Keiss Harbour House
Keiss, near Wick, Caithness
Whether you are on a family holiday, sporting break or get-together with friends, you will find plenty to do with easy access from this delightful holiday house.
The sandy links course of Wick Golf Club is just five minutes drive away, as is the surfers' mecca of Sinclair's Bay. There are further renowned surfing beaches, around Thurso and Strathy, within an hour's drive. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities in the area. Fishing on nearby rivers and lochs is available, or you can fish off the harbour wall! The riding stables in nearby Halkirk offers lessons, hacking and trekking for all abilities, and for the adventurous, there are exhilarating boat trips along the Caithness Coast from Wick Harbour and wildlife boat trips in the Pentland Firth from John o' Groats and Scrabster.
The Queen Mother's house, the Castle of Mey, is a moving and interesting place to visit, within half an hour's drive. Here you can buy food and other items from the Mey Selections range, set up by Prince Charles to promote the local produce of Caithness. Heritage Museums in Wick and Thurso provide a fascinating insight into the history of Caithness, and numerous archaeological sites such as the Cairns of Camster and Yarrows Archaeological Trail show the ancient civilisation of the area.
A day trip to see the sights of Orkney is a must, with Orkney less than an hour away by ferry from Gills Bay, 15 minutes drive from the house. There is also a pedestrian ferry from John o'Groats, just 8 miles from the house, which links with minibus trips on Orkney. The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness, the Italian Chapel and the Neolithic remains at Skara Brae are just some of the attractions there.
The 'real' most northerly point of the British mainland, Dunnet Head, is well worth a visit for the spectacular views over the Pentland Firth to the Orkneys and across Caithness and Sutherland. Duncansby Head, the north-eastern point of the mainland, is also spectacular, with immense sea cliffs rising from the crashing waves. The celebrated Whaligoe Steps, to the south of Wick, are also a must. Here you can see how hard life was for the herring fishers, and imagine the fisher lassies carrying their creels up the 360 steps from the shore to the top of the steps.
The sandy beach of Sinclair's Bay is a 10 minute walk from the house, while numerous other beaches are found close by, including Dunnet Bay and Melvich Beach on the north coast. Seals are often seen on the beaches in the autumn, particularly near Duncansby Head. The nearby Dunnet Forest has walking trails suitable for all abilities, and an interesting range of sculptures and artworks in the forest.
The local town of Wick has a full range of shops, including a good butcher, several bakers, good wine shop, Tesco and a Co-op. Harrold butchers stock delicious local 'Mey Selections' products. Tours of the Pulteney distillery in Wick are available, and provide a good wet-weather activity!
- Sleeps - 12
- Bedrooms - 5 (3 doubles, 1 twin, 1 bunk room with two sets of bunks)
- Bathrooms - 3
- Washing machine, tumble dryer
- Stereo with ipod dock
- 2 log/coal fires and 1 wood burning stove
- Steam room
- Under floor heating
- Cot and high chair available
- Locked store for surfing gear, fishing equipment etc
- Pets welcome
- Short breaks available
- Wick airport - 7 miles away, Inverness airport - 120 miles
- Local pub - 0.25 miles, various restaurants in Wick, well-reputed seafood restaurant in Scrabster (30 miles)
- Fresh crab and lobster can usually be bought from fishermen in the harbour
- Wick Golf Club - 2 miles
- Castle of Mey - 15 miles
- Achalone Activities (horse riding) - 24 miles
- Sinclairs Bay beach - 0.25 mile
- Wick Heritage Centre museum - 7 miles
- Boat trips from Wick harbour - 8 miles, Orkney ferry from Gills Bay - 12 miles
- Yarrows Archaeological Trail - 12 miles
- Cairns of Camster - 23 miles
- Swimming pool and tennis courts - Wick 7 miles
- Castle of Old Wick (ruin) - 7 miles
- John o' Groats (wildlife cruises and minibus tours/pedestrian ferry to Orkney) - 8 miles
- Dunnet Forest - 19 miles
- Pulteney distillery - 7 miles
Keiss Harbour House forms part of the historic Keiss Harbour, and was built as the fishing station for the harbour. The building was restored and converted into a house around five years ago, and has a dramatic combination of history and contemporary styling. The house directly overlooks the harbour, which is still used by fishing boats. On sunny days, the harbour provides a delightful area for sitting outside and watching the boats come and go.
The reception rooms in the house are located upstairs to take advantage of the sea views. The upstairs rooms comprise a spectacular 'great hall' style living/dining room with a handmade wooden table to seat up to 15 people, two seating areas with sofas and armchairs, with an open fire and a wood burning stove. The hall has an open fire and a small dining table and 4 chairs for more intimate meals. There is a fully equipped kitchen and a shower room with WC. The living/dining room, kitchen and hall all benefit from spectacular sea views.
The bedrooms and bathrooms are downstairs: There are three double bedrooms (two with balconies) and one twin bedroom. The bunk room has two sets of bunks and sleeps four. There is a shower-room with steam room facility plus a further bathroom with hand-held shower. The laundry area houses the washing machine, iron and tumble drier. The bedrooms and bathroom all enjoy spectacular sea views.
The house also benefits from a table tennis table, stereo with iPod dock, games, jigsaws and books. There is underfloor heating and logs and coal are provided. Outside there is a locked store for surfing gear, fishing equipment etc.
The village of Keiss lies on the A99 road to the north of Wick. Coming from Inverness, most of the journey is on the A9. Coming out of Inverness to the north on the A9, you should cross the Kessock Bridge and follow all signs for Wick, staying on the A9. You will pass through Golspie, Brora, Helmsdale and Dunbeath.
At Latheron, several miles north of Dunbeath, the A9 branches off left to Thurso. You should stay on the same road that you have been following (which veers right), which becomes the A99, signed to Wick. You will pass through Lybster and Thrumster, and then you will arrive in Wick. Stay on the A99 through Wick, following signs for John o' Groats. Two and a half miles to the north of Wick, in the hamlet of Reiss, you should make a right turn, still following signs for the A99 to John o' Groats.
After several miles you will come to Keiss. As you enter Keiss, you will see the Sinclair Bay Hotel on your left. Just opposite the hotel is a road running down to the right, signed to the Harbour. Take this road, and follow it past the houses, village hall and village green. Follow the road to the left past a row of cottages, and then after about 50m take a sharp right down a track. This leads to the back of the Harbour House, where the main door is. Several cars can be parked here, on the track. You can also park down in the harbour, but please take care not to park in front of the cellar doors, as access is required by fishermen.
Keiss is around a 10 minute drive from Wick.
Oil-fired underfloor heating is included in the price and also logs and coal for the fires. Bed linen and towels are provided.
Dogs - free of charge by arrangement (up to 4).
Complimentary bottle of local whisky.
Cost and availability:
Keiss Harbour House is rented out throughout the year. Change over day is usually Saturday, but can be flexible in low and mid season; entry at 4pm and departure at 10am please, although this can be flexible too.
Short breaks available.
Discounts are available for small groups of up to six people, and also for stays of longer than one week.
To book this stunning, historic self catering house in Caithness, click the
enquiry button below and see availability and prices.
Keiss Harbour House, Keiss, Wick, KW1 4XD Caithness, Scotland