Big Burn Walk near Golspie, Sutherland

Written by Chris Thornton | 6th of December 2023
Big burn walk near Golspie

My wife and I have often holidayed at Grannies Heilan Hame, near Dornoch in Sutherland, Scotland.  There is a fantastic caravan park there with great facilities and the golden sand of Embo Beach on the Moray Firth.

We use Grannies as our base and head out to see the sights in the local area.  On one occasion, we visited Dunrobin Castle, which was a fantastic day out… but then we spotted signs for something called “The Big Burn Walk”.  It was right next to Dunrobin Castle, so we thought we would go and have a look.

A great walk
The walk is well signposted.
Big Burn Walk map.
A lovely map someone has painted showing the entire route.
Bridge at Big Burn Walk | Big Burn Hike
The route has many bridges.

What we found was a really enjoyable walk through a forested gorge (the Big Burn Gorge), with paths, multiple bridges, and many waterfalls… but the walk culminates at the end with a huge flowing waterfall.  There is a specially built viewing platform so you can get closer and get a better view of the falls.  The walk is worth the reward - it really is stunning.

Bridge and waterfall.
Another picturesque waterfall, this is where I photographed the rainbow above.
Skating pond picnic table at the Big Burn Walk.
The picnic table next to the skating pond.

There is a skating pond near the walk; I'm unsure if people still use this pond for actual skating in winter; it was likely part of the Dunrobin Castle grounds once upon a time.

The skating pond on the Big Burn Walk.
The skating pond.

Photography at the Big Burn Walk Golspie

The main photograph on this page was taken at one of the smaller waterfalls on the big burn walk; the light hit the water vapour perfectly to create the rainbow.  There are many opportunities on this walk for photography, not only of the burn and the waterfalls but of wildlife too.

Other information on the Big Burn Walk

The walk is ideal for dogs but, unfortunately, is not suitable for wheelchair access.

Conditions: Mostly clear woodland paths, but it can be muddy if it has rained a lot. There are bridges with steps and some steep slopes.

Distance: About 1.7 miles.

Walk way. A truly lovely walk.
One of the many walk ways.

FAQs on the Big Burn Walk

Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Big Burn Walk.

How to get to the Big Burn Walk?

The walk can be accessed on the north side of Golspie (via Colin's Bridge), but if you are travelling directly to the walk, I would suggest going to the walk's dedicated car park as it is much closer to the best parts of the walk.

  1. Travel through Golspie and exit the town.

  2. Keep your eyes peeled for a left turn to the Big Burn Walk and pass below a green metallic railway arch.

  3. Follow this road for a short distance and look for the car park on your left side.

  4. From the car park you want to pass through the entrance to the right, not the left, to reach the waterfall.

You can catch a train to Golpie and walk to the Big Burn Walk.

Google Maps links:

Is the Big Burn Walk suitable for disabled visitors?

Sadly not; the paths can be very muddy if there has been rainfall. There are also sections with steps and steep inclines. If you are a weak walker, it's best to go to the car park and not walk from Golspie. The walk begins with a downward slope and leads directly to the main waterfall.

Big Burn Walk bridge. A pleasant walk.
My daughters loved this walk.

Where is the nearest accommodation to Big Burn Walk?

The Golspie Inn can be found directly at the beginning of the walk from the Golspie side.

Is it possible to visit the Big Burn Walk from Dunrobin Castle?

Yes, but you will have to cross the busy A9 motorway to get to the walk. It will take about 25 minutes to reach the start of the walk.

Are dogs allowed on the Big Burn Walk?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the trail.

Are there any facilities available on the Big Burn Walk?

There are no facilities directly on the trail, so it's a good idea to bring your own snacks and drinks. However, the village of Golspie has several cafes, restaurants, and shops where you can purchase refreshments before or after your walk.

The main walkway not far from the big waterfall.
The walkway near the main waterfall.

Can I go swimming below the large waterfall?

There is nothing to stop you from swimming here, but be aware the water temperature in Scotland is very cold at all times of the year, including summer. There are also no lifeguards or an easy way to call for help, so swim at your own risk.

How long is the Big Burn Walk?

It will take around 1 hour to complete the entire 3 km/1.75-mile walk, but if you park at the car park and just want to see the main waterfall, you can be there in the back within about half an hour.

Big Burn Gorge, river flowing.
The gorge is truly beautiful.

Are there picnic tables at the Big Burn Walk?

There is one picnic table at the dedicated car park; we had a picnic here on our last visit! You can also find another picnic table at the ice skating pond.

Big Burn Walk picnic table.
We had a quick picnic at the start of our last visit.

What wildlife can be seen at the Big Burn Walk?

A great deal of species of flora and fauna can be found in the Big Burn Gorge. Along the river banks, it's common to see:

  • Trout, eels and sticklebacks.

  • Heron, red wagtails, dippers.

  • Mayfly nymphs, stonefly nymphs and caddis fly larvae.

  • Great wood rush, ramsons, hard ferns, wild garlic, remote sedge and herb-robert.

The path follows the Golspie Burn.
It's a joy to visit the Big Burn Walk.
Bridges crossing the Golspie Burn.
Bridges criss cross the Golspie Burn.
The main waterfall at the Big Burn Falls.
The main waterfall and the highlight of a visit to the Big Burn Walk.

Videos of the Big Burn Walk

Here are a few video clips of our last visit to the Big Burn Walk.

The main waterfall, it's bigger than it looks in this video.
The main waterfall and the walkway to view it.
Another waterfall and some of the gorge and walkways.

Key information on the Big Burn Walk near Golspie

  • The Big Burn Walk is a picturesque valley walk with waterfalls.

  • There is a dedicated car park accessible via a minor road from the A9.

  • The path crosses multiple bridges across the Golspie Burn.

  • A large waterfall can be found in the middle of the walk.

  • There are no toilets on the walk.

  • The closest town is Golspie.

  • The Big Burn Walk isn't too far from Dunrobin Castle.

Heading back to the car park.
We looped around and back to the car park.


If you enjoyed this waterfall, please check out my article on The Falls of Shin and Rogie Falls too.  Skelbo Castle and Loch Fleet aren't too far from Golspie and are worth a look while in the area.  Cairn Liath Broch is a short distance (by car) from this walk and well worth your time. 

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

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