Self Catering Scottish North Coast
"A Beautiful Self Catering Cottage on the Scottish North Coast"
The great escape to the amazing beautiful North Coast is made from Inverness in just over 2 hours nowadays. Awaiting you is a Luxury Self Catering Holiday Cottage (once a croft cottage) remote, detached and easily accessible by train or car even in the winter....this is the perfect place to runaway too.
Having enjoyed a breathtaking unforgettable journey through the length of Scotland in easy stages, Far North Cottage awaits you offering total "comfort and relaxation" while enjoying spectacular views of the Pentland Firth, the Isles of Orkney, Soy and Scapa Flow...and once a month on average the famous and mysterious Northern lights !
Not quite...Dunnet Head is Britain's most northerly point, it is also further north than Moscow and Stavanger in Norway - but more easily accessible.
Standing high above the surrounding Pentland Firth the views extend all the way from Cape Wrath at the north-western tip of mainland Scotland to Duncansby Head at its much closer north-eastern tip. In some ways, though, it is Hoy and Orkney to the north that command most attention.
And if you can drag your eyes away from the shoreline and seascape, the views inland to the surprisingly pointy peaks of Morvern and Maiden Pap simply complete the stunning vista.
Fantastic sunset or sunrise?
The morning sun at "Brough Bay" Dunnet Head....June 03:00am!
A rainbow behind the stacks (middle) and the view from the Conservatory (Right)
Dunnet Head Wildlife
Living with you during your stay on and around this most beautiful peninsula are Puffins, Eagles, Great Skua, Ravens, Rock Dove, Twite and of course deer....and if you want to see, Kingfishers, Otters, Seals, Dolphins, whales and a whole host of other wildlife...simply take a 1/4 mile stroll from the cottage down the single track road to "Brough bay" (sunrise picture above) Breeding Puffins are present from March to September and nearby Dunnet Bay includes Great Northern Diver, Common Scoter, Goldeneye, Red-Breasted Merganser, ducks and gulls. White-fronted Geese overwinter in nearby Loch Mey. Except for the cliff breeding colonies, there are birds in residence year-round.
You may well recognise these 2 lovely images below...perhaps on a postcard or even the TV. Yes this is Dunnet Head... one of the most photographed locations in the world and for a week or two it could be part of your back garden
Cape Wrath, Kyle of Tongue, John O'Groats
The areas of Caithness and Sutherland form Scotland's northern wilderness offering superb panoramic mountain views and stunning scenery. Their scenery varies from wild cliffs and tiny islands to lonely moorland and remote golden sandy beaches. You will find Majestic castles like Dunrobin, Old Wick and Girnigoe, dozens of ancient monuments, quality tweeds and woollens, whisky distilleries such as Clynelish Distillery. Plus tree-lined twisting roads, spectacular bays, pretty harbours and foaming rivers rich in Brown Trout and Salmon.
The Strath of Kildonan (Smaller images) of Berriedale, Helmsdale and Dunrobin Castle
Golfing and Fishing Holidays
Championship golf courses such as Raey and places where you can fish for salmon and trout, an abundance of wildlife, excellent leisure pursuits, Salmon leaping at the Falls of Shin Visitor Centre , Falconry Displays. Why not hit the Highland trail and join Scotland's great gold rush. Many hundreds did in the 1880s and gold is still to be found in the local streams!
Castle Mey it's Lovely gate house and wonderful gardens
For the highly active there are a wide range of pursuits from horse riding / Pony trekking, surfing, sail boarding, land yachting, kites & kite buggying, sub-aqua diving and sailing, places to climb and walk. For the less active and just in need of a rest the beaches are amazing and often you will find one all to yourself. The area has much to offer for those interested in History and archaeology. With a local guide leaflet you can follow trails or head for one of the many ancient monuments.
Dunnet head, it's famous lighthouse and views (left) and a few of its many local residents
While staying at Dunnet head, why not also sample the delights of the beautiful Orkney islands. There are more than 70 islands in the Orcadian Archipelago.....of which 17 are inhabited.
Access Orkney daily in the summer from John o' Groats, or Scrabster (Thurso) throughout the year... choose from island-hopping, pottering around ancient sites and dreamlike beaches, spending time browsing in craft shops and galleries, sample wholesome cuisine and drink the world famous ale and whisky..
Select Images of the beautiful Orkney Isles
Orkney Culture and Scapa Flow
Orkney has much to charm the visitor - historic attractions of global significance, diverse wildlife in a pure and serene environment, a rich cultural heritage, and the same traditionally warm and welcoming people you will find in Caithness.
You have a clear view of Scapa flow from the window of Dunnet Head cottage, why not take a closer look at Scapa flow during your visit to Orkney and it's significant role in both wars, the great battleship Royal Oak was sunk here in October 1939 with the loss of 833 men and lies here with a number of other warships to this day, find out about this and much more at the new Naval museum....the highly active can also scuba-dive under supervision to view these monster ships lying deep in the flow.
