Ever wanted to SUP the North Coast 500? Bettyhill is a fantastic location to use as a base while exploring the area. With close proximity to a good selection of locations for Stand Up Paddleboarding and an enviable tranquility you are also quite close to one of the trips largest towns, Thurso.
The Main Points
Location – North Coast of Scotland
SUP – SUP – Own Fatstick Inflatables, Pink Panther* and Blue Lagoon (*Pink Panther now has a new design – check it out here)
Cost – Park near the Bettyhill pier for Torrisdale Bay or at the roadside carpark for Farr Bay
Conditions – Coast
Other users – Infrequent
Entry Point – Sandy beach
Surrounding amenities/Bathrooms- Village of Bettyhill
Getting There – When travelling the North Coast 500 in an anti-clockwise direction, Bettyhill is 48km west of Thurso on the A836.
Bettyhill is a nice wee spot along the North Coast 500 with a great pub and hotel looking over the coastline 50km west of Thurso. The actual village of Bettyhill is relatively new by Scottish standards. It was created in the early 1900’s by the local property owners the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland who evicted their tenants from their land. Elizabeth, the duchess, named the town after herself ‘Bettyhill’. There are three parts to the town, the main area where the Bettyhill Hotel is, the parish church of Farr where the museum now is and Farr Bay.
Where to Stand Up Paddleboard
There are a couple of options here as far as Stand Up Paddleboarding goes. Within view of the Bettyhill Hotel there is the Torrisday Bay with a stunning sandy beach and which the River Naver flows into. The location of the Bettyhill Pier enables close proximity between parking and the waters edge and is just opposite the sandy beach. Depending on conditions the outer part of the bay can have a swell and if it’s quieter water you are looking for then the river may be a better option for you. The other option is Farr Bay which can be reached from behind the Farr Inn. Farr Bay (also known as Farr Beach) is a great spot for trying out your paddle surfing skills and is home to otters, seals, golden eagles and seabird colonies.
Staying in Bettyhill
We stayed at the Bettyhill Hotel and were lucky to have a room which overlooked Torrisdale Bay. In the off season this is still open and one of the only places to get a meal. I recommend the Fish Chowder which was amazing!! If you stay at the Farr Bay Inn (www.farr-bay-inn.business.site) you are only a short walk away from the picturesque Farr Bay, a nice sandy bay. Depending on conditions you will usually get waves to practice your paddle surfing. Farr Beach is at it’s epic surfing best in Autumn and Winter and attracts many cold water surfers but beware a there are a couple of serious rips. Nearby is the Strathnaver Museum which traces the areas history from Norse and Gaelic ancestry to the heartbreaking Highland Clearances.
We paid for our accomodation and haven’t received any favours for suggesting it as a place to stay. For more information on Road Tripping the North Coast 500 with your stand up paddle boards see our posts here