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whaligoe steps


The Whaligoe Steps are in Ulbster, a few miles north of Lybster in Caithness. They are a set of unique steps which lead down the steep cliffs to a small natural haven, at the bottom there is a man-­made bink or platform, which was used when the fishing industry was at its peak. The women of Whaligoe carried fish in baskets on their backs up these 320 steps or so, which zig­ zag their way up the cliff. Then they walked on to Wick. The strength of these woman was admirable as they also carried the men on their backs in their stocking soles across a board to deposit them into their boat with dry feet.


Every step down and up has to be carefully taken and is quite daunting for the first time visitor. Only glimpses of what is to come next can be seen with each set of steps and a different view of cliff or sea is the reward. The sea colour changes regularly ranging from deep emerald greens to clear blues, the bottom can go from calm to raging with flying globules of spray.


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