Kildonan Gold Trail

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This is a journey into the past, in the wilds of East Sutherland. Eight miles inland from Helmsdale, it is reached by a delightful drive along the River Helmsdale (many salmon anglers) in Strath of Kildonan.

Arriving at Baile an Or (Town of Gold) you park on a grassy area on the bank of the Kildonan Burn, where the gold is... In the 1869 gold rush there were 600 miners scouring the bed of the burn; they didn't find all the gold - more is still found every year. The paths are not marked on the OS maps. They are narrow and in parts can be muddy in wet weather, but they are adequate to allow us to explore the gold-bearing burn. Obviously the burn would have to be low if you wanted to do some panning in its bed (there's a small daily charge for a permit), but even if conditions are impossible you'll enjoy the walk into the valley and plan where you will dig on your next visit! There are regular visitors.

This route crosses the burn at a ford and returns by the other side, giving different views into the valley and gorge; but obviously if the burn were high you would have to return by the outward path (similarly it would be better to do that if the weather turns bad. The return route given here would be difficult in mist or heavy rain if you are not an experienced hill-walker).

Boots are advised and carry wet weather gear just in case; there is no shelter.

Scotland - Highlands and Islands - Highland - Sutherland


Birds, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Moor, Waterfall, Wildlife