Easter Ross, Sutherland & Caithness Cottages

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    The most northerly area in mainland Scotland, Sutherland sits with the Moray Firth North Sea coastline to the east, and an Atlantic coastline to the north and west, with Caithness perched on the north eastern corner. The region is particularly known for its spectacular western fringe, with the high mountains giving way to sea cliffs and the very rugged coastline, including the most north westerly point in Scotland, Cape Wrath.

    The Orkney Islands are an archipelago of some 70 islands stretching north from the coast of Caithness. Twenty of the islands are inhabited, and the group enjoys a mild climate and fertile soil. Orkney is home to some of the finest Neolithic sites found anywhere in Europe.

    Things to do in Sutherland, Caithness and Easter Ross
    This often isolated region is popular with hill walkers and nature lovers for its unsurpassed stretches of wild open moorland and mountains. Caithness has open, rolling farmland and moorland, interspersed with scattered settlements. Such a diverse landscape encourages both common and rare habitats and species; consequently, Caithness provides a safe environment for many common breeding species which have undergone serious decline in other areas of the country; these include a wide variety of over-Wintering birds, together with Water Voles, Dolphins and Whales.

    Top Destinations

    Kirkwall – The largest town and the capital of Orkney, Kirkwall is situated on the northern coast of the largest island, which is known as ‘Mainland Orkney’. Although viewed by many Scottish and English eyes as a far northern outpost, Kirkwall was at the very centre of a sea-faring culture which once also encompassed Shetland, the Western Isles, Ireland and even Iceland. Because of this rich heritage, the town may feel more Scandinavian than Scottish. The red brickwork of St Magnus’s Cathedral is the result of almost continuous construction activity since it was begun in 1137; lucky modern visitors can now take advantage of guided tours which give small groups access to the upper areas of the church and the tower.

    Stromness – On the south-west coast of Mainland Orkney, some 16 miles to the west of Kirkwall, Stromness stretches for over a mile along an inlet of Scapa Flow. Originally a natural harbour utilised by the Picts long before even the Vikings arrived, the town grew from a village when the Hudson’s Bay Company adopted it as the first and last port of call for their ships en route for Canada. The town has a labyrinthine quality, with narrow paths climbing steeply from the harbour. The Stromness Museum presents a wide range of local artefacts, and also hosts a continually changing selection of temporary exhibitions.

    Westray – The ‘Queen o’ the Isles’ is the second largest of the Northern Isles after Mainland Orkney. The Westray Stone is a rock carving taken from a local Stone Age tomb; the Stone is believed to have been cut more than four thousand years ago. Rediscovered in 1981, the Stone is now on permanent display in the Westray Heritage Centre in Pierowall.

    Thurso – The most northerly town on the British mainland, the Caithness town of Thurso was once an important Norse port. Today the nearby Pentland Firth, which separates Caithness from the Orkneys, is known for having the coldest waters in which competitive international surfing takes place.

    John O’Groats – Incorrectly thought by many to be the most northerly town on the British mainland, John O’Groats is actually the most northerly end of the longest distance between two inhabited points on the British mainland – an important distinction, particularly if you are one of the numerous individuals who takes up the challenge each year to walk the 874 miles there from Land’s End. The town takes its name from a Dutchman, Jan de Groote, who ran the ferry boat across to the Orkneys in the late 15th century.

    Wick – An estuary town, with both a rail station and an airport, Wick is tucked on the east coast of Caithness, straddling the River Wick and extending along two sides of the almost triangular Wick Bay. Once one of the world’s busiest herring ports, Wick has, more recently, built a healthy reputation as a centre for marine leisure activities.

    Brora – A fine village, Brora was once home to Scotland’s most northerly coal mine. Nowadays the attractive small harbour curves quietly into a slight headland, with its rows of white-painted former fisherman’s cottages. Although too small to have ever taken advantage of the local herring fishing boom which took place during the 1800s, today the village is proud to still retain its small fishing fleet. It is also well known for the quality of its locally distilled whisky.

    Kinlochbrevie – A harbour village set in a rugged and rocky inlet in the north west of Sutherland, Kinlochbrevie is the most northerly port on the west coast of Scotland, and still bases its economy on the handling of the fish catches that are landed there. For this reason, despite its remote location, the village enjoys relatively good road links, and its fine local scenery is an additional tourist attraction.

    Lairg – One of the few settlements within the Northern Highlands not to be situated on the coast, set instead centrally inland and at the hub of the local road network, with good rail connections, Lairg is a popular base for visitors, as it offers a fine selection of local amenities. The village is still an important centre for the trade in sheep, particularly during August, when it plays host to the largest one-day livestock auction in Europe, with its annual lamb sale.

