entrance and follow the forest road for ¾ mile (1.2 km). The car park is on your left at grid reference NC 679 579.
KW14 7SG is the nearest postcode. It's on the A836 coming from Bettyhill, 3 ½ miles (5.6 km) from the forest entrance.
The bus service between Thurso and Tongue stops at Borgie Bridge, a mile (1.6 km) from the forest entrance and 1¾ miles (2.8 km) from the car park. See Traveline Scotland for details.
North Sutherland has many fantastic beaches, caves and hills to explore. If you haven't already been to nearby Borgie Breco, try the Riverside trail and spiral around A'chraobh. 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.
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