Badbea Clearance Village
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Badbea was inhabited at least as early as the 1770s, but it was not until the infamous Highland Clearances that the population began to swell. Houses had to built from scratch, using any available material. Some built traditional Caithness longhouses, with both humans and animals under one roof.
In 1814 the estate was sold to James Horne, and his son Donald eventually decided to end the herring fishery in favour of salmon fishing, which employed far fewer people. After this there was very low employment, with only a few people able to get regular work on the estate.
The population of Badbea was starting to decline by the 1850s , and many people emigrated abroad. The last resident left in 1911, and gradually the stone houses fell nto decay and the bracken moved in. Today all that is left are the crumbling walls of scattered stone cottages, while sheep wander through the ruins. The Highland Council's handy Historic Environment Record states that there are 24 ruined buildings at Badbea, but on the ground it is hard to make out that many; in some places all that you can see are lumps in the ground with bits of stone showing through the ground cover.
Badbea is signposted off the A9 north of Helmsdale. There is a large parking area with a useful information panel giving an outline of the village's history. From the parking area a trail leads 1/4 mile across the heather to a long stone wall, built to control the land owner's sheep. Beyond this you can see the striking memorial erected by Donald Sutherland. From the memorial you can see the remains of scattered stone cottages and crumbling walls. You can wander freely among the ruins, but please take cae and stay well clear of the cliffs!
About Badbea Clearance Village
Address: Berriedale, Caithness, Scotland
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: Signposted off the A9 between Berriedale and Helmsdale. Parking beside the road, then a 1/4 mile walk to the village site. Open access. The nearest postcode is KW7 6HD.
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Timespan - 4.7 miles (Museum)
Laidhay Croft Museum - 8.2 miles (Museum)
Achavanich Standing Stones - 14.8 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Hill o' Many Stanes - 17.1 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Grey Cairns of Camster - 18.3 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Carn Liath Broch - 18.6 miles (Prehistoric Site)
Dunrobin Castle - 18.9 miles (Historic House)
Whaligoe Steps - 19.1 miles (Historic Building)
Nearest Accommodation to Badbea Clearance Village:
Nearby accommodation is calculated 'as the crow flies' from Badbea Clearance Village. 'Nearest' may involve a long drive up and down glens or, if you are near the coast, may include a ferry ride! Please check the property map to make sure the location is right for you.
Nearest Self Catering Cottages
Nearest Bed and Breakfasts
Tourist Information Centre
Caithness Horizons, Old Town Hall
Highlands and Islands
Tel: 01847 893 155