The Highlands really is the Scotland of your imagination, a beautiful and inspiring region of ancient landscapes with a fascinating history. Witness the amazing wildlife and take part in some thrilling outdoor pursuits. Explore the many mountains and glens, the stunning islands and stretches of coastline, famous lochs, breathtaking beaches and magnificent glens, witness battlefields and ancient monuments, admire local arts and crafts, try almost every outdoor activity you could think of and marvel at the beauty or follow the country's only Malt Whisky Trail. Welcome to the Highlands, a beautiful and inspiring region with a fascinating history, ancient landscapes and a long list of things to see and do. As well as enjoying the spectacular Invercharron Highland Games here are a few other suggestions to make your stay even more memorable.
FALLS OF SHIN
The Falls of Shin a few miles from the games are defiitely worth a visit. The River Shin is one of the best salmon fishing rivers in Scotland. Large salmon heading up river to their destination in Loch Shin can regulalry be seen leaping the falls. Whilst here you can also visit the recently opened Falls of Shin centre for a meal or refreshments and take advantage of their shop, lovely forest walks and outdoor children's play area.
By the tranquil shores of the Dornoch Firth, amidst the golden barley fields of Ross-shire and just outside of Tain, lies the Glenmorangie Distillery. Here you will find a warm Highland welcome from the legendary Men of Tain, the skilled craftsmen who ensure that Glenmorangie is made in the same unhurried and uncompromising way it has always been through its long and distinguished history.
Distillery Tours available. https://glenmorangie.com
Glenmorangie Distillery, Ross-shire, IV19 1PZ
Tel: +44 (0)1862 892 477
On the idyllic coast of the Dornoch Firth on the road between Ardgay and Tain is the home of Balblair Distillery.
It’s here, since 1790, that they have been producing award-winning Highland Single Malt Scotch whisky. At Balblair whisky is only ever released when it’s ready. Every year the Distillery Manager, John MacDonald, selects whiskies that have reached their exact point of 'optimum maturation', the peak of perfection. That’s why we only create Vintages timed to perfection.
Distillery tours available. http://www.balblair.com/
Edderton, Tain, Ross-Shire IV19 1LB
Tel: +44 (0)1862 821273
Clynelish Distillery is located on the A9 at the popular coastal holiday town of Brora, Sutherland, around one hour north of Inverness. With beautiful views of the North Sea and the hills to the north - where the Clynemilton burn runs over seams of gold in the rock. With this water, Clynelish distillery produces a fruity, waxy, slightly smoky single malt.
While in Sutherland, learn about the history of the Highland Clearances at the nearby Timespan Museum in Helmsdale; or visit the beautiful Dunrobin Castle, home to the Clan Sutherland and the home of the first Duke of Sutherland, who built Clynelish Distillery.
Sutherland is also a haven for golfers, with the world famous links courses of Brora, Royal Dornoch, Tain and Golspie. Brora Golf Course looks across to the distillery, so why not visit for a dram after a round of golf.
Clynelish Distillery is a perfect stop for those going on to John O’ Groats or Orkney from Inverness, being almost exactly halfway. Come in for a tour or a dram of Sutherland’s only single malt whisky.
Tel: 01408 623000
Fort George is one of the most outstanding fortifications in Europe. It was built in the wake of the Battle of Culloden (1746) as an impregnable base for King George II’s army. It took 21 years to complete, by which time the Jacobite threat had been largely extinguished.
The imposing fort was designed by General William Skinner and built by the Adam family of architects. Today, it still serves the needs of the modern British Army.
Tel: 01667 460 232
Close to Inverness on the Aberdeen Road IV2 7TD
THE CASTLE OF MEY
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother first saw what was then Barrogill Castle in 1952, while mourning the death of her husband, King George VI. Falling for its isolated charm and hearing it was to be abandoned, she decided to save it. Having acquired the most northerly inhabited castle on the British mainland, The Queen Mother renovated and restored it and created the beautiful gardens you see today. For almost half a century she spent many happy summers here and shorter visits at other times of the year.
The Castle and Gardens of Mey have held Visit Scotland's highest award of a 5 Star quality assurance grading every year since their first unannounced visit in 2007. Their annual assessments include all aspects of the castle, gardens, animal centre, gift shop and tearoom. This is a great accolade for the castle and visitor centre, and well-earned recognition for all the hard work and enthusiasm of the staff.
The Castle of Mey
Cawdor Castle dates from the late 14th century, having been built as a private fortress by the Thanes of Cawdor, with the ancient medieval tower built around the legendary holly tree – wherever you look, Cawdor Castle is steeped in intrigue and history.
The early Thanes of Calder
The early Thanes of Calder - an old spelling of the place name - were appointed Sheriffs and Hereditary Constables of the royal castle of Nairn. This fortification, founded by William the Lion in 1179 was sited to command the ford over the river Nairn near the sea, carefully controlling the coastal route between Inverness and Elgin.
That castle has since vanished without trace. The family had another residence at Old Calder which, according to the Exchequer accounts, was last repaired in 1398. Again, not much remains of that building apart from faint crop-marks.
It was at this time that the building of the present Cawdor Castle began
A new, more efficient site was chosen. The imposing, rectangular tower-house consisted of four storeys and a garret with one entrance to the outside world set at upper first floor level; the perfect design to keep out unwelcome visitors.
The ancient castle, which is home to the Cawdor family to this day, has evolved over 600 years and has been lovingly filled with beautiful furniture, fine portraits, intriguing objects and amazing tapestries.
Cawdor Castle, Nairn Scotland IV12 5RD
Tel: (01667) 404401
Dunrobin Castle is the most northerly of Scotland's great houses and the largest in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms. Dunrobin Castle is also one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses dating back to the early 1300s, home to the Earls and later, the Dukes of Sutherland.
The Castle, which resembles a French chateâu with its towering conical spires, has seen the architectural influences of Sir Charles Barry, who designed London’s Houses of Parliament, and Scotland’s own Sir Robert Lorimer. The Castle was used as a naval hospital during the First World War and as a boys’ boarding school from 1965 to 1972.
Dunrobin Castle is on the east coast of the Northern Highlands overlooking the Moray Firth, just north of the villages of Golspie and Dornoch (famous for its cathedral and Royal Dornoch Golf Club).
Dunrobin Castle is open annually from 1st April to 15th October.
Golspie, Sutherland, KW10 6SF, Scotland
Tel: +44 (0)1408 633177
Fax: +44(0)1408 634081
Between Golspie and Brora is CarnLiath, the Grey Cairn. This broch occupies a terrace overlooking the shore, has walls that are still 12ft high in places, and comes complete with a well preserved entrance passage and lintelled doorway.
The Tain Pottery, now firmly established as one of the largest Scottish ceramic manufacturers offers this range of products created by traditional craft technique and skill. The ware has been developed by a team of artisans including two potters who between them have more than 50 years experience creating craft ceramics. The products cover quite diverse methods and techniques, from hand built and thrown through jiggered and jollied to extruded and pressed.
The Tain Pottery, Aldie, Tain, Ross-shire IV19 1LZ.
Tel: 01862 894112.