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Eastern Sutherland

As the A9 heads northwards over the Dornoch Firth, the Eastern part of Sutherland has a rich history and many beautiful corners.


A beautiful town with wonderful architecture, Dornoch has a genteel and charming atmosphere. A visit to it should not be missed. The golf course was recently rated one of the best 3 courses in the world. The beach – stretching both north and south – is perfect for children and dogs. The 13th Century cathedral was where one of Madonna's children was christened (She and Guy Richie married at nearby Skibo Castle in 2000).


To the north of Dornoch is another fabulous beach at Embo. This stretches northwards away from the rather unsightly caravan park all the way up to the inlet of Loch Fleet


A large, wonderful nature reserve with a variety of habitats such as coastal heath, dune, salt marsh and alder carr. Birdwatching here is exceptional, especially between October and April. Over 170 bird species have been recorded here.



Another attractive village that this section of the east coast seems to specialise in. It's home to Dunrobin Castle (see below) and dominated by the 100 foot tall statue of the Duke of Sutherland built in 1839 on Ben Bhraggie overlooking the village. There's an excellent walk up from Golspie to the statue returning via the Big Burn (see below).


    Big Burn, Golspie

On the north side of Golspie is this magical wooded gorge which is criss-crossed by bridges. It can be accessed via car parks in or off a minor road north of the village. A hidden gem.

Big Burn

Dunrobin Castle

The imposing stately home of the Sutherland clan designed by Sir Charles Barry, the architect of the Palace of Westminster, is well worth visiting and also boasts superb gardens. The falconry display is also recommended. It's open from the beginning of April to mid October.


Falls of Shin

The salmon leap here is one of the best and most reliable in Scotland with a chance of seeing them from May to November. In August and September you are almost guaranteed to see them make their valiant leaps up the falls. The Visitor Centre sadly burnt down in 2013 and there don't seem to be plans at the moment to rebuild it.


Tel: 01349 368276 Alcaig Cottages, Easter Lodge, Alcaig, Conon Bridge, Highland IV7 8HS Site by David Marsh