Kinlochbervie (Gaelic: Ceann Loch Biorbhaidh) is a small fishing village in Sutherland in the northwest Scottish Highlands, with a population of 411 in 2011. Few fishing boats are based here, but they come to land their catch to be trucked south.
Get in edit
Slowly, along twisty narrow roads where you never want to venture with a low fuel tank. From Inverness follow A9 past Tain then head northwest through Bonar Bridge, Lairg (the nearest railway station) and on A838 to Laxford Bridge and Rhiconich. Branch off the main road here for B801, the minor road to Kinlochbervie. Another route from Inverness is to take A835 via Ullapool and on north through Kylesku to Laxford Bridge, then as before.
A838 to Rhiconich and B801 are two-lane just about, you might draw in a sharp breath as you meet oncoming trucks. B801 ends after five miles at Kinlochbervie and a single track lane with passing places continues west to the beaches of Oldshoremore and Shegra. Beyond Shegra is just rough farm track.
By bus: Durness Bus 805 runs from Inverness via Bonar Bridge, Lairg and Laxford Bridge to Kinlochbervie (2 hr 30 min). It continues north to Durness, which has a daily bus to Thurso. It runs Tu Th Sa year-round plus Monday May-Oct, south from Kinlochbervie around 9AM and returning north around 3:30PM.
Bus 806 runs from Durness via Kinlochbervie around 9AM to Lairg and returns shortly after noon. It runs Wednesdays year round plus Fridays May-Oct.
Bus 804 runs May-Oct Tu Th from Lairg (where it connects with the 808 from Ullapool) via Lochinver and Kylesku.
Bikes may be carried between Durness, Kinlochbervie and Lairg, but must be booked at least 24 hours in advance on +44 1971 511223.
On schooldays only, Bus 890 runs from Kinlochbervie at 9AM to Ullapool, setting off back at 2PM. An earlier bus 891 continues from Ullapool to Dingwall, starting back around 2:45PM.
Ferries sail from Stornoway on Lewis to Ullapool.
Get around edit
You need your own wheels to get around easily.
There is a dial-a-bus service which operates M-F 9AM-5PM, Su 10AM-2:30PM. This covers the road between Rhiconich and Sheigra. Book by phoning 07836736378 or 07780006519 before 6PM the day before.
- 1 War Memorial and McBeath Memorial commemorate locals killed in both World Wars, and especially Robert McBeath, awarded the Victoria Cross for knocking out a machine gun position at the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917. By that date the Allies had tanks and were pushing German forces back across northeast France. McBeath was 19 years old, a lance-corporal in the 1/5th Battalion of The Seaforth Highlanders, which became pinned down by enemy fire. He stormed the position, shot two dead, captured 3 officers and 30 men, and cleared the way for his unit to advance. After the war he joined the police in Vancouver. On 9 Aug 1922 he arrested a drunk driver, who shot him dead and injured his colleague. The death sentence upon the drunk was commuted to life imprisonment as he was so badly beaten up once in police custody.
- The Telford Church east side of the village is one of a job-lot of 32 built across the Scottish Highlands by the prolific Thomas Telford. In the early 19th century many people lived a great distance from their parish church. They might not bother attending - or far worse, might go to a Roman Catholic mass (illegal until 1829) or to any of the scary new sects (such as Methodism) that were gaining ground. After the victory over Napoleon, Parliament voted money to build some 200 new churches across England, as thanksgiving to the God who turned out to be Church of England and on their side all along. Similar provision for Scotland was held up by political shenanigans and eventually the entire Highlands were awarded as much as had been spent on a single English church. So they had to be built on the cheap, and the Lowlands got nothing. The "Telford churches" were therefore of a simple austere design. Kinlochbervie's is more correctly "Scourie-Eddrachillis Parish Church", and still in use by the Church of Scotland.
- 2 Oldshoremore is the first beach west of the village.
