Things To Do

Inverness

Good travel links by bus and train, and the airport with its range of daily flights and car rental companies make it easy to visit the Highlands and Islands.  By car it is 50 minutes away and offers numerous leisure facilities and shopping.  There are two  Farmers’ Markets, a Victorian Market, the mall at the Eastgate Centre and two retail parks.

A city worth exploring – visit the Botanic Gardens, Inverness Museum, the Eden Court Theatre, Art Galleries, or take a trip to the Tomatin Whisky Distillery Visitor Centre.  Maybe a boat cruise on Loch Ness is more to your liking, or visit Inverness Castle with its spectacular viewpoint, and Historic Fort George.  If you like wildlife, watch the dolphins feed and play at Chanonry Point on The Black Isle. It is considered by many to be the best place to watch the Moray Firth Dolphins and is only a few miles from Inverness.


Local Places of Interest

This area is great for the outdoor life, or perhaps you would prefer to visit the numerous Stately Homes, Castles and Gardens.  Some useful links below.

Visit Dornoch –  www.visitdornoch.com
Dornoch Cathedral
This beautiful Cathedral was built in the 13th century and was made famous in when Madonna and Guy Ritchie baptised their son Rocco here in 2000.  Each year many couples from around the world want to be married in historic and lovely Dornoch Cathedral which combines both grandeur and intimacy.

Dunrobin Castle:  www.dunrobincastle.co.uk

Whisky Tours

Lovers of single malts or those keen to learn about Scotland’s national drink can visit 4 famous distilleries within just a few miles of Dornoch.  Clynelish, Balblair, Glenmorangie and Dalmore are all close by, so there is every opportunity to raise a glass to your holiday in Scotland.

Falls of Shin

Watch Salmon leaping.  Follow the winding road through Achany Glen to a forest clearing where salmon leap up the Falls. You’ve reached the Falls of Shin, a wonderful starting point for a range of trails through beautiful mixed woodland and along the rocky banks of the River Shin.  It’s a great place to get out and enjoy the forest whatever your ability – there are natural play areas here and easy trails suitable for all users.

Dornoch Beach

Dornoch’s safe, Blue Flag beach, is ideal for families with its gentle shallows, sheltering dunes and miles of golden sands. Perfect for paddling and swimming on warm summer days. Throughout the year it is popular for walkers taking a gentle stroll or carrying on north to Embo beach.

Golf

Schoolhouse cottage is only 6 miles from the famous Royal Dornoch golf course. Dornoch is home to the Championship Course which is ranked 5th best in the world as well as the Struie Course which is the 50th best links course in the UK. Both courses welcome visiting golfers 7 days a week, as does their clubhouse which provides high quality cuisine and refreshments. Why not enrich your visit to Dornoch and play our neighbouring courses whilst you are here? All of these friendly courses below welcome players of all standards.

Royal Dornoch Golf Club:
www.royaldornoch.com

Golspie Golf Club:
www.golspie-golf-club.co.uk

Tain Golf Club:
www.tain-golfclub.co.uk

Brora Golf Club:
www.broragolf.co.uk

Invergordon Golf Club:
www.invergordongolf.co.uk

Alness Golf Club:
www.alness-golfclub.co.uk

Strathpeffer Golf Club:
www.strathpeffergolf.co.uk

Fortrose Golf Club:
www.fortrosegolf.co.uk

Inverness Golf Club:
www.invernessgolf.co.uk

Nairn Golf Club:
www.nairngolfclub.co.uk

Fishing – Salmon & Trout

– River Alness, Alness.  http://www.salmonquest.co.uk/riv…
– Three beats, plus the estuary, with several miles of fishing available on this good salmon river.
– Kyle of Sutherland Angling Association:   www.kosaa.co.uk
The Association provides affordable salmon and sea trout fishing on the Kyle of Sutherland, and wild brown trout fishing on the surrounding hill lochs for local and visiting anglers.
– Alladale, Bonar Bridge:   www.alladale.com

– Dornoch Outdoor:  www.rmacleod.co.uk
– Sutherland Tackle Shop, Brora:  www.helmssdale.org

Deer Stalking & Shooting

Deer stalking (Red. Sika & Roe) is available at many nearby estates:-
–  Corriemulzie Estate, Lairg.
–  Suisgill, Helmsdale.
–  Shinness Lodge, Lairg.
–  Badanloch, Kinbrace.
–  Alladale Estate, Lairg.
–  Skelpick (Bettyhill) & Rhifail (Kinbrace).
–  Tressady Estate, Rogart.
–  Kintradwell Estate, Brora. (Pheasant/Partridge).

