Activity - for when the relaxation gets too cosy
For those who are looking for activity more structured than a wander through the countryside, (or a gruelling adventure scaling one of the countless dramatic hills), we've listed some of the highlights of the locally available sporting pursuits.
Highland Wildcat (Golspie)
Featuring the longest descent in the UK from the summit of Ben Bhraggie (1,300' to sea level) and the longest technical singletrack climb, the trails on the hillside above Golspie offer challenges for every rider. With routes graded from "easy" to "severe" all easily accessible from a dedicated car park, this is a real detsination for any rider.
For many the fishing is the prime purpose of their visit to the Highlands but if you are approaching the fish on a more ad hoc basis The Dornoch & District Angling Association is a good starting point for acquiring permits for fly fishing in Sutherland.
Permits allow trout fishing on a number of accessible lochs near Dornoch, (such as Loch Buidhe and Loch Lagain), with salmon permits available for the River Carnaig/Fleet. Permits and boat hire are also available from the Royal Marine Hotel in Brora.
Dornoch Lochans offer some well, (and regularly), stocked pools and rod hire. Vey convenient though lacking the scenic splendour offered by a boat on Loch Brora.
Dornoch Lochans tel: 01862 810600
There are many options for beach fishing the most convenient of which involves simply strolling the few minutes to the mouth of Loch Fleet. When the high tide is on the turn is probably the most promising time for sea trout but the beach is a reliable site for flat fish as are the beaches at Embo and Dornoch.
Cambusmore Riding Centre (a walk or couple of minute drive along the Loch from Oystercatchers)
Conveniently close pony trekking, own a pony and beach rides for all ages and abilities. Easy to find stables at Skelbo Farm.
tel: 07702 532695
The glorious sandy beaches at Embo and Dornoch are gently shelving and ideal for bathing, paddling or jumping the waves. And at those times of year when the sea temperature is a little cool for comfort and the waters of lochs and rivers too "wild", there are warmer options close by provided by a pool at Grannie's Hielan Hame in Embo and the Sutherland Swimming Pool in Golspie (tel: 01408 633437).
Dornoch is home to three events full, in very different ways, of a very Highland flavour. Late July sees the Sutherland Show http://www.sutherlandshow.com plenty of entertainment and fierce competition amongst some extravagantly horned hardy beasts. Early August brings the Dornoch Highland Gathering http://www.dornochhighlandgathering.com and traditional competition between a different breed of hardy individuals. And New Year is celebrated with the biggest Hogmanay street party north of Edinburgh with events over three days.
Try http://www.visitdornoch.com/enjoy_categories/events/ to see what else is going on in Dornoch.