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You don’t have to go all the way to the Orkneys to appreciate northern Scotland. Sutherland and Caithness have much to offer. The Seaboard villages of Hilton, Balintore and Portmahomack are delightful, with sandy beaches and a quiet air of peace. On to Tain, a Royal Burgh that boasts the ruin of St Duthac’s Chapel and the Tain Through Time Exhibition. The world famous Glenmorangie Distillery is nearby.

Continuing north and crossing the Dornoch Bridge we come to Skibo country and Dornoch. The town boasts the cathedral where Madonna married Grant Richie and where they baptised their child. This is a beautiful little town, which attracts tourists from all over the world to its golf course, rated one of the best in the world. Tom Watson rates Hole …as his favourite of all time. The sands here and at nearby Embo are spectacular and not jam packed!

The Victorian pile, Dunrobin Castle, home of the Duke and Countess of Sutherland forever remembered for their callous treatment of their highland tenants, is worth a visit.

Brora and Golspie golf courses are worthwhile and as we travel northwards we come to the former fishing village of Helmsdale where the fabulous Timespan museum is situated. As well as the history of earliest times this museum tells the story of the Highland Clearances as well as the 19th century Kildonan gold rush!

Lairg and Croick Church, especially, tell of the plight of the Highlanders forcibly cleared from the land by the factors of the Duke of Sutherland in the early 19th century.

Further north in Caithness is the Castle of Mey, formerly a home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and now owned by Prince Charles, heir to the thrones of Great Britain.

Further information and other suggestions for visits can be found on the VisitScotland website.