Select Images of the beautiful Orkney Isles
Orkney Ferries / Orkney Car Hire
A day trip to Orkney from Dunnet Head Cottage is highley recomended. For the day tripper on foot the fantastic JOG Ferry Tel 01955 611353. Operating from John O' Groats to (Burwick) Orkney just 40 minutes crossing time this ferry runs every day through the summer from May to the end of September, you can choose from a variety of tours and the maxi day tour at just £37 is fantastic value. You can also access Orkney (12 months/ all year round) from Scrabster (Thurso) via North link ferries. Return Adult fare from just £24 ( Return car fare from £80 and perhaps a little expensive for just a day trip) however you can easily pick up a hire car at Stromness (Orkney) from either Orkney Car Hire or Orkney Car rental from just £32 per day.
To the south there are a number of recommended day trips including Dunrobin Castle, the most northerly of Scotland's Great Houses and is certainly one of the most majestic. It is the largest house in the Northern Highlands with 189 rooms, and is one of Britain's oldest continuously inhabited houses, dating in part from the early 1300s. The history of the castle is quite fascinating and has seen the architectural influences of Sir Charles Barry and latterly Sir Robert Lorimer. The castle has been used as a naval hospital during the First World War and from 1965 to 1972 as a boys' school.
The majestic Dunrobin castle and it's gardens an easy day trip from Far North Cottage
The falls of Shin, Salmon leaping and Loch Shin
Another easy day trip are to the Falls of Shin a truly wonderful experience for all the family. Open all year and amongst spectacular Highland Scenery, it's well worth the journey down the Coast. After heading west along the A949 and the banks of Beautiful Dornoch Firth, Bonar Bridge you arrive at the dramatic waterfalls, where it's famous, natural Atlantic Salmon Leap can take your breath away.
The estate is owned by Mr Al Fayed...see him for yourself as he graces the entrance courtesy of a genuine Madam Tussaud's waxwork. The River Shin is one of the great Salmon rivers in Scotland, with the fresh, clear water - coloured slightly brown due to the natural peaty soil of the landscape - creating perfect conditions for the Atlantic Salmon, and other fish that thrive in a constant flow of fresh water. This most natural feature enthralls visitors lucky enough to witness the many Atlantic Salmon as they battle upstream at the Falls to return to their place of birth in Loch Shin and spawn the next generation. There are also countless river and forest walks, BBQ, gift shop, restaurant and a mini golf course.
To the North of the falls lies Loch Shin One of Scotland's most picturesque & best kept secrets is found in Sutherland. Loch Shin is over 18 miles in length. Just like Loch Ness it is believed to be the home of deep mysterious creatures.
The dramatic falls of Shin, The beautiful Dornoch Firth and Bonar Bridge
The RSPB Bird Sanctuary Reserve - Forsinard
Forsinard lies in the heart of the internationally important Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland. Comprising over 10,000 ha of 'blanket bog', the peat lands are best during spring and summer, with birds including golden plovers, hen harriers and greenshanks breeding on the reserve. The reserve is open at all times; visitor centre is open Easter to end of October, daily 9 am to 5.30. It is a must for all nature lovers and is easily reached from Far North Cottage via the North Coast Road and the delightful strath of Kildonan.
Smoo Cave, Durness
No stay in the Far North of Scotland is complete without a visit to Smoo Cave near Durness, on the North Coast. This huge cave set into limestone cliffs is more than 200 feet long and 130 feet wide and 50 feet high at the entrance! The cave has been carved by successive episodes of high sea level over the past several hundred years. The huge entrance, the largest cave entrance in the British Isles is more than 15 meters high and leads into a chamber more than 60 meters long and 40 meters wide. The second chamber, containing the waterfall, is about 21 meters by 9 meters and can be viewed from a specially constructed platform, the third chamber is accessible only by a small boat.
The Smoo burn Allt Smoo drops nearly 25 meters into the second chamber down a vertical shaft, the Falis Smoo or chimney Smoo as the as the sink hole in the roof is called. The burn cascades into a deep pool with a depth of around eight meters. After heavy rain, the Allt Smoo is changed into a raging torrent that crashes into the underground lochan with a gigantic roar. The "blow hole" and waterfall can be observed from an observation point above the cave.
Dunnet Bays wonderful golden sands and Brough Bay
Dunnet Bay and its wonderful golden sands
Apart from Dunnet head itself and very local to Far North Cottage is the famous Dunnet bay golden sands where you can surf, sunbathe or build sand castles...and just 1/4 mile from Far North cottage you can watch the seals play, Eagles plunge, Puffins nest and you may even catch a glimsp Kingfishers, Otters, Basking Sharks, Dolphins, whales at Brough Bay below.
