Path to Berriedale Fishing Station
Start location: Mill Road's junction with the A9, Berriedale (ND 118 226)
End location: The Shore, Berriedale (ND 120 226)
Geographical area: Caithness
Path Type: Trade Route
Path distance: 0.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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The former salmon fishing station is most easily accessed along Mill Road then by a footbridge across the Berriedale Water. An older track descends to the shore from the Berriedale Brae hairpin to the north, but this isn't as readily accessible, the A9 being infamously steep here and also having no footway.
OS Landranger 17 (Helmsdale & Strath of Kildonan)
This route leads to the remains of an abandoned fishing station at Berriedale. The site's use dates back to a herring fishery in the early nineteenth century. The herring industry was huge in Scotland and employed many people who had recently been cleared from their homes. However, although large herring fishing stations were set up elsewhere in Caithness, by the 1840s at Berriedale the focus was instead on more lucrative salmon, these being netted at the mouth of the river.
Berriedale had long had a good reputation for its salmon - Thomas Pennant wrote in his A Tour In Scotland 1769 that at the ruined castle on the peninsula "are stationed, in the Salmon season, persons who are to observe the approach of the fish to the fresh waters". It is the remains of the later salmon fishing station which are visible at Berriedale today - a row of fisher houses, as well as the icehouse and storeroom for the fish.
The footbridge route to the fishing station is relatively recent. It is thought to have been installed around 1902 as an alternative to the steep track up to the Berriedale Brae.
Salmon fishing continued into the mid-twentieth century, albeit at a much reduced level. The fisher houses were abandoned for almost 60 years until in 2011 the Landmark Trust raised funds to rescue them from dereliction. Known as the Shore Cottages, they have been restored and are available for holiday lets. More detailed information on the history of the Berriedale fishing station and the restoration of the Shore Cottages can be found via the Landmark Trust website.