Sutherland holidays - golfing at Dornoch and Brora, fishing the Helmsdale and walking the sandy beaches on the beautiful coastline.
Sutherland and far north Scotland
Sutherland boasts a landscape of dramatic coastline, mountain peaks, salmon streams and small remote villages. Positioned in the Highland region amidst forest and glens; travellers can find the Moray Firth to the east and the Atlantic coast on the west side. Narrow and twisted roads travel through the county and offer spectacular views over fields and farmland. For a peaceful getaway amongst a tranquil setting choose a self catering holiday in Sutherland. Discover the ancient history of Scotland's 5th largest county and tour the trails, museums and visitor centres offering a glimpse into the lives of the county's industrious people and their turbulent past.
utherland has a variety of different self catering accommodation - choose from an elegant guest house, traditional Scottish stone villa, sea-side holiday home or bungalow in the county town of Dornoch. Chalets, cottages and bothy's can be found set within idyllic woodland surroundings, glorious far reaching coastal views and sandy beaches. Adventurous travellers can stay in a remote hostel or bunk house. Luxurious apartments overlooking the golf course at Brora are available during the summer season and provide a perfect base to explore the nearby town. Crofts, cabins and lodges located in more remote areas of Sutherland are perfect for those wanting to unwind on a quiet holiday. The climate is prone to cold winds and the odd shower. Coastal breezes from the north can affect the temperatures all year round and warm clothing is advised. The best time to visit is during the peak summer months of July and August where visitors have a good chance of enjoying bright sunshine.
Sutherland's ancient history has been traced back to the time of Norse rule; settlements including Bonar Bridge, Lairg, Durness, Embo, Tongue, Golspie, Scourie and Kinlochbervie are remnants of this bygone era. Hike the pathways or drive along the gravel roads which join each village to the next and explore the churches and monuments built by their people. Helmsdale and Lochinver are two of the busiest port towns in Sutherland. Take a stroll down by the harbour to watch fishermen and trawler boats arrive with the catch of the day. Fishing has long been a tradition in the county and with the North Sea on its doorstep it remains Sutherland's main source of industry. Sail up the Pentland Firth to marvel over the imposing sea cliffs and mountain peaks. Study the waves for seals and dolphins and look out for the native sea-eagle. For even more peaceful pursuits visitors can enjoy trout and salmon fishing in the nearby streams and rivers. Sandwood Bay is known as the most remote beach in the United Kingdom; follow the trail through wild grassland, large dunes and past a small loch to spend an afternoon watching the surf roll in. Sharp cliff edges and steep hills frame the bay making it a picturesque location and a popular attraction. Travellers to Sandwood Bay should pack a bag of supplies as the nearest town is several miles away. Be sure to leave before the sun sets as the ghost of a Spanish Armada sailor is said to appear. Locals claim to have seen him knocking at the door of the ruined Sandwood Cottage set upon the hillside.
The Highland Clearances of the 18th century were a time of hardship for the people of Sutherland. Crofters were evicted from their homes as landowners made way for agricultural development. The people showed great resilience and courage as they moved into the cities and towns of the lower regions in Scotland; visit the monument on Ben Bhraggie and discover the messages of hope scratched by Highlanders onto the windows of Croick Church.
Join in on the fun at Helmsdale's Timespan Heritage Centre and dress up in traditional Highland clothing, enjoy Balnakeil Craft Village and play childhood games at Maryck Memories museum in Lairg. Guided tasting tours of the Clynelish Distillery are available to small groups; sample fine malt and pick up a bottle in the onsite gift shop.
Dunrobin Castle, dating from around 1400 is the largest house in the north of Scotland and former home to the Clan of Sutherland. The pretty spiral towers, immaculate lawns and surrounding woodland appeal to all who visit. Explore 189 stately rooms and marvel over the intricate tapestries, grand architecture and ornate d�cor. Displays of Pictish stone symbols and artefacts are housed in the museum and falconry lessons are available within the grounds. Dunrobin Castle is one of Sutherland's finest treasures drawing crowds of tourists every year.
Loch Fleet is a national nature reserve and a great way to explore the wilds of Sutherland. Get close to rare birds and animals on a Ranger Walk and follow the woodland trails through the forests reported to be the home of the last wolf in Britain. Relax by Loch Na Naire and bathe in the water, said to contain healing powers. Sail to Eas a' Chuil Aluinn to see the highest waterfall in Britain; the boat leaves daily from the small pier at Kylesku.
Sutherland provides a beautiful and rare insight into an historical past with ancient features such as The Clo Mor cliffs and Inverkirkaig Falls; investigate the Bone Caves of Inchnadamph where remains of the Eurasian Lynx, Arctic Fox and an 11,000 year old polar bear were once found. The rugged north-west peaks of Quinag, Canisp and Suilven appeal to hill-walkers; climb Ben Hope, Scotland's most northerly Munro for views out over this magnificent landscape.
Sutherland is best reached by road and hire cars make the journey between towns and villages easier. Scottish City Link coaches run the length of the country and join Sutherland up to large cities and other transport routes including the Scotrail service link from Inverness to the capital city. Wick Airport is located north of the town in neighbouring Caithness and offers direct flights to Edinburgh, Newcastle and Aberdeen.
To visit the most northerly part of Scotland - stay in John O'Groats, from here you can take day ferry trips to the Orkney Islands - or indeed find a wonderful traditional Scottish thatched cottage to rent.
Quaint villages, scenic landscapes and stunning coastline together with great golfing and fishing ensure Sutherland is an ideal place for a short break remaining one of Scotland's best self catering holiday destinations.