Booking the Perfect Winter Holiday in Caithness and Sutherland
You probably think that you shouldn’t travel during winter time — especially if the plans entail travelling to northern Scotland — but the truth is, there is no better time to go than when the ground is blanketed by white snow. You will be rewarded with spectacular wintery scenes and fun activities, as well as roaring log fires that welcome you to your cosy hotel lobby or rental cabin at the end of each day.
In truth, two of the most beautiful places to see in northern Scotland during winter are Caithness and Sutherland. Avid traveller and novelist Sarah Maitland notes that the trees in the region look like they’ve come straight out of a fairytale. And if you love picturesque woodlands, grandeur sea cliffs, panoramic mountain views, twisting roads, and beautiful rivers, this part of Scotland is perfect for you. Here are some of the most notable places you need to check out:
The round cairn originally surrounded by kerb stones dates back to 2,000 to 3,000 BC. It’s a pair of Neolithic chambered cairns, one round and the other linear, located in a secluded hollow near the River Wick. It still houses the remains of several skeletons along with burnt bones and a few potteries and tools. Moreover, it’s definitely worth a visit because of its odd placement. The Grey Cairns of Camster were built in a hollow instead of high ground, where they would be a prominent part of the surrounding landscape.
Get to know the county through the Caithness Horizons Museum
The museum is home to a permanent collection that tells the story of the county from as way back as 416 million years ago. The stunning attraction features artefacts from the Picts and the Vikings, as well as the fascinating history surrounding the Dounreay Nuclear Research Establishment.
Enjoy the outdoors at Dunnet Head
A trip to the Scottish Highlands wouldn’t be complete without visiting this beautiful peninsula. You will find no shortage of wildlife here and you will fall in love with the breathtaking views. On clear days, you can also go birdwatching as the area is inhabited by different species of seabirds.
When in Sutherland
Go back in time at Ardvreck Castle
The Telegraph explains that people who are looking for peace and quiet</a>, isolation, and a piece of history will love Sutherland — especially at Ardvreck Castle, which was constructed in the late 15th century by Angus Mor. One of the castle’s most notable moments throughout history was in 1672, when the Mackenzies besieged Ardvreck. The siege lasted 14 days and ended with the MacKenzies victorious, but even after this defeat, the castle remained relatively intact. Today, travellers are welcome to explore the castle and the nearby area, without having to compete with an abundance of tourists.
Climb the Old Man of Stoer
Walking along the trail can be challenging because the terrain is rough and wet, but the coastal scenery is very much worth all the effort, especially when the weather is clear. If you’re going hillwalking, there will be snow on the ground, so it’s best to bring an ice-axe and crampons. Make sure you bring all the winter essentials, too.
Follow the Sutherland Trail
The Sutherland Trail is a walking route, which is around 70 miles through the northwest highlands. The Sutherland Trail runs from Lochinver to Tongue, where you can see some of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in Western Europe. Seasoned hikers recommend you start at the quaint village of Lairg, where you can find a reliable general store that has everything you need before you take your walk. You can camp out in Lairg, too, and get to know the locals while you’re at it.
Where to Stay
When it comes to the best places to stay, look for self-catering ones that offer complete amenities and plenty of space. It’s important that you choose one with modern conveniences like a washing machine, microwave oven, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Your stay will also be more worthwhile if you book a place that is close to local pubs and restaurants so you can enjoy local dishes.