Sutherland

The old crofting community of Sutherland is situated in the far north of Scotland

Plan your trip around one of Scotland's most beautiful coastal routes

North Coast 500: More than 500 miles of the best the North Highlands has to offer. The route runs to and from Inverness, venturing round the capital of the Highlands, up the West coast and back via the rugged north coast.

Welcome to Sutherland

Ben Loyal


Also known as the Queen of Scottish Mountains, Ben Loyal sits on the north-western side of the North Coast 500, overlooking the village of Tongue and Loch Loyal.

Ben Loyal is known for its distinctive shape as it features four rocky peaks, the highest of which has its own name and is called 'An Caisteal'

Suitable for climbing for the seasoned walker, the trip to the top is around 9.5 miles and has an ascent of 878m - better fill up on your hearty Highlands' porridge that morning!

 

Unspoilt, naturally stunning landscapes and seascapes with stretches of sand to rival those abroad, welcome to Sutherland

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Sutherland makes up a significant portion of the North Coast 500 and is often broken in to two sections; North West Sutherland and East Sutherland. Both beautiful areas, but each offers something completely different!

North West Sutherland covers a large portion of unspoilt, natural landscapes with the world famous beaches of Achmelvich and Clachtoll being one of the most notable features. The mountain ranges are quite spectacular, bringing together the peculiar 'Policeman's Helmet' shaped Suilven and the mountainous tops of Ben More, Foinaven and Arkle. Walk Highlands provides a great resource for anyone looking to explore these.  
The North-west side is also home to Cape Wrath, the
North West Highlands Geopark and many many more delights
that you must consider for your NC500 itinerary.

The east coast of Sutherland offers a treat when it comes to golfing. The home of the famous Royal Dornoch Golf Course and quality courses nearby in both Golspie and Brora, the east of Sutherland certainly is a worth-while stop for any golf fan.

Sutherland is also home to the fairly-tale castle of Dunrobin. The seat of the Earl and Clan of Sutherland, Dunrobin Castle is perched on the coast of Golspie and is surrounded by the stunning gardens and falconry which is worth a visit on their own!

With so much to see and do - where will you start?

Discover the attractions in Sutherland worth that extra mile.

Whilst we hope to promote the North Coast 500 as a designated route path across the North Highlands of Scotland, we really want everyone to explore the places in and near the route too! There are hundreds of things to see and do that require that extra mile in order to experience!

In a series of blog posts we will explore the villages and towns that you should really get ‘off the beaten track’ to discover.  In our first blog post 'Off the beaten track: Episode 1' in the 'Blogs' page of the website, we look at the things to see and do around Sutherland that requires that little bit more petrol to get to. Here are just a few!
 
  • Falls of Shin
The water falls at Shin are spectacular on their own but the sight of leaping salmon makes them even more special. Did you know that the Falls of Shin is recognised as being one of the best places in all of Scotland to watch leaping Atlantic Salmon!? The fish can be seen anytime between May and November, although later summer months increase the chances of a sighting.
 
  • The Pier Café, Lairg
Priding themselves on serving the freshest of local produce, the award-winning Pier Café is guaranteed to have exactly what you are looking for all year round. For summer months sit outside overlooking the loch and in the winter sit inside by the log burner.  You can also hire a pedalo (or 2) to take out on the lake. Monday is the only day that they take a day off, check their website for opening times around your visit to make sure you don’t miss out on visiting here!
 
  • RSPB Forsinard
A threatened landscape, peatlands have vanished across much of Scotland, but the RSPB is helping to preserve this vital area of internationally important habitat. Summer is the time to visit, when golden plovers, hen harriers and greenshanks breed.   Why not go on a guided bog walk to get up close to the fascinating flora and fauna? You'll see carnivorous plants like sundew and butterwort, as well as creepy crawlies like great diving beetles. The visitor centre also has games and activities for children.

Check out the blog for more info!

Latest News

Laura Mackinnon from the NHI Team tells us more about the most eagerly anticipated event in the Highlands Calendar. 
Top road safety tips to help you travel safely and responsibly on the NC500

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Handy Information about your adventure

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  • Sutherland is the largest county within the North Coast 500 and has two parts; North West and East Sutherland. 
  • There are 24/7 self-service filling stations in Durness and Scourie.
  • North West Sutherland is very remote and many businesses close on Sundays so please consider this in your planning.
  • There are Tourist Information Centres in Lochinver, Durness, Bettyhill and Dornoch.
  • Please remember to drive safely - some of the Sutherland roads are single track so please be cautious.