Caithness and Sutherland, the far north of Scotland, have earned a distinguished accolade as Lonely Planet's Best in Travel for 2024. Let's delve into the aspects that make this region a must-visit.
1. Flow Country – Aspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site
Caithness and Sutherland boast the presence of the Flow Country, an aspiring designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. This expansive peatland, covering about 4,000 square kilometres, is recognised globally for its ecological importance and unique biodiversity.
2. Ben Hope - Northernmost Munro
Ben Hope stands as the northernmost Munro in Scotland. At an elevation of 927 metres (3,041 feet), it provides avid hikers with not only a challenging ascent but also panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
3. Dunrobin Castle - Stately Residence
Dunrobin Castle, located near Golspie, is a historic stately home with roots tracing back to the 13th century. Its current form reflects a blend of architectural styles, including the influence of Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament in London.
4. Kylesku Bridge - Engineering Marvel
The Kylesku Bridge is a testament to modern engineering. Spanning the Loch a' Chàirn Bhàin, this bridge not only facilitates travel but also offers a stunning view of the surrounding Scottish Highlands.
5. Forsinard Flows - Nature Reserve and Birdwatching Haven
Forsinard Flows serves as a significant nature reserve, drawing attention for its diverse bird population and unique flora. Birdwatching enthusiasts can spot various species against the backdrop of the expansive peat bogs.
6. Duncansby Stacks - Coastal Geological Formations
7. Dornoch - Historic Town and Golf Haven
8. Helmsdale - Fishing Village with Historical Significance
Helmsdale, a fishing village, holds historical significance. Its Timespan museum recounts the story of the Highland Clearances, a period in the 18th and 19th centuries when tenant crofters were forcibly displaced.
9. Dunnet Head - Northernmost Point on the UK Mainland
Dunnet Head proudly claims the title of the northernmost point on the UK mainland. Visitors can experience breathtaking views of the Pentland Firth and the Orkney Islands from this vantage point.
10. Cape Wrath - Northwesternmost Point
Cape WrathCape Wrath marks the northwesternmost point of the Scottish mainland. Accessible by ferry and bus during the summer months, reaching this remote cape offers a sense of isolation and the rugged beauty characteristic of the region.
In summary, Caithness and Sutherland emerge as more than just a picturesque destination; they embody a collection of natural wonders, historical treasures, and outdoor adventures.
With Lonely Planet's endorsement as the Best in Travel for 2024, this far northern region beckons travellers seeking an authentic and enriching experience. As you plan your journey, these highlights will serve as a foundation for the exploration that awaits in the remote and captivating landscapes of Caithness and Sutherland.