Walking

There are many spectacular walks – Migdale Forest, lochs, and coastal paths are waiting to be explored. There is an enjoyable walk on the North side of the Dornoch Firth; first through the Fairy Glen at Spinningdale, then along the shore of Loch Migdale.  (Details see “Walkingworld” by D.B. Grant)

www.walkhighlands.co.uk

Cycling

The Dornoch area offers varied terrain for cyclists of all standards. There are many excellent road routes and recommended is the 34 mile trip from Dornoch to Spinningdale and then round by Loch Buidhe to the Mound and back to Dornoch via Embo. This route is hilly and passes through wonderful scenery. There are well marked MTB’s (mountain bike trails) varying in difficulty, in most of the local forests.

Cycle hire is available at Sam’s Bike Shed in the centre of Dornoch.

Horse Riding

There are two popular local equestrian centres :
Hollywells at Edderton offers tuition and rides, privately or in groups.  A family business prices to suit requirements,  e.g. £28 per hour, or a Half-day Picnic Ride £80.00 (includes food & drink).

Highlands Unbridled at Tain for Trail Riding and Trekking.  An excellent stable, knowledgeable and professional staff, clever and reliable ponies and horses

Bird Watching

The South East of Sutherland has a good range of habitats making the area exceptionally bird rich.

The coast  is the area where the greatest number of birds can be found, with large numbers of  ducks, geese, waders and gulls, gathering from late summer onwards through to spring in the Dornoch Firth, Loch Fleet and along the shallow sandy coast between Dornoch and Brora.

In summer the Straths hold good numbers of breeding waders with a host of passerines such as  Warblers, Chats, Wheatears, Cuckoos and Meadow Pipits.

On the croftland, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Curlew and Lapwing can be found, Skylarks and Song Thrush are also common.

The woodlands have most of the commoner species such as Goldcrest  Siskins, Redpolls, Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker. In summer they are joined by Willow Warblers, Tree Pipits, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher.  A few Wood Warblers hang on, and Jays have become recent colonists along with Red Kites. A variety of raptors can be seen in the hills, as can Red and Black Grouse, although poorly sited windfarms and persecution have made Golden Eagles scarce. So the birdlife is of great interest all year round.

The Dornoch area has some great birdwatching sites, the Dornoch Point and Saltings has hosted some excellent rarities over the years, with a Stilt Sandpiper found here on 18th April 1970.  More recently, Greater Sand Plover and Kentish Plover.  During summer Little, Arctic, Common and Sandwich Terns feed offshore.  In late summer they can be joined by the odd Black Tern during their post breeding dispersal.  In autumn take care to look through the wader flocks as Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper are sometimes found, with the more expected Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers are occasional visitors. Both Sanderling and Grey Plover winter along the beach.  In the dunes there are Skylarks, Reed Buntings and Stonechat.  Snow Buntings are frequent during cold winter weather, as are Twite and Linnet, which in turn attract Merlin and Peregrine.  In winter three diver species can be found. Slavonian Grebes are often mixed in with the wintering sea ducks.  Parking is at the beach car park (NH805895).

Wildlife

Ospreys, Red Deer, Sea Birds, Seals, Dolphins and Ducks are all to be found around the Dornoch Firth.  Our natural landscape is rich in varied habitats and provides safe havens for many resident and migratory species.

Loch Fleet Nature Reserve

Loch Fleet, a sea loch, lies just north of Dornoch and is a haven for fauna and flora. It has a variety of species including Otters and Seals, wild fowl and sea birds, orchids and butterflies. The loch is a large tidal basin with sand dunes, coastal heath and pine woods. The woodland supports species such as Scottish Crossbills, Crested Tits and Pine Marten.