Surround yourself by the majesty of the mountains. Be amazed at the landscape of the flow country. Go to where the only sounds you hear are the birds, or the buzz of an insect, or the trickle of water in a wee burn beside your path. Hear the roar of the waves when the wind is wild. Feel the spray from a mighty waterfall as it tumbles, clean and clear, over rocks. Smell the coconut of the gorse in the summer, inhale the ozone from the sea. Allow your senses to connect you to what matters.
There are beaches too, golden, sandy wonders that stretch for miles, and that you might get all to yourselves, apart from a few inquisitive seals, a family of otters, or the waders who run playfully in and out of the shallow waves. You’ll be tempted to bare your toes and join them.
Stop, focus on the waves. Watch the sunlight dance on the water. See how the wind creates spindrift as it catches the surface of a breaking wave. Imagine the creatures who live within; real and mythical. Marvel at the synergy between the moon and the tides and tune in to their natural rhythms.
Walks along sandy beaches, finding paths along rivers to discover secret waterfalls, and finding a sheltered spot in which to watch clouds race across the sky, or watch daylight fade into that soft, crepuscular light of the early evening. Is there anything more restful?
This part of Scotland might just have the highest ratio of beaches per head of population than anywhere else you’ve ever been. So, wherever you are you’ll not be far from golden shores. A glance at the OS map shows huge sandy swathes all the way up the east coast from Dornoch through Golspie to Brora, and Reiss further north. The beautiful beaches continue across the north coast too.
The sunsets on the west beaches can be breath-taking as the sky sinks into the Minch. Achmelvich, Clachtoll, and Sandwood are some of our most popular beaches. But there are tiny bays that you’ll be drawn back to again and again. Discover, tread lightly, and retreat. And as the incoming tide covers your footprints, no-one will ever even know you were there.
Immerse yourself in the waves, to float, to swim, to reconnect with the power of the ocean, to re-centre in its therapeutic chill.
Follow a stream inland to the loch or spring at its source. Lose yourself, and find yourself again, amongst the contours of our hills. Did we mention waterfalls? Big Burn near Golspie is a hidden gem, cross the burn on numerous bridges as you wind your way up through the gorge to where the water tumbles in a series of falls.
Just south of Brora, on the coastal path to Golspie, the falls at Sputie Burn are a highlight. You’re likely to see seals here too.
On the west coast, check out The Wailing Widow Falls. This 50ft drop into Loch na Gainmhich near Kylesku is undeniably one of Scotland’s finest, and as the name suggests, there’s a story to be told here too.
On a clear winter’s night, wrap up warm and head outside. Bring a blanket and a flask of hot chocolate and give your eyes time adjust to the dark. As you gaze skywards, layer upon layer of stars will reveal themselves.
And if you’re lucky, nature will put on one of her finest shows for you. Our dark skies make this one of the best places to catch the Northern Lights. Once seen, never forgotten. And it’s all free. What did we do to deserve these wonders?
Dive into a deep meditation or yoga retreat. Oldshoremore Retreats, near another beautiful beach, is the perfect place in which to deepen your yoga practice, indulge in meditative gong sound baths, and reconnect with your soul. Join a weekend healing yoga retreat, with accommodation in their on-site glamping pods. Alternatively, book 1-2-1 therapy sessions, or check yourself in to a weekly class. Your mind and body will thank you.
Pamper body and senses with an aromatherapy massage, Aspen Spa in Dornoch offer one of the finest, and their pamper days are legendary. You might just need to reward yourself with the rest of the day off to recover from the intense relaxation.
Take the pressure off. Forget about the clock. Disconnect from the online world, and tune into the natural rhythms of the days, the waves, your body and your breath. Breathe. Just be. We’ve got everything you need.
Rest and Recharge
All that rest and relaxation can take its toll, so you’ll need somewhere to cosy up after a hard day of simply ‘being’ again.
Glamping pods offer the perfect nest in which to get cosy and feel cocooned. You’ll find them dotted all over the north; from the NC500 Pods at Achmelvich and Brora to others dotted along the coast and inland.
For relaxed luxury, and excellent food and drink, allow the staff at Links House in Dornoch to take the strain. The elegant surroundings will help soothe your soul, and there will always be a quiet corner in which to curl up with a good book, or simply watch the clouds race across the sky.
The Kylesku Hotel is undoubtedly one of the north’s gems. The boutique hotel, with its panoramic view of lochs and mountains, has comfortable rooms and specialises in fresh, local seasonal fare. They are rightly proud of their seafood which comes straight from the loch below, their fish from nearby coastal waters, and the pork and beef which is supplies by their crofter neighbours. It’s all served to mouth-watering perfection.
Here you’ll find the finest local produce, expertly prepared, to nourish body and soul.
Awaken your taste buds with award-winning chocolates and charcuterie, whisky and gin, and zero food-mile venison, seafood and cheeses. Our rich natural larder is prized the world over. Indulge in its bounty whether you are cooking in or eating out.
No 1 Bistro in MacKay’s Hotel, Wick, offers light lunches and delicious evening meals, served in the restaurant on the shortest street in the world. The by-words here are ‘local’ and ‘quality’ and the wine list, and thoughtfully curated whisky bar, will delight too.