Completing the Far North Line – 150th Anniversary Event

Friday 21st June 10.30 – 17.15

(train departs Helmsdale at 09.47 and returns at 17.44)

150th Anniversary Event to mark the opening of the northern section of the Far North Line

(Helmsdale – Wick/Thurso across the Flow Country of Caithness)

This year, 2024, marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Sutherland and Caithness Railway, from Helmsdale northwards. The 25 miles of track across the Flow is amongst the most remote in the UK and the derelict lineside cottages of surfacemen of past ages bear witness to lives lived – in service to the railway – in isolation with no road access and none of the services most households in the country take for granted today.

The Flow itself is a place of rare habitats developed over thousands of years. The deep layers of peat beneath the blanket bog are a hugely important carbon store. Hence the renewed interest in the area as a contributor to combatting climate change with the application for UNESCO World Heritage Site status, currently being assessed.

To celebrate the anniversary and the survival of this remarkable route, the Far North Line Community Rail Partnership, in collaboration with the Friends of the Far North Line, the Highland Railway Society, RSPB Forsinard and Timespan, are organising this event at Forsinard.  Speakers will cover the history and the future prospects of the line, the landscape and the RSPB reserve.  Following this a bus will take those interested to Thurso to travel the line back to Forsinard – and on to Inverness if required – on the last southbound train of the day.

Participants will receive a booklet which will include both a line guide to the route and an account of the history and operation of this lonely, scenic line.

Completing the Far North Line, by Keith Fenwick, published to mark the event, will be on sale.

For more details, please contact Michael Willmot at    

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