Out and about - Dornoch, East Sutherland and beyond

Rainbow at the west end of Loch Fleet Loch Fleet

Sutherland includes much of Britain's last wilderness with hills to the horizon, glassy lochs, torrents tumbling to the sea and mysterious flows oozing across great vistas. And all of this is edged by seas that while steely in Winter turn to Caribbean-brochure blues as they sweep over miles of deserted sandy beaches in Summer. The distances may look large on a map but with so little traffic the whole of the north is open to a day trip from Oystercatchers. The west coast is only an hour and a half away but you'll find many attractions much closer to home. http://www.discoversutherland.co.uk

Castle Street Dornoch Dornoch Castle Street

Just south of Oystercatchers lies Dornoch. It may be no bigger than a village but few villages can be so handsome and boast a cathedral or bishop's castle on the main street. When you add the array of cafes and restaurants, the swathe of gently shelving sandy beaches and a golf course invariably rated amongst the top five in the British Isles, Dornoch is rather special.

Dornoch beach on a blustery day Dornoch beach

Each Saturday evening from Easter through to September a pipe band parades along the main street to give you a thoroughly Highland welcome. Dornoch is picture perfect but practical too for eating out, shopping and anything else you might need, though if you need a splash of larger town mixed into your holiday Inverness, the "capital" of the Highlands, is only 50 minutes' drive away. http://www.visitdornoch.com


If the hills, the lochs and the beaches give you an outdoor overload there are numerous visitor attractions within easy reach that will entertain or intrigue.

Dunrobin Castle and gardens Dunrobin Castle

Although we have our own picturesque ruined castle just half a mile along the lane, we have to put in a word for Dunrobin Castle in Golspie. Not for the stately home grandeur or even the weird and wonderful collection of taxidermy but for a simply brilliant falconry display (we wouldn't have considered falconry to be our thing but this display is fantastic for all ages). http://www.dunrobincastle.co.uk/


One of the joys of Oystercatchers is that if you head south the country feels familiar and comfortable and if you head north or west you feel you are entering the wilds. You really can just take your pick depending on your whim and what the weather holds.


Or you can choose to stay put and just soak in the ambience of Oystercatchers and its immediate location; swallows swooping across the lawn, oystercatchers chattering by the water's edge, a little corner of a grand landscape that a couple of past guests have described as "just good for the soul".