Panorama of Brough bay and it's famous stacks
Just inland from the beautiful sands of Dunnet Bay, lies Dunnet Forest covering 104 hectares, a mature Forest well worth a visit, the forest is dominated by Sitka spruce and Lodgepole, Corsican and Mountain pine, with a few broadleaf species, such as Sycamore. Extensive, publicly accessible woodland is rare in the Northern Highlands, much work has been carried out in recent years including an all-abilities trail. The all-abilities trail has been extended to 1600m, and approx 2km of new footpaths created. In addition, a 2km horse riding trail, and a mountain bike "technical trail" have been constructed as well as a number of wood and stone sculptures in the forest.
The amazing Dunnet Forest and it's trails and footpaths
Local area Information
The nearest restaurants / Inns are the Northern Sands Hotel, Dunnet www.northernsands.co.uk (approx 2 1/2 miles) and the Castle Arms Hotel, Mey www.castlearms.co.uk (approx 5 miles) both serving fine food and drink with extensive menus offering locally produced ingredients. The nearest Petrol station, shop and post office are in Castletown (approx 6 miles) The nearest large town is Thurso (13 miles) with shops, supermarkets, restaurants, swimming pool, Golf Course, Leisure Centre, cinema, doctor and vet. Castle Mey (5 miles). John o' Groats (13 miles) Duncansby stacks (15 miles) The nearest unspoilt golden beach is Dunnet bay (3 miles) The area is famous for its range of loch, river and sea fishing. Permits and boat hire on lochs available for salmon, sea trout, brown trout and numerous sea varieties, various, seaside, cliff top, and country walks...on your door step or just round the corner.
Crystal clear waters, Thurso (Royal Burgh) Dunnet Bay, Berriedale and the pretty village of Brough
Dunnet Head cottage is accessed via a single track road from the little hamlet of Brough and offers you very comfortable accommodation. The cottage is double glazed with total control electric heating throughout, its thick stone walls keeping the cold winters and oppressive summer heat waves away.
Living Space relax and settle into a good book before the Log Burner in the living room comfortably furnished with armchairs and sofas, this room is warm and well lit. In it you will find a Freeview TV, VCR, Hi Fi and lovely sea views. Or lounge in the Conservatory enjoying amazing Sea Views and benefiting from the sun from dawn till dusk.
The kitchen / Dining area is brand new and fully equipped with all the necessary modern equipment including a Dining table and 6 chairs; cooker; oven; microwave; fridge freezer; toaster; kettle; dishwasher; washing machine; tumble dryer; iron and ironing board, radio / cassette player. Other essentials such as glasses, crockery, cutlery and a corkscrew are also provided for your convenience. You can also enjoy cooking in the sun by Bar-B-Q in the garden. This detached cottage is surrounded by an enclosed garden of nearly 1/2 acre.
The Master en-suite bedroom...perhaps your honeymoon suite?
The Bedrooms and bathrooms
Downstairs Master en-suite bedroom after an active day in the fresh air, lounge on the sofa or stretch out on the kingsize bed and watch TV or a DVD this spacious master bedroom has ample hanging and drawer space. This bedroom now leads to the newly converted en-suite bathroom, featuring a 2 person Jacuzzi bath, with WC and wash hand basin
There is a further main downstairs bathroom featuring another relaxing Jacuzzi bath with overhead shower, WC and wash hand basin.
Infrared Sauna the cottage also benefits from an Infrared Sauna installed in the En-suite bathroom. Modern Infrared saunas offer several advantages over traditional Saunas, firstly they operate at around 40C – much more comfortable than 85C in traditional version. The have a fast warm up time only (10 mins) v 60~90 mins for traditional Saunas, plus they have a number of health benefits and Therapies (e.g. SAD light)
"Fantastic views" out to the Orkneys and the Pentland firth....from the comfort of this holiday cottage
An evening in or out
Take advantage of the long summer evenings in the comfort of the conservatory, conveniently facing the
Pentland Firth and the Orkney Isles, Dunnet Head offers the most wonderful evening views and sunset...and
on crisp clear Autumn and winter nights a wee glance of the Northern lights "Aurora Borealis".....and in the
deep mid-winter the sight of 30 foot waves crashing over the cliffs and rocks.
The total package...no hidden extras
The cottage is open and available all year round, Electricity, lighting, Total control electric Heating, Towels and all Bed Linen additional blankets are inclusive in the cost of hire.
Views of the mysterious... Northern skies over Orkney
The best time to see the Northern Lights
One of the advantages of the cottages Far North location and the absence of street lamps presents regular sightings of the Northern lights "Aurora Borealis". With good timing you have a good chance of experiencing one of the world's most magnificent natural phenomena: the Northern Lights. The Northern night sky dancing with red, yellow, green, blue and violet streamers, arcs and rays. The best time to see the Northern lights is in the months of October, November, December and January between 10 pm and 3 am. If you don't see the Northern Lights, then at least you'll see the stars - many, many more than you'll see from anywhere less remote. The longer you look up, the more stars will appear!
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