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Activities, Attractions and Sightseeing

Scenery

The scenery in North and West Sutherland is truly breathtaking. With many hills, mountains, rivers, lochs and waterfalls, and the rugged coast line with its cliffs, bays and beaches. This is an ideal area for sightseers, photographers and artists alike. At any time of the year and whatever the weather there are always stunning views to be appreciated.

Mountains / Hill Walking / Climbing

There are many opportunities for climbing and hill walking in the North West Highlands. In Sutherland there are three Munros to be "bagged", Ben Hope, Ben Klibreck and Ben More Assynt, with many more just over the county line in Wester Ross. There are also the awesome solitary mountains of West Sutherland Canisp, Cul More, Cul Beag and, Sutherlands very own "Sugerloaf", Suilven, with amazingly a dry stone dyke built right over the top. There is Ben Loyal, the Queen of Scottish mountains, to the North, along with Foinaven and Arkle. Watch Quinaig transform through a myriad of spectacular colours as the sun moves to the west and sets, casting its light over the face of the mountain. Take the relatively easy walk to the top of Stack Polly, which you can take your car half way up. Don't forget the stalkers in the latter part of the year, most estates will give information about when and when not to go walking or climbing.

Waterfalls

See Salmon leaping at the Achness, Shin, Glenmuik falls among many others. The Eas-coul-aulin falls, the highest in Britain, lie at the head of Loch Glencoul. This can be reached by a two hour cruise leaving from Kylesku. Many seal colonies and other wildlife can be observed on this trip.

Golf

There are several golf courses less than an hours drive from Altassmore. The closest of which is the nine hole course at Bonar Bridge, only 15 minutes drive away. There are eighteen hole courses at Tain, Golspie, Brora and of course the famous Royal Dornoch championship course. There is also a new nine hole course at Ullapool. A bit further afield, on the North coast, there is the nine hole course at Durness with its 4th hole, crossing over the cliffs of a sea inlet, making it one of the most spectacular in Britain.

Beaches

There are beaches around all three coasts of Sutherland. To the east Dornoch and Embo have large open beaches. To the west there are several, more secluded, beaches. Three of the more easily accessible West Coast beaches are Acmelvich and Clachtol, near Lochinver, and Oldshoremore near Kinlochbervie. An 8km hike from Kinlochbervie gives access to the isolated beach at Sandwood Bay. The North coast is also home to many beautiful beaches. Durness, Coldbackie, Farr, Strathy and Melvich being some of the better known. At the right time of year conditions on the North Coast can be ideal for surfing.

Castles

Visit Dunrobin Castle, with its museum and wonderful gardens. Nearby Carbisdale Castle, now a youth hostel, has tours in the summer time. The ruins of Ardvreck Castle on the shores of Loch Assynt and Castle Varrich near Tongue are also well worth a look

Bird watching

Many species of birds reside in the area. These include Red-Throated and Black-Throated Divers, a variety of ducks, geese, mergansers and waders, along with Grouse, Blackcock, Curlews, Lapwing, Redshank, Buzzards and Owls which are all quite common. The rarer sightings include Hen Harriers, Peregrine Falcon, Golden Eagles, Ptarmigans and Ospreys. For sea birds one of the most exciting places to go is the sea bird sanctuary island of Handa. Here many species can be seen at very close quarters, the situation and scenery help to make this an impressive day trip. Handa can be reached by boat from Tarbet on the West Coast of Sutherland near Scourie, don't forget your packed lunch!.

Wildlife

Pine Martins, Foxes, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Sika Deer, Badgers, Otters, Wild Cats, Hares, Salmon, Porpoises, Dolphins, Seals and many species of birds make their home in, and around the coast line of, Northern Scotland. The nature of the countryside, and the proximety of the road system to the habitat of many of these animals, make sightings common place, often at close range.

Fishing

Trout fishing is available in a variety of hill lochs. Sea fishing can be arranged in many of the West Coast fishing villages.

Caves / Geology

Visit the caves and underground rivers at Inchnadamph. Here some of the oldest rocks in the world can be found. Smoo Cave at Durness is a huge limestone cavern, with three seperate chambers, which can be entered by walkway and boat.

Distilleries

Several distilleries nearby Clynelish, at Brora, and Glenmorangie, near Tain, being two of the most well known. Both have visitor centres and host tours.

History

Much of the Highlands is seeped in history with evidence of the Highland Clearances in many places, including the famous church at Croick where the people of Glen Calvie carved there names in the glass of the windows while they sought shelter after being evicted from their homes to make way for sheep. There are also many brochs, stone circles, standing stones and sites of archaeological interest around the area.

Loch Ness

Only one and a half hours drive to see if you can spot Nessie.

John O'Groats

Two hours drive to the northern most extreme of the British mainland and starting (or finishing!) point for many charity events.

Dornoch

Visit the Royal Burgh of Dornoch with its magnificent cathedral, where pop star Madonna was recently married. Have a round of golf on the world famous Royal Dornoch championship course. Relax on the beautiful beach with miles of golden sand. See the spot where the last witch burning in Scotland occurred in 1722. Or go and have a cup of tea in the old jail.

Ullapool

Visit this picturesque West Coast fishing village. Here you will find museums, a golf course and fine sea food among other things. The drive there is one of the most beautiful trips in the North.

Corrieshalloch Gorge

While in the Ullapool area why not visit this incredible feat of nature. 1 Mile long and 200 feet deep, a suspension bridge, from which the 150 foot Falls of Measach can be viewed, crosses this spectacular gorge.

Inverewe Gardens

Carry on past Corrieshalloch for an hour and visit Inverewe Gardens. Warmed by the Gulf Stream many unusual species, from far afield, are grown there.

The Old Man of Stoer

This impressive sea stack, on the West Coast near Lochinver, can be reached by a tricky 3km walk from Stoer Lighthouse.

Sandwood Bay

An 8km walk from Kinlochbervie to this beautiful, secluded bay with its magnificent beach. Reputed to be the haunt of mermaids.

Gold

Visit the beautiful Strath of Kildonan and try your hand a panning for gold in the waters of the burn that gave rise to the Kildonan Goldrush last century.

And much, much more...

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Copyright 1998, Donald Aird
Last Update: Sunday, 3rd June 2001
URL: http://www.altassmore.co.uk
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