- Oldshorebeg (which, as the name indicates, is even smaller) is the next beach, quarter of a mile west.
- 3 Shegra is the last beach that can be reached by road.
- 4 Sandwood Bay is reached by hiking up the four-mile track that branches off the lane at Blairmore, between Oldshorebeg and Shegra. Am Buachaille ("The Shepherd") is more like a spearhead, a sea-stack to the west. At low tide you might spot the wreck of a Spitfire, specifically its engine. (Wonderfully robust, those Rolls Royce Merlin engines... and if the damn thing hadn't conked out, the pilot would have flown home instead of ditching. He was not injured.) Sand dunes impound a freshwater loch. A local farmer insisted to his dying day in 1944 that he'd encountered a mermaid of ravishing beauty disporting herself on the rocks: Sandwood really is an isolated place.
- Cape Wrath the northwest tip of Great Britain mainland is reached via Durness, either by a jolting minibus or a very long hike.
- North West Highlands Geopark is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that covers Durness, Kinlochbervie, Kylesku and Torridon. Many of the local rocks are over 3 billion years old.
- Shinty: if you see a match, it's just an amateur effort that needs all the support it can get, so go cheer them on even if you haven't a clue about the rules. The game struggles even in Ireland, and KLB's team folded in 2012. But shinty in Scotland is being revived post-covid, with the Mowi League launched in 2021, so you might come across a game.
- Walk Highlands describe local trails, including to Sandwood Bay.
- Bervie Stores (Spar), The Harbour IV27 4RR, ☏ . M-F 8AM-8PM, Sa Su 9AM-6PM. Decent range and prices given the location.
- Fuel: the filling station is open M-F 8AM-5PM, Sa 9AM-noon.
- Quay House Cafe by the harbour is open 10AM-4PM.
- Kinlochbervie Hotel and Old School House serve non-residents, see below.
- Kinlochbervie Hotel bar serves non-residents.
- Loch Clash Stopover is on the pier next to Spar grocery. There are 5 serviced pitches and 10 hard-standings for overnight caravans and campervans, no tents. £15 / night, no booking, just pay at the shop. Open all year but the site is exposed to winter gales, and when these coincide with high tides the pier is awash.
- 1 Kinlochbervie Hotel, Kinlochbervie IV27 4RP, ☏ . The exterior is tatty, but within is a clean friendly hotel with some rooms overlooking the harbour. Dog-friendly. B&B double £90.
- 2 Old School House, Inshegra IV27 4RJ, ☏ . Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. This was the primary school from 1879 to 1970. Comfy small hotel, the restaurant gets great reviews. Assistance dogs only inside. B&B double £90.
- 3 Rhiconich Hotel (at the junction of A838 and B801). 10 room hotel which gets mixed reviews and may require a 2 night minimum stay. Dinner is served 6.30PM–8.30PM. double £150.
- 4 Edrachilles Hotel, Badcall Bay, Scourie IV27 4TH (A894 between Kinlochbervie and Kylesku), ☏ . Excellent 10-bedroom hotel in converted manse, refurbished in 2022, open April-Oct. Dogs welcome. B&B double £150.
- There's a cluster of accommodation at Kylesku, the standout is 5 Kylesku Hotel, Kylesku IV27 4HW, ☏ . Lovely 17th-century coaching inn looking onto the loch. Eleven rooms, the best four are in the annex, including one suitable for impaired mobility. Wonderful locally-sourced cuisine. Open mid Feb to Nov, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to non-residents daily. B&B double £150.
As of July 2022, Kinlochbervie has no mobile signal from any carrier.
Go next edit
- Northeast to Durness for Cape Wrath and Smoo Cave, then along the north coast to Thurso (for Orkney ferries) and John o'Groats.
- South to Lochinver and Torridon for rugged coastal scenery, then on to Ullapool.
- Turn off at Laxford Bridge for the direct road southeast to Inverness.
- North Coast 500 is a motoring route along this coast which takes in Kinlochbervie.