Abandoned Badbea – Highland, Scotland - Atlas Obscura

Abandoned Badbea

An abandoned village where the ruined foundations cling to a cliff.  


Records show that this area was originally inhabited around 1793, but Badbea is most famous for the remains of the clearance village. Here lie the ruins of former homes perched on the steep slopes above the cliff tops of Berriedale. 

Badbea village was settled during the 18th and 19th-centuries by families evicted from their homes when Langwell, Ousdale, and Berriedale were cleared for sheep farming. When the families arrived at Badbea, they were given small plots of land but were first required to clear the area and build their own houses from the stones they unearthed.

The conditions at Badbea were very harsh, as the cliffside location and strong winds were extremely dangerous. The families sustained themselves through farming and raising livestock. Legend has it that cattle, hens, and even children had to be tethered to various objects to keep them from being blown over the cliffs by the strong winds.

The last resident left the village in 1911 and a monument was commissioned by the son of a former inhabitant. This now acts as a great marker for finding the location of the old village.

Know Before You Go

The cliffs at Badbea have no safety fences. The winds can be strong just as when the villagers lived here, caution is advised, especially in the rain.

The easiest way to locate Badbea is to look for the reasonably sized car park just off the A9, north of Helmsdale, which is at the start of the trail leading to the cliffside ruins.

OS: ND088201

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November 17, 2020

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