    Lochinver – At the eastern end of Loch Inver, the port of Lochinver is the largest settlement on the west coast north of Ullapool, and is an established base for those intending to explore the magnificent ‘Pillar Mountain’ of Suilven.

    Achiltibuie – A well spaced out assortment of homes at the end of two stretches of single tracked road, Achiltibuie is not a place to be stumbled on by accident, or just when ‘passing through’ on your way elsewhere; but with its unspoilt appearance it also offers some stunning views across the sea from the Coigach Peninsula and over to the Summer Isles.

    Invergordon – A town and port in Easter Ross, Invergordon has a long naval history, a fact reflected in its Naval Museum and Heritage Centre, which also has a frequently changing range of local exhibits. A Town Walk and a series of ‘Heritage Murals’ are Invergordon’s more recent efforts to exploit its fine history, and to enhance its future and appeal to visitors. 

    Tain – A small town with good rail connections, Tain is known worldwide as the home of the Glenmorangie Distillery, producer of the bestselling single malt in Scotland. The whisky is famous for being distilled by the ‘16 Men of Tain’, who are still responsible for its production.


    Recently updated properties

    photo of Seascape , Hilton, near Tain, Highlands
    Seascape is situated right on the edge of the sea in the pretty hamlet of Hilton. This pretty 19th-century stone terraced property enjoys spectacular, uninterrupted seascape views from the cottage and gardens. Located next ...
    Bedrooms: 1
    Sleeps Max: 2
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: dog friendly

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    photo of Keeper's House , Rosehall, near Lairg, HighlandsNorthern Highlands
    Keeper’s House is situated in beautiful Glen Cassley. This charming, traditional, detached stone cottage overlooks the renowned River Cassley and enjoys stunning views from all windows. Situated on the Highland estate of ...
    Bedrooms: 3
    Sleeps Max: 6
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: dog friendly

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    photo of The Waves , Wick, Highlands
    Enjoying spectacular panoramic views from the comfort of the living room, where you can regularly watch the seals, ducks, and other wildlife. The Waves is furnished and equipped to a very good standard to ensure a ...
    Bedrooms: 3
    Sleeps Max: 6
    Guide Price: £££

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    photo of Owl Cottage , Lothmore, Helmsdale, Highlands, Tain
    Uninterrupted views, peaceful locationEnjoying views across the fields and the waters of the Moray Firth. Within a 5-minute drive of a sandy beach, this extended former croft house makes the perfect holiday base for ...
    Bedrooms: 3
    Sleeps Max: 6
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: dog friendly

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    photo of The Bolthole , Balintore, Highlands, Tain
    The Bolthole is a traditional, single-storey, fisherman’s cottage situated in a quiet lane just a few yards from the beautiful sandy bay of Balintore. This 19th-century, end-terraced stone cottage has been completely ...
    Bedrooms: 2
    Sleeps Max: 3
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: pet friendly

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    photo of Rosemary Cottage , Balintore, near Tain, Highlands
    Rosemary Cottage is situated in a quiet backwater just a few steps from the superb sandy beach of Balintore in heart of Ross-shire. This pretty, semi-detached, old stone cottage was once the village cobbler’s house. ...
    Bedrooms: 2
    Sleeps Max: 3
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: pet friendly

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    photo of Thistle Cottage , Bonar Bridge, near Lairg, Highlands
    Thistle Cottage occupies the ground floor of a traditional 19th-century stone cottage. Overlooking the spectacular Kyle of Sutherland, it enjoys lovely views across these superb waters, the confluence of four famous salmon ...
    Bedrooms: 1
    Sleeps Max: 2
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: pet friendly

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    photo of Balone House , Ullapool, Northern Highlands
    Situated right on the seafront in the charming west coast village of Ullapool, Balone House enjoys stunning panoramic sea views all round. Originally built in the 19th century to accommodate the fishing boom at the time, ...
    Bedrooms: 3
    Sleeps Max: 5
    Guide Price: £££

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    photo of Bluebell House , Helmsdale, Highlands, Brora
    Ground floor: Living/dining area. Kitchen with breakfast area. Shower room with toilet. First floor: 3 double bedrooms, one with sloping ceiling (bed accessed from one side only). Bathroom with shower attachment, toilet ...
    Bedrooms: 3
    Sleeps Max: 6
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: pets allowed

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    photo of The Cottage , Toftingall, near Watten, Highlands, Thurso
    Situated on a working farmSet on a working farm, this simply and cosily furnished property enjoys a quiet and unspoilt location in the Caithness countryside. Just a mile or so off the A9, The Cottage makes a super base for ...
    Bedrooms: 4
    Sleeps Max: 6
    Guide Price: £££
    Pets: dog friendly

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