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Heading north?

Vee

Heading north?

Sightseeing
One of the best views in the Highlands is over the Dornoch Firth from the Struie Hill - you will cross Thomas Telford bridges on this wild mountain road. beats sticking to the A9 any day!
Struie
One of the best views in the Highlands is over the Dornoch Firth from the Struie Hill - you will cross Thomas Telford bridges on this wild mountain road. beats sticking to the A9 any day!
Look out for otter in the river here - and be sure to stop in Bonar and visit its few quirky old fashioned shops. if the bridge looks modern, you are quite right - a storm swept away the old one (Thomas Telford told them not to build there and he was quite right!).
Bonar Bridge
Look out for otter in the river here - and be sure to stop in Bonar and visit its few quirky old fashioned shops. if the bridge looks modern, you are quite right - a storm swept away the old one (Thomas Telford told them not to build there and he was quite right!).
A visit to Ledmore and Migdale Woods is a bit like visiting the Highlands in miniature. You will find instructions of how to access the tiny car park at Spinningdale on the Woodland Trust Scotland website. you will turn off the A9 on a sharp bend towards a sign for Migdale. Cross the humpbacked bridge and the carpark will soon appear on your right. the philanthropist billionaire Andrew Carnegie bought his estate at Skibo (now a fancy hotel) because of the Fairy Glen in Spinningdale, right above the humpbacked bridge. The Carnegie grandchildren were set loose here with a frying pan and some sausages and would have expeditions to climb Migdale Rock. The roofed ruin of Torran nà Dannsaidh (the Dancing Lawn) just a few minutes' walk above the car park has a little orchard. the apple tree at the very front was planted in memory of Vee's late brother. Vee undertook all the interpretation (panels, walk routes etc) here. The view from the top across to the Dornoch Firth is worth the climb. look out for tiny carnivorous plants in the paths: sundew, butterwort.
Ledmore & Migdale
A visit to Ledmore and Migdale Woods is a bit like visiting the Highlands in miniature. You will find instructions of how to access the tiny car park at Spinningdale on the Woodland Trust Scotland website. you will turn off the A9 on a sharp bend towards a sign for Migdale. Cross the humpbacked bridge and the carpark will soon appear on your right. the philanthropist billionaire Andrew Carnegie bought his estate at Skibo (now a fancy hotel) because of the Fairy Glen in Spinningdale, right above the humpbacked bridge. The Carnegie grandchildren were set loose here with a frying pan and some sausages and would have expeditions to climb Migdale Rock. The roofed ruin of Torran nà Dannsaidh (the Dancing Lawn) just a few minutes' walk above the car park has a little orchard. the apple tree at the very front was planted in memory of Vee's late brother. Vee undertook all the interpretation (panels, walk routes etc) here. The view from the top across to the Dornoch Firth is worth the climb. look out for tiny carnivorous plants in the paths: sundew, butterwort.
Lovely wee historic town, cafes, excellent food at the Castle Hotel, interesting museum and sublime but windy golden sand beach.
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Dornoch
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Lovely wee historic town, cafes, excellent food at the Castle Hotel, interesting museum and sublime but windy golden sand beach.
The photo says it all. Look out for fragile white 'sea potatoes' - the remains of sea urchins enjoyed as a light snack by an oystercatcher or other seabird.
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Dornoch Beach
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The photo says it all. Look out for fragile white 'sea potatoes' - the remains of sea urchins enjoyed as a light snack by an oystercatcher or other seabird.
Cracking wee local museum. Good on the 'Newfies' - the Canadian Forestry Corps - who turned local girls' heads here during WWII. Check opening hours online.
Historylinks Museum
Cracking wee local museum. Good on the 'Newfies' - the Canadian Forestry Corps - who turned local girls' heads here during WWII. Check opening hours online.
Nice wee place, shops and cafes, excellent museum and art gallery, Timespan
Helmsdale
Nice wee place, shops and cafes, excellent museum and art gallery, Timespan
Highly recommend leaving the A9 at Helmsdale and driving inland to the eerie floating world of Forsinard Flows. In warm weather rare sand lizards like miniature dinosaurs bask on the black plastic sleepers of the floating paths. Peaty pools, heather, huge sense of space and freedom. On still damp days cover yourself in anti-midge spray.
Forsinard Flows Lookout Tower
Highly recommend leaving the A9 at Helmsdale and driving inland to the eerie floating world of Forsinard Flows. In warm weather rare sand lizards like miniature dinosaurs bask on the black plastic sleepers of the floating paths. Peaty pools, heather, huge sense of space and freedom. On still damp days cover yourself in anti-midge spray.
A short worthwhile detour with a small cafe beside it, Whaligoe is an old whaling port with narrow stone steps down the steep cliff.
Whaligoe Steps
A short worthwhile detour with a small cafe beside it, Whaligoe is an old whaling port with narrow stone steps down the steep cliff.
Slightly seedy as all these first or last places tend to be, John o' Groats is an imposter - the cliffs to the west of here are slightly further north. The curious name is supposed to have come from a Dutchman, Jan de Groote.
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John o' Groats
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Slightly seedy as all these first or last places tend to be, John o' Groats is an imposter - the cliffs to the west of here are slightly further north. The curious name is supposed to have come from a Dutchman, Jan de Groote.
For me, Duncansby Head feels far more like the real 'true north' than does John o' Groats. Look out for puffins in spring and summer.
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Duncansby Head Lighthouse
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For me, Duncansby Head feels far more like the real 'true north' than does John o' Groats. Look out for puffins in spring and summer.